9 Best Criminal Justice Schools in New Mexico

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A degree in criminal justice offers a range of career opportunities, from entry-level technical skills to hybrid public policy and law degrees.

Often considered an interdisciplinary degree, it is a great way to start a lifelong career in public service, academics, research and social policy, politics, or law.

New Mexico criminal justice graduates often work in security, corporate environments, law enforcement, parks and environmental enforcement, emergency management, fraud inspectors, and correctional institution administration.

Those with advanced specialization are employed in non-profit and tribal law organizations.

In the Land of Enchantment, there are over a dozen universities and colleges that offer some form of criminal justice certificate and education.

Many provide advanced and graduate degrees in criminal studies.

So, if you thrive on challenges and want to make a difference, a criminal justice education is an excellent first step.

1 Central New Mexico Community College (Albuquerque)

About the School

Albuquerque is home to the main campus of Central New Mexico Community College.

It is a two-year institution serving over 29,000 students with almost 80 programs.

Students can earn certificates, vocational training, and Associate Degrees.

The criminal justice pathway focuses on law enforcement and policing skills.

The criminology coursework has a strong basis in theory and law policy.

Both pathways are part of the School of Health, Wellness, and Public Safety.

Courses Offered

Central New Mexico Community College offers both a 62-credit hour, two-year Applied Associate of Science degree (AAS) in Criminal Justice or a Law Enforcement Academy Certification.

The program also offers a 130 credit hour certification as a 911 Dispatcher.

Courses are provided on one of five campuses or as a hybrid option.

Core criminal justice coursework includes:

  • Police and Society
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Organized Crime and Terrorism
  • Criminal Law
  • Constitutional Policing

Additionally, all students are also required to complete an independent studies course.

Contact Information

  • Address: 900 University Blvd. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
  • Phone: (505) 224-3000
  • Website: Visit School Website

2 Doña Ana Community College (Las Cruces)

About the School

Part of New Mexico State University-Las Cruces (NMSULC), the campus serves roughly 7,000 students.

Its criminal justice program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree.

The program is operated at the East Mesa Campus of the Dona Ana Community College in Las Cruces.

Courses can also be taken at the NMSULC campus.

Courses Offered

The Associate of Applied Science degree requires completion of roughly 120 credit hours, including a second language requirement.

This roughly two-year degree is on-campus only and begins with an educational foundation of courses including English, creative arts, composition, philosophy, ethics, and math.

Basic criminal justice requirements include:

  • The American Law Enforcement System
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Courts and Procedure
  • Investigatory Procedures

Financial Aid (FAFSA), grants, GI Bill funding, and scholarships are accepted.

Contact Information

  • Address: East Mesa Campus, 2800 Sonoma Ranch Blvd, Las Cruces, NM 88011
  • Phone: (575) 528-7000
  • Website: Visit School Website

3 University of New Mexico (Gallup)

About the School

Founded in 1889, the University of New Mexico, Gallup, is home to roughly 2,200 students.

The school provides two different Associate of Arts (AA) degrees in Criminal Justice – a general studies and a law enforcement option.

Courses Offered

The AA degree requires 63 credit hours of instruction. Courses in algebra, English composition, humanities, and natural sciences are basic requirements.

Legal ethics, research, and writing are also a part of the syllabus.

The Associate Degree has a focus on the US legal system, while the Law Enforcement option focuses on police procedure and training.

The associate degree in Criminal Justice from UNM-Gallup offers a comprehensive background and is viewed as a springboard for advanced education or professional skills training.

Required coursework includes:

  • Juvenile Justice
  • Law
  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Police and Patrol Procedures
  • Police and Safety

An independent study for Field Experience in Criminal Justice is also a requirement for graduation from both pathways.

Tuition assistance, grants, and New Mexico vocational programs are available.

Military education benefits and other financial aid are also accepted.

The program is taught by both UNM faculty and practicing legal experts.

Contact Information

About the School

Navajo Technical University is a tribal science and technical college that teaches the traditions of the Navajo Nation.

Total student enrollment is slightly less than 1,000 students.

Courses Offered

NTU’s AA in Criminal Justice is unique and specialized.

It is designed for current Navajo Police Officers who wish to advance in their field.

The 63 credit hours associate program includes introductory courses in math, sciences, law theory, and psychology.

Coursework specific to the NTU criminal justice major includes:

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Ethics and Administration of Justice
  • Introduction to Computers
  • Police and Society
  • Criminal Procedures
  • Federal and Tribal Law Enforcement

A law advocate internship with a Navajo Nation focus is required of all students in the program.

Contact Information

  • Address: Lowerpoint Road, State Hwy 371, Crownpoint, NM 87313
  • Phone: (505) 387-7401
  • Website: Visit School Website

5 San Juan College (Farmington)

About the School

Founded in 1956, San Juan College (SJC) is a two-year institution serving 10,000 students.

There are over 130 degree and vocational programs offered both in-person and online.

The San Juan College also partners with state universities to provide undergraduate and graduate programs on its local campus.

Courses Offered

San Juan College’s two-year Associate of Arts in Police Studies has partnered with the San Juan County Criminal Justice Training Authority and is intended for those who are already employed in law enforcement.

It requires 60 credit hours in biology, psychology, math, history, and English.

Core competencies include:

  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Self Defense and Law Enforcement
  • Police and Safety
  • Enforcement and Professional Writing

Tuition payment plans, grants, vocational services, and the GI Bill will be considered for financial assistance.

