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Portland Criminal Justice Programs

Society is based on a few cornerstones, including the safety of its citizens. The importance of police and other justice professionals cannot be understated, particularly in a large metropolitan area like Portland, Oregon. Do you have the bravery and skills needed to become part of this dynamic field? If so, consider starting a new career path that can be very personally fulfilling.

One of the most prominent institutions in Portland is the Oregon Police Bureau. No matter what type of criminal justice career you pursue, it’s likely that you’ll at least have contact with this organization. There are over one dozen divisions in the Bureau, allowing police officers to serve every need of the community.


Whether you want to become a police officer, security guard, or pursue another criminal justice career, your first step is pursuing an education. Our comprehensive Portland criminal justice schools listings can help you find a school near you. You could be on your way to a degree as soon as next semester!

Criminal Justice Education in Portland, OR

You can decide between a variety of different schools when you decide to study criminal justice in this area. The Portland area offers both private and public school choices, and tuition rates vary significantly between schools. At Portland State University, one of the largest schools in the area, the tuition rate is $164 per credit for residents and $550 per credit for non-residents.

An associate degree or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can prepare you for a wide range of careers in the field. As a result, you may note that your curriculum tackles many different subjects. In general, you may take courses in the following fields:

  • Corrections
  • Criminology
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Law Enforcement

In general, you start with lower-level courses and then work your way up through more advanced courses. The advanced courses you take may depend on what field you want to work in. In fact, some schools in the Portland area allow you to declare a concentration.

There are several ways you can make yourself stand out amongst your peers. In the Portland area, you may be able to join local criminal justice groups that can introduce you to prospective employers. Consider joining groups like the Oregon Paralegal Association, the Portland Police Association, and the Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators.

Job Outlook for Criminal Justice Graduates in Portland, OR

Once you have put in the long hours to earn your degree, you are rewarded with the excitement of starting your new career. The career options available to you depend on what connections you have, what degree you have, and how well you did in school.

With an associate degree, you can tackle a variety of careers. Consider the following, listed with their average Portland or Oregon annual salaries as stated on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2022):

  • Security guard: $37,720 per year
  • Bailiff: $61,610 per year
  • Correctional officer: $73,690 per year

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you still can pursue many of the above careers. However, you also have other options, including the following:

  • Police and detective supervisor: $119,460 per year
  • Detective: $101,420 per year
  • FBI agent: $81,000-$129,000 per year (FBI, 2024)

With an associate or bachelor’s degree, you may be able to join the Portland Police Bureau as a police officer. As an entry-level police officer, you can start with an annual salary of $79,456 plus another $5,000 in bonuses!

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Portland, Vancouver, Hillsboro, OR-WA positions contained here reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed November 2023.