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Become a Defense Attorney
(found programs from 102 schools)


Welcome to the most complete directory on the Web of Defense Attorney programs. It contains all the nationally accredited programs, from 102 schools across the country.

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You've probably seen defense attorneys in action on television on your favorite court drama, but did you know how much work really goes into this demanding career? One of the cornerstones of the American justice system is a fair criminal trial for anyone accused of a crime. If you want to learn more about criminal justice programs that can prepare you for a career as a defense attorney, use our search tools to request more information today!

That's where defense attorneys shine. Even in cases that may seem unappealing or open-and-close, they work long hours to give their clients a fair shot at justice. Defense attorneys, rather than helping those who want to bring a suit against a company or person, represent those who have been arrested or accused of a crime. This may mean that they take on pro-bono cases or support those who cannot afford to pay for representation. If you want to uphold one of the core tenets of our justice system and don't mind working difficult cases, you may thrive in a career as a defense attorney.

This job requires quite a bit of education and experience. You can plan on spending quite a bit of time in school and preparing for your licensure exam. However, if you are looking for an in-demand career with lots of opportunities throughout the country, you can't go wrong as a defense attorney. Keep reading to learn about how you can get started as a defense attorney and what it's like to work in this field.

Education Needed to Become a Defense Attorney

Becoming a defense attorney does require a lot of education and targeted work experience, but following these steps can help you get a career that you find enjoyable and fulfilling. You need to begin with a Bachelor's degree from an accredited school. You may find it helpful to start with a degree in criminal justice, as the courses required in this major can give you a good background in the criminal justice field. You may take courses like Introduction to Criminology, Law Enforcement Administration, Correctional Administration, and Criminal Investigation. If you have a Bachelor's degree in another field, you may still be able to continue your education in this field.

After you earn a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice or another field, you need to go to law school and get a law degree. Upon graduation, you should have a J.D. (Juris Doctorate). You may take classes like Advanced Comparative Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, and Corporation Law. Throughout the course of this degree, you can gain experience in different legal settings.

You may have to get outside work experience while earning your Bachelor's degree and law degree. Getting a competitive position may be easier if you volunteer for social service agencies, complete an internship at a local law firm, or work at the courtroom. Once you have your degree, you must take a bar examination. This tests your knowledge of the law and is required for licensure as an attorney in your state. Once you have passed the bar examination, you can begin the process of applying for your attorney license. With an attorney license, you can officially begin working as a defense attorney in your state. However, you may need to get specialized experience in criminal law before you can apply for a job with a law firm. This may involve working in the public sector for several years if you do not have relevant work experience.

Career Outlook and Salary Potential

As a defense attorney, you may have a fairly solid job outlook to look forward to. From 2012 to 2022, O*Net expects job openings for lawyers to increase at an average rate when compared to other professions. During this time period, that works out to over 196,000 job openings across the country (O*Net, 2012). The job outlook is better in certain states. In California, job openings are expected to increase by 11% through 2022 (O*Net, 2012). New York lawyers may see an 8% increase in job openings (O*Net, 2012).

Defense lawyers may earn a competitive range of salaries, particularly in larger cities. Across the United States, the average salary for a defense attorney is $114,300 per year (O*Net, 2013). In New York, the average salary for a lawyer is $136,300 per year (O*Net, 2013). O*Net reports that attorneys in Texas claim an average salary of $115,500 per year. You may earn more as you gain experience, develop a reputation as a defense attorney in your city, and become a partner at your law firm.

Working as a Defense Attorney

Learning what it's like to work as a defense attorney can help you really prepare for the demands of the job. Like many criminal justice jobs, working as a defense attorney may require quite a bit of mental temerity and strength. You may have to take on any case that comes your way, particularly if you are new at a law firm or trying to prove yourself as a defense attorney. This may mean working with hardened criminals or those who have done things that you disagree with.

Being a defense attorney may also mean being in the public eye, particularly if you play a role in high-profile cases. For example, the defense attorney in a highly-publicized murder case needed to go to the press and make comments on the case.

This career can often demand long nights and tough weeks. Even before a case goes to trial, you may spend hundreds of hours gathering evidence, creating a case, and looking for weaknesses in your own and the defense's case. When you go to court, you may spend a long time making your case to the jury and trying to support your client.

Defense attorneys are incredibly important in the American justice system, providing legal support to those who need it most. Learn more about criminal justice schools in your area. Request information about programs today to get started!

