10 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Texas

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Start Your Criminal Justice Career in Texas!

Have you ever imagined yourself as a Border Patrol Agent or other law enforcement official protecting the borders of the United States and keeping your fellow citizens from harm?

If this sounds like your dream career, then working in the field of criminal justice may be the perfect career pathway for you!

Starting a criminal justice career begins with getting the best criminal justice education available — This guide provides an overview of some of the best criminal justice schools in Texas.

Best Criminal Justice Schools in Texas

The best criminal justice schools in Texas are accredited, have partnerships with local, state, federal, and municipal authorities, and teach their students the fundamentals of the American criminal justice system.

Dive into the guide below to learn which of the best Texas colleges offer certificate-level and degree-level criminal justice programs for local area students.

Later, we’ll provide examples of local criminal justice salaries to give aspiring professionals an idea of how much they can earn doing their dream jobs.

1 Texas State University

About the Program

Texas State University’s Criminal Justice and Criminology school presents students with several options for pursuing their criminal justice education in their comprehensive research-based programs.

They offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level criminal justice programs.

The undergraduate program requires students to complete 120 credit hours that include general education courses, core courses, electives, and experiential learning internships.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • The Courts and Criminal Procedure
  • Police Systems and Practices
  • Correctional Systems and Practices
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Fundamentals of Criminal Law
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Criminal Justice

Average Program Costs: $15,000.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 601 University Drive, San Marcos, Texas
  • Phone: 512-245-2174
  • Website: Visit School Website

2 Sam Houston State University

About the Program

The College of Criminal Justice at S Houston State University gives students the opportunity to earn a degree in criminal studies with additional majors in Homeland Security and Forensic Science Studies.

They also offer specialized research institutes for students interested in pursuing criminal justice careers in law enforcement, corrections, and other criminal justice careers.

Their programs focus on teaching students the principles learned through extensive research and are led by a highly experienced criminal justice faculty with a wealth of knowledge.

Students who enroll in SHSU’s criminal justice program can work toward their degrees on campus or online.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
  • Victimology
  • Criminology
  • Introduction to Methods of Research
  • Correctional Systems and Practice
  • Fundamentals of Criminal Law
  • Police Systems and Practices

Average Program Costs: $15,000.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 1905 University Avenue, Huntsville, Texas
  • Phone: 936-294-1111
  • Website: Visit School Website

3 St. Mary's University

About the Program

Students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree or a minor in criminal justice studies can take courses at St. Mary’s University’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences School in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Their bachelor’s degree program features 120 credit hours of criminal justice coursework that educates students on the nature and causes of crime and strategies for controlling crime.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • The Law and Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • International Justice System
  • Sociological Research
  • Ethics in Criminal Justice

Average Program Costs: $17,000.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 1 Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, Texas
  • Phone: 210-436-3011
  • Website: Visit School Website

4 Texas Southern University

About the Program

Texas Southern University has a criminal justice program that prepares students for urban careers in the field.

Their program gives students bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. options for beginning or enhancing their criminal justice education, careers, and salaries.

One of the perks of taking criminal justice studies at TSU is that its students have access to the Forensic Science Learning Lab for immersive and experiential education opportunities.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to the Administration of Justice
  • Introduction to Corrections
  • Research Methods in the Administration of Justice
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Juvenile Justice System
  • Security Management
  • Introduction to Criminology

Average Program Costs: $21,000.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 3100 Cleburne Street, Houston, Texas - 77004
  • Phone: 713-313-6489
  • Website: Visit School Website

5 St. Edwards University

About the Program

St. Edwards University in Austin offers a comprehensive criminal justice education program that teaches students the fundamentals and practical knowledge required for them to become working criminal justice professionals.

They offer immersive experiential learning options that help students to visualize themselves in the line of duty.

Immersive learning experiences include mock trials, which introduce students to the American justice system and the concepts needed for applied legal reasoning.

