9 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Arizona

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If you’ve ever thought about starting a rewarding and exciting career in law enforcement, corrections, and related fields, criminal justice might be the right field for you!

Criminal justice professionals in Arizona perform public service, provide essential services, and ensure citizen safety across a variety of job titles.

Arizona criminal justice graduates can work in local, state, or federal governments or for private employers.

The criminal justice schools listed in the guide below offer training for certificates and degrees in criminal justice for Arizona-based students.

How to Start a Criminal Justice Career in Arizona

The pathway to beginning your criminal justice career will look different based on the specialization you choose.

All criminal justice students in Arizona will need to meet primary education and training requirements before being eligible to enroll in certificate training programs and hands-on training like the police academy.

What Jobs Can I Work with a Criminal Justice Degree?

  • Correctional Officer
  • Corrections Officer
  • Corrections Sergeant
  • Customs and Border Protection Office
  • Detective Sergeant
  • Forensic Specialist
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Police Sergeant
  • Detective
  • Homeland Security Agent
  • Paralegal

Become a Criminal Justice Professional in Arizona by Completing the Following Steps

#1. – Complete a High School Diploma or Earn an Equivalent

All criminal justice students must be at least 18 years old and have proof of education.

#2. – Research and Choose a Criminal Justice Career Path

Choose a criminal justice career path or specialty once you’ve completed your high school education requirements.

#3. – Complete Criminal Justice Education as a Certificate or Degree from an Accredited Program

Find a program that offers training for the criminal justice role you’re interested in.

Research program entry requirements and talk to program advisors about fast-track learning options and financial aid.

#4. – Aspiring Police Officers — Get Law Enforcement Certification by Attending a Police Academy

Criminal justice students on track to becoming police officers will be required to complete specialized training at a state-approved local police academy as part of their criminal justice education.

#5. – Aspiring Corrections Officers — Complete an Arizona Department of Corrections Sanctioned Training Program

Students on a corrections officer learning track will be required to complete relevant training approved by the ADOC.

Best Criminal Justice Schools in Arizona

Arizona’s best criminal justice schools prepare students for exciting careers as police officers, corrections officers, and other law enforcement officers who help officials seamlessly move defendants and the accused through America’s criminal justice systems and courts.

1 Arizona State University

About the Program

ASU has a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice in an online format that teaches students the fundamentals of research, analytics, and communications for working in criminal justice fields.

Their 120-credit hour program requires students to commit around eight hours per week to study while completing a total course load of 40 classes.

Students who complete their online criminal justice program are prepared for entry-level careers and to move on to completing a master’s Degree in Criminal Justice at ASU.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Policing
  • Criminology
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Criminal Justice Crime Control Policies and Practices
  • Introduction to Corrections
  • Courts and Policing

Program Costs: $7557.00 per academic year.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1151 South Forest Avenue - Tempe, Arizona - 85281
  • Phone: 866-277-6589
  • Website: Visit School Website

2 The University of Arizona

About the Program

The University of Arizona’s Criminal Justice Studies programs are operated by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

It prepares students for entry-level careers in local police departments, juvenile justice facilities, criminal courts, and intelligence agencies across the US.

Their four-year program teaches students the basics of how the US criminal justice system works and the application of laws by police, courts, and corrections officials.

The University of Arizona makes its criminal justice training options available on campus and online.

Courses Offered

  • Psychology and Human Behavior
  • Law, Policy, and Social Justice
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Court Administration
  • Terrorism and Counterterrorism
  • National Security
  • Survey of Forensic Science
  • Law Enforcement

Program Costs: $13,200.00 – $39,600.00.

Contact Information

3 Northern Arizona University

About the Program

NAU gives aspiring criminal justice professionals the option to earn a 120-credit hour bachelor’s degree to prepare for careers in the field.

This program teaches students about the critical stages involved in the criminal justice process and educates them on related subjects, including theories on crime, criminalization, and victimization.

They offer their criminal justice program with accelerated completion options and accept some previous coursework from programs taken at other accredited criminal justice schools.

Students who successfully complete the NAU bachelor in criminal justice can take their accelerated bachelor’s to master’s program to further their studies.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Crime and Justice
  • Criminology Theory
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Investigating Difference
  • Research Methods in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Research Methods for Criminology

Program Costs: $11,896.00 – $26,642.00 per year.

Contact Information

  • Address: 5 East McConnell Drive, Flagstaff - Arizona - 86011
  • Phone: 928-523-9519
  • Website: Visit School Website

4 Mesa Community College

About the Program

Mesa Community College is a Maricopa Community College.

The Administration of Justice Studies Department offers criminal justice majors several options for earning an Associate of Applied Sciences degree with a criminal justice specialization in Administration of Justice Studies or Forensic Science.

They also provide quick study certificates in criminal justice studies that can be completed in less time than an associate’s degree.

Their programs prepare students for criminal Justice careers as Fish and Game Wardens, Correctional Officers, Coroners, Bailiffs, and Forensic Science Technicians.

MCC has several campuses around the Mesa area and also offers students online study options.

Courses Offered

  • Corrections
  • Administration of Justice
  • Legal Studies
  • Law Enforcement
  • Fingerprint Identification and Photography
  • Victimology
  • Crime Scene Investigation

Program Costs: $97.00 – $367.00 per credit hour plus supplies and fees.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1833 West Southern Avenue, Mesa, Arizona - 85202
  • Phone: 480-461-7000
  • Website: Visit School Website

5 Phoenix College

About the Program

Phoenix College belongs to the network of Maricopa Community Colleges serving Arizona students.