Featured Schools Accepting Students from Across the US:

Online programs may not be available in all areas

Traditional On Campus Programs:

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Alabama

Prince Institute (Montgomery, AL)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree - CART/Captioning, Associate Degree - CART/Captioning (online), Associate Degree - Judicial Reporting, Associate Degree - Judicial Reporting (online), Associate Degree - Professional Transcription, Associate Degree - Professional Transcription (online), Certificate - Scoping/Proofreading (online)
Remington College (Mobile, AL)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associates
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Alaska

University of Alaska-Anchorage (Anchorage, AK)
Programs Offered:

Justice Bachelor of Arts
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Arizona

Fortis College (Phoenix, AZ)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
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Arkansas

Remington College (Little Rock, AR)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associates
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California

Brightwood College (Bakersfield, CA / Palm Springs, CA / San Diego, CA / Vista, CA)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree Criminal Justice - Bakersfield, Associate Degree Criminal Justice - Palm Springs, CA, Associate Degree Criminal Justice - San Diego, CA, Associate Degree Criminal Justice - Vista, CA
Bryan University (Gold River, CA / Los Angeles, CA)
Programs Offered:

Associates in Court Reporting, Associates in Court Reporting (online)
Cerritos College (Norwalk, CA)
Programs Offered:

Associate in Arts - Court Reporting and Captioning Careers, Certificate of Completion - Court Reporting - Beginning Realtime Captioner/Broadcast Captioning, Certificate of Completion - Court Reporting - CART Reporter/Realtime Captioner, Certificate of Completion - Court Reporting - Certified Realtime Reporter, Certificate of Completion - Court Reporting - Proofreader - Court Reporting Method, Certificate of Completion - Court Reporting - Realtime Rapid Text Entry, Certificate of Completion - Court Reporting - Scopist for Court Reporters, Certificate of Completion - Court Reporting/Computerized Shorthand, Certificate of Completion - Proofreader - Court Reporting Method, Certificate of Completion - Scopist for Court Reporters
Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center (Sacramento, CA)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
College of Marin (Kentfield, CA)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Science - Court Reporting
Grossmont College (El Cajon, CA)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Science - Legal Systems / Court Management
Humphreys College (Stockton, CA)
Programs Offered:

Associate in Arts - Court Reporting, Associate in Science - Court Reporting, Associate of Arts - Court Reporting, Associate of Science - Court Reporting, Bachelor of Science - Court Reporting - CSR (Online) (online), Bachelor of Science - Court Reporting, Bachelor of Science - Court Reporting (online), Certificate of Completion - Court Reporting
Sage College (Moreno Valley, CA)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting, Diploma - Court Reporting
San Diego State University-Imperial Valley Campus (Calexico, CA)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Interperting
Sierra College (Rocklin, CA)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Arts/Associate of Science - Administration of Justice - Courts
Sierra Valley Business College (Fresno, CA)
Programs Offered:

Career Training - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting
South Coast College (Orange, CA)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
Taft College (Taft, CA)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Science - Court Reporting, Certificate of Achievement - Court Reporting
West Valley College (Saratoga, CA)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Science - Court Reporting, Certificate of Achievement - Court Reporting
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Colorado

Community College of Aurora (Aurora, CO)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Criminal Justice Court Services
Prince Institute (Westminster, CO)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree - CART/Captioning, Associate Degree - CART/Captioning (online), Associate Degree - Court and Realtime Reporting, Associate Degree - Judicial Reporting (online), Associate Degree - Professional Transcription (online), Certificate - Scoping/Proofreading (online)
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Connecticut

GateWay Community College (New Haven, CT)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Real-time Reporting - Broadcast Captioning, Associate of Applied Science - Real-time Reporting - CART, Certificate of Completion - Real-time Reporting - Broadcast Captioning, Certificate of Completion - Real-time Reporting - CART
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Florida

ASA College (Hialeah, FL / Maimi, FL)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice- Associate in Science`
Atlantic Technical Center (Coconut Creek, FL)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
Keiser University (Clearwater, FL / Daytona Beach, FL / Fort Lauderdale, FL / Fort Myers, FL / Lakeland, FL / Melbourne, FL / New Port Richey, FL / Orlando, FL / Sarasota, FL / Tampa, FL / West Palm Beach, FL)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice - Clearwater, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice - Fort Lauderdale, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice - Fort Myers, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice - Lakeland, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice - Melbourne, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice - New Port Richey, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice - Orlando, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice - Sarasota, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice - Tampa, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice - West Palm Beach, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Clearwater, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Daytona Beach, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Fort Lauderdale, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Fort Myers, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Lakeland, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Melbourne, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - New Port Richey, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Orlando, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Sarasota, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - Tampa, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice - West Palm Beach, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - Clearwater, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - Daytona Beach, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - Fort Lauderdale, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - Fort Myers, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - Lakeland, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - Melbourne, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - New Port Richey, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - Orlando, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - Sarasota, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - Tampa, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies - West Palm Beach, Bachelor of Science in Forensic Investigations - Orlando, Bachelor of Science in Forensic Investigations - West Palm Beach, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - Clearwater, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - Daytona Beach, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - Fort Myers, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - Lakeland, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - Melbourne, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - New Port Richey, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - Orlando, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - Sarasota, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - Tampa, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - West Palm Beach
Key College (Dania Beach, FL)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting, Certificate - Real Time Court Reporting
Lynn University (Boca Raton, FL)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Bachelor (online)
Miami Dade College (Miami, FL)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Science - Court Reporting Technology
Sheridan Technical Center (Hollywood, FL)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting / Legal Transcription, Certificate - Court Reporting/Legal Transcription
Stenotype Institute (Jacksonville, FL)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
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Georgia

