Best Criminal Justice Schools in Washington

Updated November 3, 2022

A criminal justice degree can lead to exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the top criminal justice schools in Washington.

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Academic and Professional Resources in Washington for
Criminal Justice Students

Start making changes in your career and your community with a degree from a criminal justice school in Washington. Employers in every corner of Washington, from Spokane to Walla Walla to the Olympic Peninsula, are looking for qualified individuals with strong backgrounds in criminal justice. A degree from a criminal justice school in Washington can help new applicants stand out and can improve a current employee's qualifications and performance. Continue reading to learn what schools best fit your needs and to explore the different career fields available.

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WASHINGTON'S BEST CRIMINAL JUSTICE SCHOOLS: 2017

OUR METHODOLOGY +

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.

The criminal justice field encompasses a wide variety of professions that call for different academic requirements. To help students narrow down this search and find the best school or program for them, we have ranked schools across the country based on a variety of current criteria important to students, such as up-to-date tuition costs, total enrollment, student-to-teacher ratio, and acceptance rates. Explore the top-ranking criminal justice schools and programs for 2017 here.

#1 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Washington

Washington State University

  • Pullman, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Washington State University supports flexible educational opportunities for undergraduate students. The Pullman-based school supports hybrid learning opportunities, with in-person and online programs. The college campus and online learning environment enable students to connect with peers, faculty, and staff during their studies.

Upon enrolling in the bachelor's in criminal justice program, students connect with a supportive learning community. Degree-seekers complete major-specific coursework as part of the curriculum. Learners engage foundational and advanced concepts throughout interactive study, gaining practical knowledge.

Students can select electives, concentrations, and minors. A leader in student success, the college connects enrollees with career services, academic advising, and other supportive resources.

Eligible enrollees can apply for scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities. The average enrollee receives $8,011 in financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,953
Out-of-state
$24,531
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
31,607
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#2 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Washington

Seattle University

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students seeking a flexible education can explore Seattle University's in-person and online degrees. Enrollees pursuing a bachelor of arts in criminal justice connect with premier faculty and benefit from a supportive learning community.

Degree candidates gain skills and knowledge through classes, lectures, and experiential learning opportunities. Students can work with an academic advisor to customize their degree. Learners receive guidance throughout their studies through academic advising, career services, and other resources.

Prospective applicants can inquire with the financial aid office about funding opportunities. Options may include scholarships, fellowships, and other aid. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$45,765
Out-of-state
$45,765
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
7,199
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
4% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#3 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Washington

Saint Martin's University

  • Lacey, WA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Saint Martin's University, a private college in Lacey, provides flexible study options for undergraduate students near and far. Learners can choose from 28 in-person bachelor's degrees. Enrollees pursuing the bachelor of arts in criminology and criminal justice learn from premier faculty and benefit from a supportive learning community.

Students gain skills and knowledge through their coursework, becoming better prepared for their future careers. Depending on their career goals, learners can declare a double major, minor, or degree concentration. Degree-seekers can receive further guidance through academic advising, career services, and other resources.

Students can meet with a financial aid counselor to determine their eligibility for funding and explore scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of aid. The college reports that 98% of all learners receive some form of aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$38,150
Out-of-state
$38,150
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
96%
Students Enrolled
1,629
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#4 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Washington

Heritage University

  • Toppenish, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Heritage University supports flexible educational opportunities for students near and far. Undergraduate learners can choose from in-person and remote degrees. To date, the school offers 36 bachelor’s programs, with one option running entirely online.

Students pursuing a bachelor's in criminal justice join a supportive learning community, working alongside peers, faculty, and staff. Enrollees build competency through rigorous coursework and industry-relevant lectures. Participants take foundational and advanced coursework, with the option to modify their schedule and choose electives.

Degree candidates work with an academic advisor and customize their degree to meet their academic and career goals. Students seeking further academic and career guidance can access numerous institutional resources, such as career services and academic advising.

The college connects learners with a variety of funding opportunities to defray educational costs. Of all enrollees, 100% receive some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$17,988
Out-of-state
$17,988
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
971
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
4% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#5 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Washington

City University of Seattle

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

City University of Seattle supports flexible educational opportunities for students near and far. Undergraduate students can choose from in-person and remote degrees. One option includes a bachelor of science in criminal justice. The college campus and online learning environment enable learners to connect with peers, faculty, and staff during their studies.

As part of the program curriculum, enrollees complete foundational and advanced coursework. They also attend industry-relevant lectures, gaining a well-rounded education.

Degree candidates can work with their academic advisor to modify their studies, select electives, and pursue additional coursework that suits their career goals. Enrollees can connect with institutional resources, such as career services and academic advising, to receive further guidance.

Learners can meet with a financial aid counselor to determine their eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,120
Out-of-state
$13,120
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,960
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org 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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PREVALENT WASHINGTON CRIMINAL JUSTICE CAREERS

A degree in criminal justice can help you join a variety of careers in Washington, from vital law-enforcement jobs to fields related to the function of the state's court system. Start exploring your options by looking at the most popular jobs in Washington's criminal justice fields; the table below shows some of these careers with along with the number of individuals working in Washington, the median salary, and the degree level typically required.