Contact Information

  • Address: 4601 College Boulevard, Farmington, NM 87402
  • Phone: (505) 326-3311
  • Website: Visit School Website

6 Santa Fe Community College (Santa Fe)

About the School

The main campus of Santa Fe Community College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has roughly 8,000 students.

They have the choice of over 100 degrees and continuing education programs.

Courses Offered

Santa Fe Community College has pathways to an Associate of Arts or Applied Science in Criminal Justice and a one-year Certificate in Criminal Investigation.

Both programs are based in the School of Business Management.

The 60-credit, two-year Associate of Arts focuses on theory, while the Associate of Applied Science concentrates on law enforcement management skills.

Typical AA coursework includes:

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Introduction to Cyber Crime
  • Introduction to Protective Services
  • Legal Research and Writing

While the AAS syllabus lists:

  • Professional Responsibility in Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement Supervision -Command Level
  • Crime Profiling

All three education pathways require a local internship for graduation.

Contact Information

  • Address: 6401 Richards Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87508
  • Phone: (505) 428-1000
  • Website: Visit School Website

7 Clovis Community College (Clovis)

About the School

Eastern New Mexico University is a two-year institution offering Associate degrees, vocational training, and continuing education.

Courses Offered

Experienced law and enforcement professionals teach the Clovis Community College’s criminal justice program within three pathways.

The 60-hour Associate of Applied Science in Academy-Based Criminal Justice is focused on those already employed in law enforcement or enrolled in the area police academy.

The two-year, 63-credit-hour generalized AAS in Criminal Justice focuses primarily on enforcement theory.

And finally, the 100% online 30-credit-hour Certificate in Criminal Justice teaches foundational knowledge.

Basic college-level classwork in English, writing, math, and science is expected of all students.

Some of the legal-centric coursework includes:

  • American Judicial System
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Gangs in American Society
  • Criminal & Evidentiary Procedures
  • Police and Society

The college accepts Federal Financial Aid, the New Mexico Retraining Program, and generous payment plans.

Contact Information

8 New Mexico State University (Alamogordo)

About the School

The Alamogordo campus of the University of New Mexico is a fixture in south-central New Mexico near the Sacramento Mountains.

An extension of the main campus in Albuquerque, the Alamogordo campus boasts roughly 1,000 undergraduate students.

Courses Offered

The Associate in Criminal Justice requires 60 hours of instruction.

Half of the course requirements are foundational education, including math, English, and a second language.

Courses on ethics and legal writing are also part of the general syllabus.

The other 30 hours delve into the US legal system and enforcement skills.

Required coursework includes:

  • Applied Psychology
  • Field Experience in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Law
  • Evidence
  • Professional & Technical Communication

The program is taught by both UNM faculty and practicing legal experts.

Tuition assistance is available through FAFSA, the GI Bill, scholarships and grants, and New Mexico’s retraining programs.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1130 E. University Avenue, Las Cruces, NM 88003
  • Phone: (575) 646-0111
  • Website: Visit School Website

9 New Mexico Junior College (Hobbs)

About the School

The New Mexico Junior College (NMJC) is a public institution near Hobbs, New Mexico, along the Texas state border. Current enrollment is roughly 1,800 students.

The college has two dozen Associate degree, Certificate, and workforce development programs offered.

Courses Offered

The NMJC program has two options. The Certificate, exclusively for Southeastern New Mexico Academy students, provides a 32-hour criminal justice background.

The Associate of Applied Science degree is 64 hours.

One-third of course requirements are foundational, including math and English.

The other 36 hours focus on criminal justice

Required core competencies listed:

  • Introduction to the Courts
  • Field Experience in Criminal Justice
  • Case Preparation & Presentation
  • Criminal Procedure

First Aid/CPR and First Responder instruction is included in both programs.

Tuition assistance is available through scholarships, grants, and Federal and State programs.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1 Thunderbird Circle, Hobbs, NM 88240
  • Phone: (575) 392-4510
  • Website: Visit School Website

Schools Summary Table

Rank School
#1 Central New Mexico Community College (Albuquerque)
#2 Doña Ana Community College (Las Cruces)
#3 University of New Mexico (Gallup)
#4 Navajo Technical University (Crownpoint)
#5 San Juan College (Farmington)
#6 Santa Fe Community College (Santa Fe)
#7 Clovis Community College (Clovis)
#8 New Mexico State University (Alamogordo)
#9 New Mexico Junior College (Hobbs)

Criminal Justice Salary Information

The demand for criminal justice graduates in New Mexico is growing.

Those with a broad education currently hold positions in Federal law enforcement, such as the U.S. Marshall’s Office, Environmental enforcement, and state policy advisors.

Estimation of newly added law enforcement, management, and law policy positions in the state tops 7% through 2029.

The national average is 4%.

Individuals with a background in criminal justice can expect salaries ranging from $48,050 to $97,000 annually.

In New Mexico, those individuals who are multilingual or with specialized training, an Associate or Bachelor’s degree can expect higher compensation.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in New Mexico

City Name Salary
Albuquerque $98,667
Las Cruces $89,197
Santa Fe $99,166
Rio Rancho $98,352
Roswell $92,031
Farmington $97,343
Alamogordo $93,605
Clovis $94,533
Hobbs $93,678
Carlsbad $92,031

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Albuquerque, NM560$65,160$31.33$126,840$37,300
Farmington, NM40$57,050$27.43$65,360$35,800
Las Cruces, NM520$88,430$42.52$97,880$56,530
Santa Fe, NM40$66,960$32.19$128,810$38,840
* 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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