Brown College of Court Reporting (Atlanta, GA)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting, Certificate and Associate of Applied Science Degree in Court Reporting-Stenography , Certificate in Court Reporting-Voice Writing
Iverson Institute (Atlanta, GA)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
Miller-Motte Technical College (Augusta, GA)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associate of Occupational Science
Shorter University (Rome, GA)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor Of Science / Arts In Criminal Justice (online)
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Hawaii

Remington College (Honolulu, HI)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associates, Criminal Justice- Bachelors
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Illinois

MacCormac College (Chicago, IL)
Programs Offered:

Associate in Applied Science - Court Reporting, Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting
Midstate College (Peoria, IL)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Science - Realtime Reporting
Prince Institute (Schaumburg, IL)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree - CART/Captioning (online), Associate Degree - Judicial Reporting (online), Associate Degree - Professional Transcription (online), Certificate - Scoping/Proofreading (online)
South Suburban College (South Holland, IL)
Programs Offered:

Associate in Applied Science - Court Reporting/Verbatim Technology, Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting/Verbatim Technology Basic, Certificate - Court Reporting/Verbatim Technology Machine Shorthand Secretarial, Certificate - Court Reporting/Verbatim Technology, Certificate - Court Reporting
Sparks College (Shelbyville, IL)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting (online)
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Indiana

Calumet College of St. Joseph (Whiting, IN)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Science - Probation, Parole and Courts, Bachelor of Science - Probation, Parole and Courts
College of Court Reporting Inc (Hobart, IN)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting, Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting (online)
Kaplan University (Learning Center - Indianapolis, IN)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology, BS - Legal Support and Services, BS in Criminal Justice, BSCJ - Juvenile Justice, MPA - Criminal Justice, MSCJ - Law, Undergraduate in Legal Studies
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Iowa

AIB College of Business (Des Moines, IA)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Science - Court Reporting
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Kansas

Rasmussen College (Overland Park, KS / Topeka, KS)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice Associate, Paralegal Certificate
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Kentucky

Daymar College (Bowling Green, KY)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associate, Criminal Justice - Diploma
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Louisiana

Bossier Parish Community College (Bossier City, LA)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Criminal Justice - Legal Systems
Mid City College (Baton Rouge, LA)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting (online)
Remington College (Lafayette, LA / Shreveport, LA)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associates, Criminal Justice - Bachelor
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Maryland

Kaplan University (Learning Center - Rockville, MD)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology, BS - Legal Support and Services, BS in Criminal Justice, BSCJ - Juvenile Justice, MPA - Criminal Justice, MS in Criminal Justice, MSCJ - Law, Undergraduate in Legal Studies
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Michigan

Academy of Court Reporting (Clawson, MI)
Programs Offered:

Career Training - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting
Baker College (Allen Park, MI / Auburn Hills, MI / Cadillac, MI / Clinton Township, MI / Flint, MI / Jackson, MI / Muskegon, MI / Port Huron, MI)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associate, Criminal Justice - Bachelor
Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)
Programs Offered:

Masters in Criminal Justice - Specializations available in Judicial Administration and Security Management (online)
Oakland Community College (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Programs Offered:

Associate in Applied Science - Court and Caption Reporting, Associate of Applied Science - Court and Caption Reporting, Certificate - Court and Caption Reporting
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Minnesota

Rasmussen College (Moorhead, MN / St. Cloud, MN)
Programs Offered:

Law Enforcement Academics Certificate, Law Enforcement Skills Certificate
Rasmussen College Online (Mankato, MN)
Programs Offered:

Paralegal Associate (online), Paralegal Certificate (online)
University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
Programs Offered:

B.A. - Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance
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Mississippi

Hinds Community College (Raymond, MS)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting Technology, Certificate - Court Reporting Technology
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Missouri

Kaplan University (Learning Center - St. Louis, MO)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology, BS - Legal Support and Services, BS in Criminal Justice, BSCJ - Juvenile Justice, MPA - Criminal Justice, MS in Criminal Justice, MS in Legal Studies, MSCJ - Law, Undergraduate in Legal Studies
Vatterott College (Saint Joseph, MO)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree Criminal Justice - Saint Joseph
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Nevada

Brightwood College (Las Vegas, NV)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree Criminal Justice - Las Vegas, NV
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New Hampshire