Police, Sheriff & Highway Patrol Officers

  • Total Employed in Washington8,770
  • Median Salary in Washington$74,950
  • Degree Level Required in WashingtonAcademy Program

Correctional Officer

  • Total Employed in Washington6,470
  • Median Salary in Washington$46,790
  • Degree Level Required in WashingtonCertification

Compliance Officer

  • Total Employed in Washington6,300
  • Median Salary in Washington$68,970
  • Degree Level Required in WashingtonBachelor's

Paralegal and Legal Assistant

Court, Municipal and License Clerks

  • Total Employed in Washington3,270
  • Median Salary in Washington$44,890
  • Degree Level Required in WashingtonVaries; up to Bachelor's

Detectives and Criminal Investigators

  • Total Employed in Washington2,350
  • Median Salary in Washington$79,550
  • Degree Level Required in WashingtonVaries; up to Bachelor's

Probation Officer

  • Total Employed in Washington2,100
  • Median Salary in Washington$53,750
  • Degree Level Required in WashingtonBachelor's

SIDE BY SIDE: HOW WASHINGTON COMPARES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE CAREERS

Criminal justice graduates in Washington are greeted with an exceptionally strong job market in a large range of careers. Indeed, Forbes named Washington the second-best state to make a living in for 2015. That comes as no surprise when you consider that many Washington careers have annual salaries and growth rates above the national average.

[chart block]

Salary

JobNationalWashington
Police, Sheriff's Patrol Officers62,76076,340
Correctional Officers46,75052,930
Fire Inspectors and Investigators61,66087,690
Paralegals53,18059,590
Detectives, Criminal Investigators81,49083,050
Transit and Railroad Police47,61067,850
Judicial Law Clerks58,92059,840
Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers93,140100,120
Bailiffs45,74052,170

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015

Job Growth

JobNationalWashington
Court Reporters0.0150.242
Court, Municipal, and License Clerks0.0450.138
Police, Sheriff's Patrol Officers0.050.11
Private Detectives and Investigators0.0110.081
Paralegals and Legal Assistants0.0760.084
Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers-0.0360.025
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists0.0110.066
Lawyers0.0560.095
Judges, Magistrates, and Magistrates0.0060.106
Animal Control Workers0.0580.167

Source: Projections Central, 2015

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS WITH A CRIMINAL JUSTICE DEGREE IN WASHINGTON

Criminal justice graduates have a wide range of options in Washington state for potential careers, from patrol officers on quiet streets of Davenport to paralegals in downtown Seattle. Some of these careers are on the protective services side, while others are more closely involved with the court system. Overall, there are a variety of ways to put a criminal justice degree to work in Washington.

  • Protective Services
    Potential Employers

    Pierce County District Court Bailiff;Washington Corrections Center for Women (Gig Harbor, WA) Correctional Officer; Walla Walla, WA Police Detective, Gang Enforcement Unit; Thurston County Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer; City of Seattle Civilian Parking Enforcement Officer; Chewelah Police Patrol Officer;Amtrak Police Officer;University Place Animal Control Officer; Spokane Private Investigator; Washington State Gambling Commission Special Agent, Tribal and Technical Gambling Division; University of Puget Sound Campus Security Guard; Annie Wright Day School Crossing Guard;Mount Rainier National Park Climbing Ranger; Amtrak-Spokane Station Security Screener

    Total Number of Employees in Washington: 61,880
  • Legal Occupations
    Potential Employers

    Immigration Lawyer for Integrity Law Group; Law Clerk for Federal Way Municipal Court Judge; Hearing Officer for the Yakima Office of Administrative Hearings; Washington Department of Commerce Home Loan Mediator; Klickitat County Juvenile Court Judge; Estate Planner for Washington Paralegal Services; Court Reporter for the Snohomish County Superior Court; Title Examiner for the State of Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner; Secretary for Quiroga Law Office

    Total Number of Employees in Washington: 20,440

LARGEST AREAS OF EMPLOYMENT IN DESCENDING ORDER

Protective service

Seattle-Bellevue

Vancouver

Tacoma-Lakewood

Spokane-Spokane Valley

Southwest Washington nonmetropolitan area

Legal service

Seattle-Bellevue

Vancouver

Tacoma-Lakewood

Spokane-Spokane Valley

Olympia-Tumwater

PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN WASHINGTON

BUSINESS COMPLIANCE RESOURCES

Washington Finance Officers Association

The WFOA is an association of government finance workers. The organization offers a variety of networking opportunities as well as an extensive directory to relevant departments in Washington's government.

Washington Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel

Washington's ACC is an excellent way to network with those involved in corporate and financial law. Additionally, the organization releases a newsletter that includes news, events, and other happenings relevant to the profession.

Small Business Development Center: Washington

The SBDC of Washington works with small business owners, providing resources and access to business advisors. It also hosts networking and workshop events.

