Kentucky in the early 19th century was a rough land at the edge of the frontier. Before law and order took hold in the territory, outlaws and pirates found a safe haven in its hills. Today, Kentucky is kept safe with qualified law enforcement officers on the job. According to FBI Statistics, Kentucky has one of the lowest crime rates in the country. From 2011 to 2012, the crime rate actually dropped 7 percent.
Despite Kentucky's low crime rate, the state offers ample opportunity for criminal justice majors. In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 37,200 protective services occupations including correction officers, police officers, bailiffs and detectives. Specifically, the BLS reports there were around 6,480 police officers in the Bluegrass State, which includes officers of local sheriff's departments.
Major Kentucky Cities
Criminal Justice Education in Kentucky
Several schools in Kentucky offer criminal justice educations, including Eastern Kentucky University, Beckfield College and Campbellsville University. Most of these colleges offer Associate's or Bachelor's degrees, but a few of them offer graduate degrees as well. Some of the courses a student could be expected to take while earning a Bachelor's degree include:
- Serial Killers and Mass Murderers
- Race, Class and Gender
- Police Ethics
- Crime and Punishment
- Criminal Law
- An Introduction to Courts and Corrections
- Criminal Procedures
A few institutions such as Ashford College will allow students to specialize in a particular field of criminal justice such as corrections or security. As such, these programs may require courses that deal with crowd control or criminal behavior in addition to foundational courses. No matter which specialization is chosen for your criminal justice education, individuals will still likely perform an internship program near the completion of their studies, especially if working towards a Bachelor's degree program.
If you are concerned about paying for school, you may want to visit this page to learn more about criminal justice scholarships.Scholarships for criminal justice are plentiful and include many offered nationally like the ones awarded by the American Criminal Justice Association and the Lint Center of National Security Studies, Inc.
Outlook for Criminal Justice in Kentucky
In the state of Kentucky, the career outlook for criminal justice graduates remains high due to the sheer number of law enforcement agencies that are found in the state. For starters, Kentucky has 120 counties, which is more than any surrounding state. Since each county has its own sheriff's department, which means there are multiple agencies for one to seek employment in.
After serving some time in an entry-level position, officers could then advance to one of the law enforcement training centers in Kentucky, where they could serve as advisors or instructors. A few of these academies include the Louisville Metro Police training academy, the Kentucky State Police Academy and the Lexington/Fayette Urban County Police Department Academy.
According to the 2012 data from the BLS, detectives in Kentucky earn around $68,000 while police officers earn an average mean wage of around $41,000 per year. Correctional officers will make slightly less, with their annual salary being around $32,000. Probation and parole officers earn somewhere in the middle of the pay scale, with their annual salary being around $38,000. The benefits package for all of these workers typically includes health, dental and life insurance, paid vacation and a 401(k) plan. These figures will allow individuals to live a rather comfortable lifestyle, as the cost of living here is rather low when compared to the rest of the nation.
Start your venture today by researching the many Kentucky criminal justice colleges below. You can request information from multiple schools so you can compare programs offered near you and find the best one for your goals!