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New Jersey

Stenotech Career Institute (Fairfield, NJ / Piscataway, NJ)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Deposition and Court Reporting
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New York

Business Informatics Center Inc (Valley Stream, NY)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Science - Court Reporting
Long Island Business Institute (Flushing, NY)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Science - Court Reporting
New York Career Institute (New York, NY)
Programs Offered:

Associate in Occupational Studies - Stenotype Court Reporter, Associate of Science - Stenotype Court Reporting, Certificate - Stenotype Hearing Reporting, Certificate - Stenotype Stenographer
SUNY-College of Technology at Alfred (Alfred, NY)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting
SUNY-Erie Community College (Buffalo, NY)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting
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North Carolina

Catawba Valley Community College (Hickory, NC)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
ECPI University (Charlotte, NC / Raleigh, NC)
Programs Offered:

Bachelors in Criminal Justice - Charlotte, Bachelors in Criminal Justice - Raleigh
Miller-Motte College (Cary, NC)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associate of Applied Science (online), Criminal Justice - Bachelor of Science (online)
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Ohio

Academy of Court Reporting (Cleveland, OH / Columbus, OH)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting
Clark State Community College (Springfield, OH)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Broadcast Captioning/CART, Certificate - Judicial Reporting Scopist
Cuyahoga Community College (Cleveland, OH)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Business - Captioning and Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting Technologies
Daymar College (Columbus, OH)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associate
Miami Jacobs Career College (Columbus, OH)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree - Court Reporting, Criminal Justice - Associate of Applied Business - Columbus, OH
Remington College (Cleveland, OH)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associates
Stautzenberger College (Maumee, OH)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Business - Court Reporting, Associate of Arts in Business - Court Reporting
Stautzenberger College-Brecksville (Brecksville, OH)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Business - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting
The University of Findlay (Findlay, OH)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Legal Courts
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Oklahoma

Tulsa Tech (Tulsa, OK)
Programs Offered:

Career Training - Court Reporter
Vatterott College (Tulsa, OK)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree Criminal Justice - Tulsa
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Oregon

Sumner College (Portland, OR)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree - Court Reporting, Diploma - Court Reporting
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Pennsylvania

Academy of Court Reporting (Pittsburgh, PA)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting
Fortis College (Forty Fort, PA)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
Harrisburg Area Community College (Harrisburg, PA)
Programs Offered:

Career Associate - Court & Realtime Reporting, Certificate - Court & Realtime Reporting
Luzerne County Community College (Nanticoke, PA)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting/Captioning, Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting
Orleans Technical Institute (Philadelphia, PA)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting
YTI Career Institute (Lancaster, PA)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice & First Response - Associate in Specialized Business Degree
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South Carolina

Midlands Technical College (West Columbia, SC)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
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Tennessee

Daymar College (Clarksville, TN / Murfreesboro, TN / Nashville, TN)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Bachelor, Criminal Justice Associate, Criminal Justice Diploma, Criminal Justice- Diploma
Remington College (Nashville, TN)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associates
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Texas

Alvin Community College (Alvin, TX)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting, Certificate - Scopist: Court Reporting
Arlington Career Institute (Grand Prairie, TX)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting, Certificate - Stenograph Court Reporting
Brightwood College (Beaumont, TX / Laredo, TX)
Programs Offered:

Associate Degree Criminal Justice - Beaumont, Associate Degree Criminal Justice - Laredo, TX
Court Reporting Institute of St. Louis (Dallas, TX)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting, Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting (online)
Del Mar College (Corpus Christi, TX)
Programs Offered:

Associate in Applied Science - Court Reporting, Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting
El Paso Community College (El Paso, TX)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting
Iverson Institute (Arlington, TX)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Science - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting
Kilgore College (Kilgore, TX)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting/Scopist, Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting/Scopist, Certificate - Court Reporting
Kussad Institute of Court Reporting (Austin, TX)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Court Reporting, Certificate - Court Reporting
Remington College (Fort Worth, TX / Garland, TX / North Houston (Greenspoint), TX)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice - Associates, Criminal Justice - Bachelor, Criminal Justice - Bachelors, Criminal Justice- Bachelor
Vista College Online (Richardson, TX)
Programs Offered:

Criminal Justice Associate Degree (AAS) (online)
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Utah

Fortis College (Salt Lake City, UT)
Programs Offered:

Certificate - Court Reporting
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Virginia

Fortis Institute (Virginia Beach, VA)
Programs Offered:

Career Training - Court Reporting
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Wisconsin

Kaplan University (Learning Center - Milwaukee, WI)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology, BS - Legal Support and Services, BS in Criminal Justice, BSCJ - Juvenile Justice, MPA - Criminal Justice, MS in Criminal Justice, MSCJ - Law, Undergraduate in Legal Studies