If you've ever wanted to prospect for diamonds or other precious gems, Arkansas can make your dream come true. Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only diamond-producing mine open to the public. Not only can you go there, you can also do some prospecting. A 37.5 acre area is set aside for visitors who want to search for diamonds or other precious gems. Whatever you find, you get to keep. You won't have to dig too hard for law enforcement jobs in Arkansas. The state frequently makes an appearance on various lists of the most dangerous states, and Little Rock was recently named the ninth most dangerous city in the entire country. The city is also one of many across the state and country experiencing a growing shortage of police officers.
Criminal Justice Education in Arkansas
With just under 30 schools in Arkansas offering criminal justice educations, you should be able to find one that suits your needs. Some of these are two-year associate degree (AA) programs and others are four-year bachelor's degree (BA or BS) programs. Some schools now even offer specialized degrees in Homeland Security.
Arkansas has schools that also offer both master's and PhD programs. Those enrolling in such programs are often seeking advancement into executive management, administrative and supervisory positions. Online coursework is increasingly offered in conjunction with advanced degree programs, thereby offering flexibility to those already in criminal justice jobs.
Four-year bachelor's programs can often open up career opportunities in probation and parole, forensics and criminal investigation. Numerous state and federal positions either require such a degree, or offer enhanced hiring potential to those that have their bachelor's.
Criminal Justice education is often structured around a core curriculum. Standard courses in science, math and English will typically be required. Electives may also be selected by students. These are more often taken after the Freshman year. Coursework specific to criminal justice may include:
- Criminal Justice History in the U.S.
- Criminal Law: An Introduction
- The Criminal Justice System in America
- The Judiciary in the American Legal System
- Introduction to Criminal Justice Ethics
- Research and Writing For Legal Purposes
- Conducting Criminal Justice Research
- The History of Race Relations
Field Work is a common component of one's third year. Usually, one semester of relevant field work is required. Then, during one's final year, an internship in one's chosen specialty is usually offered. The internship is typically off-campus, and it gives a student important "real-world" experience in their chosen field.
Learn more about scholarships in criminal justice by exploring our financial aid resources page.
Outlook for Criminal Justice in Arkansas
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Arkansas law enforcement officers, first-line supervisors in charge of those officers, criminal investigators and detectives all receive annual average compensation as listed in the graph below. Although these figures are slightly lower than national averages, the cost of living in Arkansas is significantly below the national average as well. Most criminal justice professions are expected to see 5 to 8 percent employment gains during the decade ending 2026.
Major police departments, like those in Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Fayetteville, will often have open positions to fill. The Little Rock Police Department starts new recruits out at a base level, then increase salaries according to years of service.
Private sector work in corporate security and private investigations can also be rewarding. The wealth of state and national parks and forests offer a host of opportunities for prospective fish and game wardens, another rewarding career option.
We've put together a salary graph for some top criminal justice career paths below. Data from Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017.
Contact the Arkansas schools with criminal justice degree programs to get started today!