8 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Colorado

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A criminal justice degree can allow you to pursue a new career within the justice system.

You can work as a police officer, probation officer, private investigator, or corrections officer.

You can choose an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, depending on your career goals.

Some programs also allow you to become a criminologist.

Criminologists collect data to help understand and prevent crime within communities.

1 Colorado State University Global


Colorado State University Global is an online school affiliated with Colorado State University.

In fact, CSU Global is the first fully accredited, independent, completely online university created in the country.

They are a part of the Colorado State University System, which includes Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and Colorado State University in Pueblo.

Each campus operates separately, but they are all managed by the CSU Board of Governors.

Courses Offered/Program Name

Colorado State University Global offers a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice.

It’s completely online, so you can complete classes on your schedule.

The course requires 120 credit hours.

Most students get their degree in 4 years.

You’ll complete the required major and general education courses.

You’ll also take elective courses, and have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of criminal justice.

Contact Information

2 University of Colorado Colorado Springs


University of Colorado Colorado Springs has a 1:16 teacher-to-student ratio.

The college currently has 11,300 students, and more than 57,000 alumni around the world.

Students can choose from more than 140 degree programs.

Courses Offered/Program Name

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice (BACJ).

You’ll need to earn 120 credit hours to get this degree.

The program is available on campus, online, or in a hybrid format.

The program focuses on giving students a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system.

You’ll learn about the social and behavioral issues that contribute to crime.

The interdisciplinary approach includes law, sociology, psychology, and political science.

You’ll also learn about critical thinking and communication skills, ethical concerns, and how cultural differences affect the public’s perception and policy.

You can choose a specialization in Forensic Studies, Law, Law Enforcement, or Cyber Crime and Cybersecurity.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
  • Phone: 719-255-8227
  • Website: Visit School Website

3 Pikes Peak State College


Pikes Peak State College has three campuses as well as online learning options to support students with different needs and goals.

Tuition is less than half of most universities, and a variety of scholarships are available.

The college offers more than 150 programs, ranging from certificates to degrees.

Courses Offered/Program Name

Pikes Peak State College offers an associate’s degree in criminal justice.

This degree is transferable, so students can choose to continue their education after completing the program if they wish.

The program requires 60 credit hours and takes 4 semesters to complete.

You have several learning options.

You can attend classes on campus at Centennial or Rampart Range.

You can also learn online in a real-time format or a self-paced online format.

Hybrid options are also available, allowing you to take classes on campus and online.

Courses included in the program include crime scene investigation, delinquent behavior, and introduction to criminal justice.

After completing the program you will be able to understand criminal justice and criminal justice theory and have the skills needed to work in the field.

Contact Information

  • Address: 5675 S. Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80906
  • Phone: 719-502-2000
  • Website: Visit School Website

4 MSU Denver


The Metropolitan State University of Denver, also known as MSU Denver, has a strong focus on equity and fostering social mobility.

MSU Denver is the top transfer college for Colorado colleges.

The college’s goals include seeing students find successful careers, pursuing post-graduate education, and becoming lifelong learners in today’s multicultural, global, and technological society.

Courses Offered/Program Name

MSU Denver offers a Criminal Justice and Criminology Bachelor of Science Degree.

You’ll learn what drives criminal behavior and how it affects victims and society as a whole.

You’ll study the branches of the justice system, including courts, corrections, and law enforcement.

You’ll also compare the U.S. justice system to that of other countries, including The Netherlands and South Korea.

You’ll participate in an internship as part of the program.

The internship can be in probation or parole departments, attorney offices, sheriff and police departments, and other agencies including halfway houses and safe houses.

Contact Information

5 University of Northern Colorado


The University of Northern Colorado, also known as UNC, offers small class sizes, mentorship, and a personalized education that can help you meet your career goals after graduation.

You’ll also find a strong arts foundation and regular performances at the Little Theater of the Rockies.

Greek life, sports, clubs, and organizations offer socialization for a balanced lifestyle.

Courses Offered/Program Name

The University of Northern Colorado offers a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Masters Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

You can also minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

The Master’s program is designed for working professionals.

You’ll take core classes on campus in the evenings.

Elective classes can be taken online.

The faculty includes lawyers, sociologists, criminologists, former detectives, and public policy experts.

The college focuses on hands-on learning.

You can take workshops in crime scene investigation, forensic photography, and blood spatter analysis.

You’ll also have the opportunity for an internship, including riding with law enforcement officers, studying crime rates, and participating in mock interviews.

