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Learn about Houston Criminal Justice Programs

If you’ve ever wanted to be a modern-day hero, perhaps you’ve considered being a police officer with the Houston Police Department. Criminal justice career is an exciting and dynamic field that can allow you to serve your community.

As one of the largest cities in Texas, Houston has a great need for skilled, educated criminal justice graduates. In addition to the Houston Police Department, there are private employers to consider.


Everything starts with a criminal justice degree from one of the high-ranking schools in the area. We’ve compiled a list of Houston criminal justice schools below. You can request information from any school or schools you may be interested in attending. The information you get can help you find a program that is right for you.

The Houston Metro can help you get to and from class without breaking the bank. You can get a monthly pass, and they also have reduced student fare that you can take advantage of. This option means that you don’t have to pick a school just because it is close to you, since a Metro pass can get you to anywhere in the city.

Criminal Justice Schools in Other Major Texas Cities

Criminal Justice Education in Houston

There are a variety of schools in the Houston area, so it’s important to look into each school and make an educated decision. As you compare different schools, think about what kind of degree you want to earn. Many associate degree programs only require two years of full-time study, while a bachelor’s degree takes about four years.

Both degree options require many of the same courses. To help you establish a good education base, you need to complete a variety of general education courses. You may take courses in mathematics, science, and English. However, the bulk of your program will likely be spent in criminal justice courses. You may take courses in ethics, criminal justice procedures, victimology, and criminology.

If you decide to earn a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to choose a concentration. Some schools offer concentrations in fields like cyber-crime, identity theft, and crimes against children. Completing a concentration can give you the education you need to get higher-level, specialized jobs.

Tuition and financial aid are two factors that should play into your education no matter where you go to school. Tuition at the University of Houston Downtown is $6,319 for residents and $16,075 for non-residents. Of course, federal financial aid is an option. When you fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you can find out what federal loans and grants you qualify for. There may also be local and national scholarships.

Make the most of your student status by joining local criminal justice groups. There are many career-specific groups, which allows you to build connections early on. You may consider the Houston Metropolitan Paralegal Association, the Texas Police Association, or the Texas Jail Association.


Job Outlook for Criminal Justice Graduates in Houston

Since your Houston criminal justice program may explore many different avenues, you can explore several different career options. An associate degree may prepare you for entry-level careers, while a bachelor’s degree may prepare you for a more advanced career.

Entry-level careers in criminal justice are not necessarily lower paying, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022). In fact, bailiffs in Houston earn an average salary of $50,000 per year. As a security guard, you may be able to earn an average salary of $32,830 annually. Correctional officers earn an average salary of $46,230 per year.

With a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to find work as a detective or supervisor. Detectives and criminal investigators in Texas earn an average salary of $94,990 per year while correctional officer supervisors earn an average salary of $58,130 per year.

There are career paths you can pursue at the Houston Police Department. Salaries for police officers start at $58,600 annually. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you may qualify for Educational Incentive Pay, which adds $3,640 to your annual salary. As you move through the ranks of Senior Police Officer and Sergeant, you can earn up to $95,654 per year.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Houston, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land, TX positions contained here reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed November 2023.

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