Criminal Justice Schools in Virginia [2022 Guide]

Updated August 31, 2022 • 6 Min Read

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Schools, Career Options and Resources for Students in Virginia

The criminal justice field is made up of many rewarding jobs—some of which students can begin training for by obtaining a degree from criminal justice schools in Virginia. From police patrolmen to state Supreme Court justices and everyone in between, each professional plays a role in making the system work, and criminal justice programs can lay the founded students need to fulfill that role. Continue reading this page to find out which careers are popular among graduates, as well as their earning potential and projected job growth.

Top 10 Criminal Justice Schools in Virginia 4-Year Colleges

#1 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
#2 Hampton University Hampton, VA
#3 Marymount University Arlington, VA
#4 Virginia State University Petersburg, VA
#5 Radford University Radford, VA
#6 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
#7 Averett University Danville, VA
#8 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
#9 University of Richmond Richmond, VA
#10 Roanoke College Salem, VA is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria: Accredited at the institutional level Private nonprofit or public school Minimum of 1 bachelor's or master's degree in subject area for 4-year schools Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools Schools were then scored on factors such as: Cost & Financial Aid Number and variety of program offerings Student-teacher ratios Graduation rates (4-year schools only) Placement and support services offered Academic/Career counseling services Employment services Loan default rates These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or "bang for your buck" of a college or degree program.

Wondering which criminal justice schools in Virginia are among the best? Use the ranking tool below to find out. This resource allows users to find the most reputable programs based on tuition rates, teacher-student ratios, and enrollment numbers. Explore the top criminal justice schools in the state for 2017 below.

  1. George Mason University

    Fairfax, VA

    The Criminology, Law and Society program at George Mason University is designed to equip students with the basic skills to perform and excel in various criminal and civil justice roles. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs are comprised of a sequence of challenging courses that blend traditional learning methods with hands-on instruction. At GMU, students can expect to learn from experienced professionals in criminal justice in various areas such as juvenile justice, civil liberties, policing strategies, treatment programs and crime prevention.

  2. Hampton University

    Hampton, VA

    The department of sociology at Hampton University promotes a conventional teaching methodology of society with a heightened perspective from minority communities that encourages new conceptual ideas. Within this department, the university offers a bachelor of science in criminal justice and criminology program. This degree path requires a traditional general education base and before entrance into the competitive criminal justice program. Students must complete an undergraduate research thesis to help develop crucial critical and analytical thinking. The criminal justice and criminology BS at Hampton provides students with an education for careers in all levels of public service.

  3. Marymount University

    Arlington, VA

    For students looking to kickstart their career in criminal justice, Marymount University provides some unique experiences for the next generation of law enforcement, lawyers, forensic scientists and more. Conveniently neighboring Washington D.C., Marymount University requires students to complete an internship and many have gained professional experience at agencies such as the FBI, NCIS, and in Washington courtrooms all before graduation. Faculty members in the criminal justice department have diverse backgrounds in the field and tenured faculty contribute to research and scholarly journals. Students can earn a bachelor of arts in criminal justice or a bachelor of science with a focus in forensic science.

  4. Virginia State University

    Petersburg, VA

    Studying criminal justice at Virginia State University prepares students for a career in one of six major focuses: research, forensic science, juvenile justice, corrections, law enforcement or court procedures. VSU offers a bachelor of science and also a master's degree program in criminal justice. The undergraduate program provides the founding blocks of a criminal justice education combined with the mandatory general education courses. The master's program can either ready a student for advanced employment opportunities or entrance into a doctoral program and students can either choose a thesis or non-thesis track.

  5. Radford University

    Radford, VA

    The department of criminal justice at Radford University encompasses all levels and disciplines within the field to give students a rounded approach to their education. Offering a criminal justice bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree, students can tailor their education to their desired future career. For those interested in an investigative emphasis, the department offers a minor in forensic science. A matriculation program also exists for associate degree holders from Virginia Western Community College called BS 2+2 which promotes higher education for working individuals in the criminal justice department. The BS 2+2 program runs only on afternoon and night class schedules.