Washington Business Hub

This website, run by Washington state's government, gives extensive guidance on starting and running a business. Additionally, and most relevant to someone involved in business compliance, the website also includes extensive resources on state and national business regulations and law.

Washington Chamber of Commerce Executives

The membership-based WCCE provides resources and networking for Washington businesses as well as information about tourism.

Seattle District Office, the U.S. Small Business Administration

The SBA offers resources for finding small business financing as well as information about starting and managing a business.

CORRECTIONAL RESOURCES

Washington State Department of Corrections

This is the official website for Washington's department of corrections; through this website you can find information on different DOC events, programs, and even a helpful list of definitions of DOC terms and acronyms.

Washington Correctional Association

The Washington Correctional Association is an organization for professionals in the field of corrections. The association hosts events, fundraisers, and publishes a newsletter.

Washington State Correctional Industries

This company employs incarcerated offenders; in addition to information on its business, the company's website also provides information on in-facility offender work programs and educational opportunities.

Office of Juvenile Justice, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

The Office of Juvenile Justice provides information and resources for juveniles and families who are dealing with the justice system.

Freedom Project Seattle

This organization seeks to provide inmates and released offenders with programs and tools that promote nonviolent communication and mindfulness. It serves prisoners in five Washington state prisons as well as former prisoners in the Puget Sound region.

COURT & JUDICIAL RESOURCES

Washington Court Reporters Association

The Washington Court Reporters Association provides scholarships, organizes conferences, and has extensive resources relevant to a court reporter, such as the different certifications and information on continuing training.

University of Washington Gallagher Law Library's Free Law Online

This page is an extensive directory, linking to other websites that provide public records, municipal codes, and dozens of other resources vital to anyone working as a lawyer or elsewhere in the judicial system.

Municipal Research and Service Center of Washington: Washington City Codes

This page of the Municipal Research and Service Center is a directory of municipal codes and general ordinances of nearly every city in the state of Washington.

Washington Courts

This is the official website of the Washington court system. Here you can find a directory of the different courts in Washington, a case records search, and self-help legal resources.

Washington State Law Library

Offered by the Washington court system, this website allows visitors to search the Washington state law library's catalog and chat with a librarian.

Washington State CASA

The Washington State chapter of the national Court Appointed Special Advocates group provides volunteer advocacy services for placing children in safe, permanent homes after they've been abused or neglected.

LEGAL RESOURCES

Washington State Paralegal Association

This is the website for Washington's primary organization of paralegals. The association has multiple regional chapters throughout the state and information about the different paralegal certificates available.

Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services

This organization is dedicated to providing resources and, if possible, legal representation to low-income families and individuals in various Washington counties. The plain-English resources can be vital to someone interested in law, especially the laws and regulations related to evictions.

Public Law Library of King County

This public law library provides extensive guides for different types of law-such as landlord/tenant agreements-in addition to access to the library catalog and classes.

Washington State Bar Association

The WSBA provides information about lawyer licensing and additional resources and networking opportunities for the legal community.

Minority Bar Associations in Washington, WSBA

This directory provides links to the webpages for bar associations that serve lawyers that fall under racial, ethnic, LGBT and gender minority groups.

Washington State Office of the Attorney General

The Attorney General's office handles consumer protection in the state of Washington as well as legal representation for state entities and employees.

LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES

Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission

This commission provides information on joining a wide variety of safety enforcement careers such as resources on certifications, training, and relevant news.

Washington Association of Legal Investigators

WALI is an association of private investigators in Washington state. The organization largely focuses on maintaining a strong and positive reputation and additionally provides resources and a directory of members.

Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs

This association and its website provides resources for law enforcement professionals in Washington, as well as forums for discussion and other networking opportunities.

Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs

The Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs works to promote the interests of law enforcement workers and to support them through legislative and personal means. The council assists with topics such as insurance and hosts events.

Washington State Patrol Troopers Association

This membership-based organization provides information, resources and advocacy for state troopers in Washington.

High Technology Crime Investigation Association: Washington State Chapter

This group works to organize and support those who combat computer related crimes, whether those individuals work in private or public sectors. The organization also hosts events.

WILDLIFE & ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Washington's DNR provides a variety of resources for those interested in the environment, including a directory of programs, maps, and permits.

Access Washington: Environment Rules, Inspection, and Enforcement

This web page is a directory of environmental laws and regulations for the state of Washington. Additionally, the page lists the homepages of different environmental agencies.

EarthShare Washington

This organization works with charities and businesses in Washington to resolve environmental issues and improve relations between the two groups. This organization provides volunteer opportunities as well as the chance to network with a wide variety of groups.

Washington Environmental Council

The WEC works to solve environmental concerns in the state of Washington through education and legal advocacy.

Jobs, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission

This page provides employment opportunities for people who want to work in Washington's state parks, including law enforcement roles.

Wildland Fire Investigations, DNR

This page provides information about the roles and responsibilities for fire investigators for Washington state's wildlands.

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