Courses Offered

  • Administration of Justice
  • Criminal Law I and II
  • Legal Writing
  • Mock Trial
  • American Court System
  • American Law Enforcement
  • Drugs and Crime
  • Advanced Criminology
  • Prosecution and Adjudication
  • Juvenile Delinquency

Average Program Costs: $18,000.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 3001 South Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas
  • Phone: 512-448-8400
  • Website: Visit School Website

6 Tarleton State University

About the Program

Texas area students who want to earn a certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD in criminal justice can take classes at Tarleton State University.

They offer a wide range of criminal justice education options that provide students with opportunities for long-term or short-term study.

Students can earn an undergraduate or graduate certificate in Crime Analysis, which comprises five foundational courses.

Their bachelor’s degree program requires students to complete 120 credit hours of foundational coursework in criminal justice theory and practice that pave the way for immediate employment or continuing education.

Courses Offered

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Professional Writings in Criminal Justice
  • Homeland Security
  • Criminal Justice Statistics
  • Court Systems and Practices
  • Correctional Systems and Practices
  • Criminology
  • Gender, Crime, and the Criminal Justice System
  • Methods of Criminal Justice Research

Average Program Costs: $19,000.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 1333 West Washington Street, Stephenville, Texas
  • Phone: 254-968-9000
  • Website: Visit School Website

7 Alvin Community College

About the Program

Alvin Community College is located in the city of the same name, and it offers students three options for beginning their criminal justice education.

Students who take coursework at Alvin can earn a Certification in Law Enforcement once they complete an approved police academy or an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.

They have a law enforcement track that prepares students to become police officers, corrections officers, and other Texas law enforcement officers and a transferable degree that prepares students for different careers in the industry.

Courses Offered

  • Fundamentals of Criminal Lw
  • Court Systems and Practices
  • Texas Government
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Correctional Systems and Practices
  • Police Systems and Practices
  • Federal Government

Average Program Costs: $8,235.00

Contact Information

8 Amarillo College

About the Program

Amarillo College helps students seeking a career in law enforcement and criminal justice to begin their careers through their Basic Peace Officer Academy and Associates Degree in Criminal Justice programs.

Their degree program takes most students two years to complete and prepares them for entry-level employment in criminal justice careers.

The Peace Academy trains new police officers and other Texas law enforcement officers according to approved standards set forth by the state.

Amarillo students learn the basics of how Texas courts work, along with how law enforcement agencies work to police criminals.

Students will also get a general understanding of how the Texas Corrections Department works to house and rehabilitate offenders.

Courses Offered

  • Courts
  • Correctional Institutions
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Police Academy
  • Research Methods
  • Statistics
  • Criminal Law

Average Program Costs: $4,956.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 2201 South Washington Street, #2411, Amarillo, Texas
  • Phone: 806-371-5000
  • Website: Visit School Website

9 Texas Christian University

About the Program

Texas Christian University makes the list of the best criminal justice schools in Texas for its offerings for undergraduate and graduate criminal justice programs.

Students who take classes at TCU can gain a fundamental understanding of the nature and causes of crime and learn about criminological theories used to prevent crime and administer justice to guilty defendants passing through America’s justice systems.

They will also learn how to navigate the American legal system when taking classes like Courts and Judicial Procedures.

Graduating students will also understand essential concepts and how criminal justice works with the corrections department to house and rehabilitate criminals.

Courses Offered

  • Criminological Theory
  • Research Design
  • Courts and Judicial Procedure
  • Police in a Free Society
  • Criminal Law
  • Law, Justice, and Social Control
  • Community Corrections
  • Constitutional Law for Criminal Justice

Average Program Costs: $39,000.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 2855 Maine Drive, Fort Worth, Texas - 76109
  • Phone: 817-257-5846
  • Website: Visit School Website

10 The University of Texas at Tyler

About the Program

The Department of Social Sciences at UT-Tyler gives local students options for earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice.