  6. Virginia Commonwealth University

    Richmond, VA

  7. Averett University

    Danville, VA

  8. Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA

  9. University of Richmond

    Richmond, VA

  10. Roanoke College

    Salem, VA

Top 10 Criminal Justice Schools in Virginia 2-Year Colleges is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Looking for criminal justice schools in Virginia can be a time-consuming process, and it's often difficult to know whether or not a college is the right fit. To get help with this process, use the search tool below, which allows users to find colleges based on degree levels, tuition cost, and student population. Also, prospective students can look for public vs. private colleges through this resource.


Salaries and job opportunities are huge considerations for students earning degrees from criminal justice schools in Virginia. The table below provides that information by outlining how many people are employed in specific criminal justice jobs and the average median salaries for these positions. Also, there is information on the level of education required to obtain employment in different careers.

Police, Sheriff & Highway Patrol Officers

  • Total Employed in Virginia17,920
  • Median Salary in Virginia$49,860
  • Degree Level Required in VirginiaAcademy Program

Correctional Officer

  • Total Employed in Virginia13,780
  • Median Salary in Virginia$35,030
  • Degree Level Required in VirginiaCertification

Paralegal and Legal Assistant

Compliance Officer

  • Total Employed in Virginia7,070
  • Median Salary in Virginia$67,990
  • Degree Level Required in VirginiaBachelor's

Detectives and Criminal Investigators

  • Total Employed in Virginia3,380
  • Median Salary in Virginia$86,720
  • Degree Level Required in VirginiaVaries; up to Bachelor's

Probation Officer

  • Total Employed in Virginia2,930
  • Median Salary in Virginia$42,560
  • Degree Level Required in VirginiaBachelor's

Court, Municipal and License Clerks

  • Total Employed in Virginia1,970
  • Median Salary in Virginia$34,000
  • Degree Level Required in VirginiaVaries; up to Bachelor's


Students attending criminal justice schools in Virginia need to have confidence that they'll get a return on their tuition investment. The good news is, some of the most popular careers command salaries that rival national averages and have stronger growth potential. Review the tables below for more information on national and state-specific salary statistics and job growth projections.

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Wondering where the jobs are? Want to know which areas of Virginia pay the highest wages? The table below provides that information. Find out which locations have the most employees and the highest salaries for protective service and legal positions. In addition, there is a list of some organizations where criminal justice graduates may be able to find employment.

  • Protective Services
    Potential Employers

    Hanover County Sheriff's Office; Western Virginia Regional Jail; Commonwealth of Virginia; City of Virginia Beach Detective Bureau; Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; Arlington County Police Department Parking Enforcement Unit; City of Virginia Beach Parking Enforcement; Prince William County Sheriff's Office; City of Portsmouth Police Department; Fairfax County Animal Control; Fairfax County Animal Shelter; Virginia Beach Animal Control Unit; International Counterintelligence Services, Inc.; Blueline Security Services, LLC; Universal Protection Service; Top Guard Security, Inc; Arlington County; City of Norfolk; American Pool Enterprises Inc.; Community Pool Service; Signature Pool Management

    Total Number of Employees in Virginia: 102,940
  • Legal Occupations
    Potential Employers

    Private practice law firms; Supreme Court of Virginia; Court of Appeals of Virginia; Alexandria Circuit Court; Bristol Circuit Court; Virginia Sixteenth Judicial District; Virginia First Judicial District; Eastern District Court of Virginia

    Total Number of Employees in Virginia: 36,160


Protective service

Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News


Southwest Virginia nonmetropolitan area


Southside Virginia nonmetropolitan area

Legal service


Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News



Southwest Virginia nonmetropolitan area



How to Form an LLC in Virginia

This page has step-by-step information on starting an LLC in the state.