They have an Administration of Justice program.

Their program trains criminal justice students in the areas of forensic science, criminology, corrections, and law enforcement.

Students also learn about effective tactics for community policing and how to collect evidence using the latest law enforcement technology.

Graduates of the Phoenix College criminal justice program can earn a certificate in several specialized areas or an Associate in Arts degree with an Emphasis in Criminal Justice.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Science
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legal Studies
  • Ethics and the Administration of Justice
  • Terrorism Liason Training Levels I and II
  • Corrections
  • Victimology

Program Costs: $97.00-$367.00 per credit hour.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1202 West Thomas Road, Phoenix, Arizona - 85013
  • Phone: 602-285-7971
  • Website: Visit School Website

6 Scottsdale College

About the Program

Maricopa County area students interested in beginning a career in criminal justice can take classes at Scottsdale College that lead to an associate’s degree or certificate in Criminal Justice.

Scottsdale College gives students the option to earn a two-year degree in Administration of Justice Studies and an emphasis on Criminal Justice or one of several fast-track certificates in criminal justice.

Most students can complete their fast-track certificate program in just two semesters.

Courses Offered

  • Administration of Justice
  • Crime Scene Investigations
  • Fingerprint Identification and Photography
  • Corrections
  • Law Enforcement

Program Costs: $97.00-$367.00 per credit hour.

Contact Information

  • Address: 9000 East Chaparral Road, Scottsdale, Arizona - 85256
  • Phone: 480-423-6742
  • Website: Visit School Website

7 Pima Community College

About the Program

Pima Community College has a Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement program that prepares students for a variety of criminal justice and public safety careers.

They offer a two-year associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and certificates in Law Enforcement through their full-authority Peace Officer Academy.

The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board approves their academy.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Administration of Justice
  • Criminal Procedures
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Ethics and the Administration of Justice
  • Criminology
  • Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice Credits
  • Issues in the Administration of Justice

Program Costs: $97.00-$367.00 per credit hour.

Contact Information

  • Address: 4905 East Broadway Boulevard, Tucson, Arizona - 85709
  • Phone: 520-206-7464
  • Website: Visit School Website

8 Glendale Community College

About the Program

GCU is another Maricopa Community College that recommends its Administration of Justice certificate or AAS degree program to aspiring law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and other students seeking other criminal justice careers.

Their program prepares students for a variety of entry-level criminal justice jobs by teaching the fundamentals of local and federal law enforcement, US courts, and corrections.

It puts them on track to earn a certificate of completion in one of five criminal justice-related areas.

Courses Offered

  • Ethics and the Administration of Justice
  • Substantive Criminal Law
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Criminology
  • The Correction Function
  • Current Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Procedural Criminal Law
  • Computer Applications in Justice Studies
  • Domestic Violence
  • Juvenile Justice Procedures

Program Costs: $97.00-$367.00 per credit hour.

Contact Information

  • Address: 6000 West Olive Avenue, Glendale, Arizona - 85302
  • Phone: 623-845-3000
  • Website: Visit School Website

9 Yavapai College

About the Program

Yavapai College offers certificates in criminal justice in their Justice Studies and Law Enforcement and Corrections Certificates.

Criminal justice students who want to continue their education beyond the certificate level can earn a two-year associate in applied sciences degree with a concentration in criminal justice.

Both the certificate and degree programs ready students for entry-level criminal justice careers and continuing criminal justice education.

Their certificate programs are quick study programs that take most students only two semesters to complete.

Students taking their certificate program will earn a total of 24 criminal justice credits.

Associate degree students earn approximately 65 transferable credits.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to the Administration of Justice
  • Criminology
  • Serial Killers and Mass Murderers
  • Neuroscience and the Law
  • Victimology and Crisis Intervention
  • Juvenile Justice Procedures
  • Ethics and Criminal Justice

Program Costs: $273.00-$933.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 1100 East Sheldon Street, Prescott, Arizona - 86301
  • Phone: 928-717-7777
  • Website: Visit School Website

Schools Summary Table

Rank School
#1 Arizona State University
#2 The University of Arizona
#3 Northern Arizona University
#4 Mesa Community College
#5 Phoenix College
#6 Scottsdale College
#7 Pima Community College
#8 Glendale Community College
#9 Yavapai College

Criminal Justice Salary Information

America’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for Arizona’s criminal justice professionals falls right around $55,000.00 per year.

This salary represents an average, meaning several criminal justice employees make above or below the average.

For example, highly trained and educated Police Officers in the state of Arizona can make as much as $128,000.00.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Arizona

City Name Salary
Phoenix $75,312
Tucson $72,320
Mesa $75,324
Glendale $75,312
Scottsdale $75,324
Chandler $75,324
Tempe $75,324
Gilbert $75,324
Peoria $75,160
Yuma $77,457

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Flagstaff, AZ60$90,620$43.57$133,680$62,960
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ1,250$91,990$44.22$147,200$50,630
Prescott, AZ50$56,410$27.12$76,170$39,330
Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ800$91,090$43.79$99,200$67,100
Yuma, AZ730$83,120$39.96$97,880$50,690
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Detectives and Criminal Investigators, OCC Code 33-3021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Criminal Justice Schools by State

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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