Mississippi Criminal Justice Degree Programs
State Agency: Mississippi Department of Corrections
Recently Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant met with President Donald Trump to share how Mississippi has made successful strides in criminal justice reform. By ensuring that "the punishment fits the crime," the state has been able to save hundreds of millions of dollars in additional spending while providing better outcomes for those facing non-serious offenses. While these changes have helped further the primary goal of our criminal justice system — protecting the public, they have also helped provide hundreds of Mississippians with a second chance in workforce (Clarionledger.com)
This news continues the state's trend of helping relieve county jail facilities and providing more opportunity for the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,600 correctional officers and jailers employed in 2017 who made on average $29,040 annually. Although Mississippi's protective services have a lower average salary than most states, the cost of living is also lower.
Criminal Justice Education in Mississippi
Mississippi has fewer than 20 schools with criminal justice programs. There are several opportunities for graduate study, including at the doctoral level. If you want to browse our school listings now, click on the red button and get started!
Bachelor programs in criminal justice are often structured around a core curriculum. Math and science courses are typically required for a criminal justice education. There will be an English course or two as well. You will be able to choose some electives during your fourth year as well.
Typical courses you may take while earning your criminal justice degree include:
- The U.S. Criminal Justice System
- A History of American Criminal Justice
- Criminal Justice Ethics in the U.S.
- Legal Research Concepts
- Race Relations in the United States
During your third and/or fourth year, you will normally enjoy experiences off-campus with hands-on educational experiences or field work. A full-time internship may also be required as part of your criminal justice education in your senior year. This internship will typically be centered upon your specialty and will give you a sense of what your career may be like upon graduation.
Also, online courses are becoming more and more common. Online coursework offers several advantages if you are busy with internships, pre-existing careers or families. Core courses and theoretical courses are popular when offered with online components.
National associations like the American Criminal Justice Association are good places to look for scholarships, but awards are also available for students meeting a wide range of specific criteria as well. For example, students attending a historically black college can apply for the BECA, Inc. Edna R. Anthony Memorial Scholarship.
Outlook for Criminal Justice in Mississippi
Mississippi is a largely rural state, but it has the largest concentration of police officers of any state. In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published data regarding criminal justice positions in the state. Police and sheriff's deputies earn an average of $35,520 in the state, while the national average in $64,490. Larger metro departments often pay more, For example, a Biloxi police officer starts at $47,903. First-line supervisors that manage these law enforcement officers earn an average of $55,060 per year. In Mississippi, detectives average $61,570 in annual compensation, while the national average is $83,320.
State positions for criminal justice graduates will be somewhat more concentrated in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi and one of its most populous cities. Graduates may also find employment in the private sector, such as in private investigations for businesses. Campus police offer positions, particularly at the larger universities. Other opportunities exist in juvenile justice, forensics and Homeland Security.
If you are concerned about paying for school, you may want to visit this page to learn more about criminal justice scholarships.
Mississippi Criminal Justice Schools
Online programs may not be available in all areas