Starting a Business in Virginia

Budding entrepreneurs can find information on how to apply for a business license, choose a company structure, and register a business name on this page.

Virginia 2016 Small Business Resource

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides information to help people begin and operate their companies.

National Capital Region, Association of Corporate Counsel

This chapter of the ACC services the commonwealth of Virginia, suburban Maryland and Washington D.C. to provide information and resources to corporate legal professionals.

Virginia Chamber of Commerce

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based entity that provides resources for businesses and advocates for business interests in Virginia government.

Virginia Economic Development Partnership

This organization offers support for new and existing businesses that want to start in or come to Virginia.

Virginia Business Entity Search

This page on the Commonwealth of Virginia's State Corporation Commission helps citizens locate registered business entities.


Correctional Resources
Career Opportunities Virginians who want to pursue a corrections career can find job postings from the Department of Corrections on this page.
Virginia Correctional Association Members of the Virginia Correctional Association (VCA) can participate in the organization's training programs, conferences, and committees. In addition, the VCA has numerous publications to keep correctional professionals abreast of developments in the field.
Virginia Department of Corrections Includes information on correctional facilities, victim services, and the accomplishments of the agency.
Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice The DJJ serves the community by offering information and resources about Virginia's juvenile justice system, including correctional centers and programs. Virginia Reentry Programs and Assistance This directory provides information about programs that help ex-offenders reenter into the community.


Virginia Court Clerks Association

Serves the needs of court clerks in the state.

Virginia Court Reporters Association

The VCRA has been helping court reporters in Virginia enhance their skills since 1967.

Virginia's Judicial System

The website for the Virginia judiciary contains information on the different types of courts in the system. In addition, users can find out about the programs run by the judiciary, including mediation, parent education, and drug-treatment courts.

Virginia Association for Community Conflict Resolution

VACCR is a collection of nine non-profit conflict resolution centers that work to help Virginians resolve conflict constructively in their community.

Virginia CASA

The Virginia chapter of the Court Appointed Special Advocates provides assistance and advocacy for abused and neglected children.

Virginia Organizing

This nonpartisan grassroots organization aims to promote an equal justice system for all communities in Virginia.


Virginia Law

This state website allows users to search laws in the Code of Virginia, the Administrative Code, and the State Constitution.

Virginia Legal Aid Society

Low-income Virginia residents can receive pro bono representation for civil matters through the VLAS.

Virginia State Bar

Members of the Bar have access to numerous invaluable resources, such as continuing legal education courses, free dispute resolution services, and help with ethical dilemmas they may face during the course of their careers.

Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations

This statewide organization connects paralegal networks from around Virginia to share resources, provide information and attend conferences.

Nonprofit Legal Assistance Organizations in Virginia

This directory provides links to organizations that provide legal assistance to low-income members of the community.

Virginia Attorney General

The AG provides legal counsel and representation to state entities and employees. The AG also works to ensure consumer protections are in place throughout Virginia.


Private Investigators Association of Virginia

Promotes high standards among Virginia's private investigators and provides professional development to ensure that they meet these principles.

The Division of Capitol Police Commonwealth of Virginia

Agency provides police staff for state employees and elected officials.

Virginia State Police

This site has information on the work of the Virginia State Police.

Virginia Sheriffs' Association

The VSA provides information, news, networking opportunities and resources to Virginia's sheriffs.

Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy

The NVCJA website has information about training opportunities for Virginia's law enforcement professionals.


Employment Opportunities

Jobs from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries are listed on this page.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia

When wild animals need medical care, The Wildlife Center of Virginia provides treatment. Since it opened its doors in 1982, the organization has helped 70,000 animals.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

DGIF manages wildlife, recreational boating, and inland fisheries around the state.

Careers in Virginia State Parks

Information about law enforcement career opportunities in Virginia State Parks can be found on this webpage.

Virginia Conservation Police

Conservation police officers enforce the laws that are in place to protect wildlife.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

See All Posts is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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