Listed below are all of the accredited schools in Montana that offer Criminal Justice programs.
Located in the western part of the country, the state of Montana offers beautiful mountain landscapes highlighted by the picturesque Rocky Mountains. Montana is sometimes referred to as "Big Sky Country" due to its breathtaking landscapes, featuring wide-open skies and beautiful mountain scenery. Skiing and snowboarding are popular activities, as are hunting and fishing. The state is home to roughly 974,000 people, many of whom reside in the capital city of Helena, as well as Billings, another major city.
Criminal Justice Education in Montana
Five schools offer either associate’s, bachelor's or master’s programs in criminal justice in Montana. If you’re looking to earn your associate’s degrees, you could look into various law enforcement and corrections positions. Four-year bachelor's degrees are often required for entry into various state and federal criminal justice positions. Or, a master’s degree can help you pursue advancement into management and administrative positions.
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When you enroll in a criminal justice bachelor's degree program, you will usually find that coursework is structured around a core curriculum. Courses in English, math and science are typically required. You will have the freedom to include some elective courses, often more so during the second and third years. Bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice often include courses similar to the following:
- The U.S. Criminal Justice System: An Introduction
- The Basics of Criminal Law
- American Criminal Justice History
- The Legal and Judicial System in America
- Criminal Justice Research Methodologies
- Ethics in Criminal Justice
- U.S. Race Relations
- Legal Writing and Research
A four-year program often includes work outside of the classroom that provides candidates with relevant "hands-on" experience. During the third year, a semester of field work is often included in the curriculum. In the fourth and final year, you may find that an off-site internship could occupy the majority of your time. Increasingly, educational institutions are allowing some of the degree coursework to be completed online. This can be helpful if you are looking to fit your studies in around your busy lifestyle.
Financial aid programs specific to Montana include the Montana Governor’s Postsecondary Scholarship and the Montana U.S. Senate Youth Program. Many scholarships and grants are provided through specific educational institutions in the state, notably the state universities.
Outlook for Criminal Justice in Montana
Many criminal justice positions in Montana are found around the primary population centers of Billings and Helena. Data tabulated in 2012 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that law enforcement officers in Montana earn an average of about $46,600. Corrections officers earn an average of about $40,000. Detectives and investigators earn about $72,760 per year, on average. Salaries are often somewhat below national averages, although is largely related to the lower cost of living that Montana citizens enjoy. The BLS projects that growth in criminal justice jobs will be in the range of five to eight-percent in the coming decade.
A graduate with a criminal justice degree in Montana may find federal government positions with the Border Patrol, the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the National Park Service. Security positions exist in and around the major national parks: Yellowstone and Glacier. Those with four-year degrees may often seek employment as parole and probation officers. Masters degrees often allow further advancement in these fields. Other opportunities exist in the private sector. Campus security, retail security and private investigations offer graduates varying career paths.
Graduates may wish consider applying for entry-level positions with the Montana State Patrol. New recruits receive $16.984 per hour during their attendance at the Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course and the MHP Advanced Traffic Enforcement Course. Upon completion of those courses, the next level is probationary trooper, and the pay increases to $21.23 per hour.