You’ll need 120 credit hours to get your degree.

Courses will include Liberal Arts Curriculum courses, University-wide general education credits, and credits required for the criminology and criminal justice major.

Contact Information

6 Community College of Aurora


Community College of Aurora, also known as CCA, is a community college with campuses in Aurora and Denver.

Two out of three students are eligible for Pell grants.

The student population is diverse, with 65% of students identifying as a minority, and 33% of students identifying as LatinX.

They have a very low teacher-to-student ratio of 1:8. 52% of students are first-generation college students.

Courses Offered/Program Name

The Community College of Aurora offers two criminal justice degrees.

You can earn an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice.

This path is designed for students who want to continue their education and get their bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

This program requires 60 credit hours and has a mix of major courses and general education courses.

The program focuses on criminal behavior, criminal law, and constitutional law.

You’ll also need to be accepting of different cultures.

The Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice is designed to prepare you for a career after graduation.

This program may require you to qualify for the CCA CO P.O.S.T.-approved Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy, and meet the legal, background, and fitness qualifications as part of your course requirements.

This program requires 61 credit hours.

Contact Information

  • Address: 16000 E. CentreTech Pkwy, Aurora, CO 80011
  • Phone: 303-360-4700
  • Website: Visit School Website

7 Colorado Tech


Colorado Tech is a four-year university that offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees.

Many programs can be taken in person or online, which makes education accessible for busy professionals.

The school offers Fast Track, which allows you to get credit for some courses based on your current knowledge level.

This can save you significant time and money.

Courses Offered/Program Name

Colorado Tech offers three Bachelor of Science degrees.

The programs require 182-183 credit hours to complete and typically take 4 semesters.

The courses can be taken on campus or online for your convenience.

Students can choose the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice to learn the skills needed to enter the workforce in the criminal justice field.

The Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree – Forensic Investigation focuses on preparing you to work as a forensic investigator while providing a foundational knowledge of other aspects of criminal justice.

If you want to investigate crime scenes and solve cases, this is the concentration for you.

The Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree – Human Services takes a different approach to criminal justice.

This concentration focuses on crime prevention, addiction treatment, and counseling.

It is particularly designed to help you understand how to work with and help troubled youths.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1575 Garden of the Gods Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80907
  • Phone: 855-230-0555
  • Website: Visit School Website

8 Colorado Christian University


Colorado Christian University was founded in 1914.

It’s ranked as one of the top universities in the nation by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

The school offers classes at its two campus locations, and online.

Courses Offered/Program Name

Colorado Christian University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Law and Practice.

You’ll learn about the three branches of criminal justice, which are law enforcement, courts, and corrections.

In addition to studying theory, you’ll get lots of hands-on learning.

This includes field trips, ride-alongs, and mock oral boards.

During your final year, you’ll also complete an internship.

The program takes 4 years to complete and requires 120 credit hours.

Contact Information

  • Address: 8787 W. Alameda Ave., Lakewood, Colorado 80226
  • Phone: 303-963-3000
  • Website: Visit School Website

Schools Summary Table

Rank School
#1 Colorado State University Global
#2 University of Colorado Colorado Springs
#3 Pikes Peak State College
#4 MSU Denver
#5 University of Northern Colorado
#6 Community College of Aurora
#7 Colorado Tech
#8 Colorado Christian University

Criminal Justice Salary Information

The average salary for criminal justice professionals in Colorado is $51,349.

This is significantly less than the national average, which is $60,025.

Colorado currently ranks 35 out of 50 for criminal justice salary.

It is important to note that salary for criminal justice positions can vary greatly.

This means there are plenty of opportunities to find better paying jobs with the right experience and education.

The highest paying jobs pay around $85,000.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Colorado

City Name Salary
Denver $77,481
Colorado Springs $75,880
Aurora $77,430
Loveland $74,673
Fort Collins $74,775
Arvada $77,481
Pueblo $71,542
Westminster $77,481
Boulder $78,175
Thornton $74,940

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Boulder, CO50$87,690$42.16$102,360$60,280
Colorado Springs, CO200$82,730$39.78$136,240$53,510
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO1,140$102,570$49.31$156,040$63,790
Fort Collins, CO40$95,740$46.03$147,370$59,090
Grand Junction, CO60$92,060$44.26$141,540$61,760
Greeley, CO50$83,850$40.31$106,790$55,010
Pueblo, CO40$78,480$37.73$95,160$53,330
* 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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