Joining the ranks of the police and patrol officers in Los Angeles can be a fantastic way to serve your community. From traffic work to criminal investigations, there are dozens of neighborhoods in Los Angeles that need criminal justice professionals.
One of the largest law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles is the Los Angeles Police Department. Patrol officers investigate crimes, make arrests, patrol communities to make them safer, work with the community to solve problems, conduct community meetings, mediate disputes, investigate traffic collisions and provide general police services.
Since there are so many police department jobs in Los Angeles, it's no surprise that there are many different criminal justice schools in the area. If you're ready to join the criminal justice community in Los Angeles, you can start by contacting one or more of the schools listed below. You can find out when classes start, what courses to take, and what degree options are available to you.
As a criminal justice student, you can use the Los Angeles Metro to get around. You can pay for each ride as you go or get a TAP card that you preload with money. The Metro Rail goes all over Los Angeles County, making it easy to get to and from your classes.
Criminal Justice Schools in Other Major California Cities
Read about Criminal Justice Education in Los Angeles
There are several different criminal justice schools in Los Angeles that can help you reach your career goals. If you're finishing up high school, you may qualify for a program that combines your last year of school with police officer training.
If you want to earn a college degree in criminal justice, there are a few main choices you can select from:
- Associate degree—two years of full-time study
- Bachelor's degree—four years of full-time study
- Master's degree—requires a bachelor's degree and two years of full-time study
Regardless of whether you start with an associate degree or bachelor's degree, you cover many of the same topics. However, a bachelor's degree tends to go more in-depth in every subject. Most schools let you start with general education courses in subjects like mathematics, English, and humanities.
If you want to earn a criminal justice master's degree, your bachelor's degree does not necessarily have to be in criminal justice. It could be in a related field like psychology, sociology, or human services. Master's-level programs tend to focus on a specialization in criminal justice, like criminology, victimology, and forensic science.
Tuition rates differ between criminal justice programs. California State University Los Angeles, for instance, costs just over $4,003 per semester. Wherever you go, you may be able to get scholarships to save money on your tuition. The North California Peace Officers Association awards scholarships of $1,000 each year.
You may find it helpful to join local associations for the career you plan on pursuing after graduation, as you may be able to start networking and learning about the field. In Los Angeles, you can join the Peace Officers' Association of Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Paralegal Association, and statewide, the California Association of Licensed Investigators. Many times, these associations have reduced student rates.
Career Outlook for L.A. Criminal Justice Graduates
Exploring your career options before graduation can prepare you for the job search. The job openings available to you depend on what type of degree you earn. Salary information was found at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Positions you can pursue with an associate degree:
- Patrol officer, average salary of $103,320 per year
- Security guard, average salary of $31,840 per year
- Correctional officer, average salary of $65,150 per year
Positions you can pursue with a bachelor's degree:
- FBI agent, starting pay of $43,705 per year
- Correctional officer supervisor, average salary of $96,210 per year
- Criminal investigator, average salary of $118,670 per year
- Private detective, average salary of $78,960 per year
Salaries vary depending on where you work and what job title you have. The Los Angeles Police Department reports that new police officers start at $62,118 and can go as high as $72,976.