They also offer minor concentrations in areas like Forensic Science for students who want a fundamental introduction to criminal justice studies.

Their program teaches students about the various aspects of historical and practical criminal justice procedures students need to progress their education or begin entry-level careers in the field.

Courses Offered

  • Administration of Criminal Justice
  • Correctional Systems and Practices
  • Statistics
  • Criminal Justice Research Methods
  • Criminology
  • Fundamentals of Criminal Law
  • Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Science
  • Crime Scene Processing
  • Juvenile Justice

Average Program Costs: $11,000.00

Contact Information

  • Address: 3900 University Boulevard, Tyler, Texas
  • Phone: 903-566-7000
  • Website: Visit School Website

Schools Summary Table

Rank School
#1 Texas State University
#2 Sam Houston State University
#3 St. Mary's University
#4 Texas Southern University
#5 St. Edwards University
#6 Tarleton State University
#7 Alvin Community College
#8 Amarillo College
#9 Texas Christian University
#10 The University of Texas at Tyler

Criminal Justice Salary Information

Now that you’ve learned about the best criminal justice schools in Texas, you’re probably wondering how much criminal justice professionals make in Texas.

Texas criminal justice salaries can fall above or below the average based on factors like the number of years of on-the-job training, completion of education and degree programs, earning certifications and licensure, and the salary scale for the criminal justice agency or program you work for.

The following are a few examples of Texas criminal justice salaries earned by local professionals each year:

  • Police Officers: $65,153.00
  • Bailiff: $62,288.00
  • Corrections Officers: $36,721.00
  • Criminal Investigators: $55,503.00
  • Lawyer: $89,633.00
  • Paralegal: $55,348.00
  • Border Patrol Agent: $38,118.00
  • Criminal Intelligence Analyst: $47,013.00

Criminal justice salaries listed above are based on research and the annual reported salaries for these specific occupations in Texas.

It is important for aspiring criminal justice professionals to remember that CJ salaries can be more or less than the average based on the factors mentioned above — Talk to your program advisor to learn more about the required coursework needed to earn the job title and salary you’re seeking in Texas.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Texas

City Name Salary
Houston $77,573
Dallas $75,743
San Antonio $73,524
Austin $74,981
El Paso $66,684
Fort Worth $74,288
Arlington $74,166
Corpus Christi $71,557
Plano $75,743
Garland $75,743

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Abilene, TX50$58,460$28.11$95,220$39,580
Amarillo, TX80$66,780$32.1$129,750$40,000
Austin-Round Rock, TX1,650$74,820$35.97$102,080$42,600
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX90$67,660$32.53$121,890$40,000
Brownsville-Harlingen, TX830$87,880$42.25$109,120$50,690
College Station-Bryan, TX50$67,140$32.28$94,140$43,530
Corpus Christi, TX220$82,970$39.89$142,290$42,290
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX2,110$87,410$42.03$153,090$46,110
El Paso, TX1,760$90,780$43.64$125,820$50,690
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX1,720$94,990$45.67$172,240$45,660
Killeen-Temple, TX90$64,060$30.8$117,960$40,000
Laredo, TX1,290$87,210$41.93$100,940$52,290
Longview, TX50$53,660$25.8$72,780$40,000
Lubbock, TX220$71,940$34.59$87,130$43,530
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX1,520$85,760$41.23$103,170$47,530
Midland, TX40$88,260$42.43$133,680$50,690
Odessa, TX30$54,740$26.32$72,800$40,000
San Angelo, TX70$87,850$42.23$157,870$39,520
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX1,520$80,710$38.8$131,080$44,970
Texarkana, TX-AR30$62,290$29.95$129,750$36,440
Tyler, TX90$81,630$39.24$145,480$42,520
Victoria, TX50$61,300$29.47$69,520$43,530
Waco, TX90$72,370$34.8$129,750$43,530
Wichita Falls, TX30$58,340$28.05$98,050$39,540
* 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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