10 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Washington

Washington Seal

Washington in the Pacific Northwest is far from home for most criminal justice majors.

That does not prevent them from moving here by the thousands each fall to attend college.

With a public Ivy League college–the University of Washington–and several top-rated universities including Seattle University and Gonzaga University.

Discover where you could be going to school as a criminal justice major with this list of the best schools in WA.

1 Seattle University

Bachelor of Arts or Science in Criminal Justice

Crime Analysis Certificate – Online

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice – Online

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice – Traditional

The Department of Criminal Justice, Criminology, and Forensics at Seattle University offers several top-rated opportunities for students.

The school provides online courses leading to a master of arts in criminal justice.

In addition, traditional bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are available for criminal justice majors.

Students typically begin with the four-year track to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

With a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, you can pursue a master’s degree at Seattle University.

A master of arts degree requires two years of school and 55 credits.

The MA at Seattle University includes both an online 100 percent remote program and a traditional on-campus degree program.

The last option at Seattle University for criminal justice track students is the Crime Analysis Certificate program.

Earn a certificate in crime analysis that will allow you to specialize in the field and potentially increase your salary potential.

The certificate program is only available to students who are in the master’s degree program or have graduated with an MA in Criminal Justice.

The program has 25 total credits and is completely online.

Students typically complete the course in one year, but you may take up to two years if you are attending school part-time.

The cost of tuition for the criminal justice undergraduate degree programs is $54,285 per academic year.

For a four-year degree, anticipate paying $200,000 without financial aid, work-study, or scholarship assistance.

Most students choose to apply for financial aid or to get a student loan.

Contact Information

2 Washington State University

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice and Criminology

At Washington State University outside of Seattle, you can get a series of degrees in criminal justice.

Law enforcement and military-related majors can be studied at WSU in pursuit of a BA, MA, or PhD in Criminal Justice.

This WA university has a program for a four-year bachelor of arts degree and a two-year master of arts degree both in criminal justice.

Students can also pursue a doctoral degree, which takes about ten years, majoring in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Tuition at Washington State University is $12,417 for residents per academic year and $27,733 for out-of-state tuition.

This amount is for undergraduate tuition, and the graduate degree programs are $6,627 a year for in-state students and $14,210 a year for out-of-state students.

Contact Information

3 University of Washington–Tacoma

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

The University of Washington has a smaller campus in Tacoma.

This campus is an offshoot of the larger main campus of the University of Washington in Seattle.

If you are living in Tacoma or prefer this city to Seattle for a residence, you may consider going to UW-Tacoma.

This college has only one program for criminal justice majors.

You can get a degree as an undergraduate student in criminal justice with a bachelor of arts.

The program is offered online and on-campus with hybrid coursework.

A BA in Criminal Justice takes four years to complete.

Tuition at the University of Washington in Tacoma is $12,196 per academic year for in-state undergrad students and $40,026 for students who are residents of another state.

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4 Saint Martin’s University

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice

If you want more training in criminal justice as a college student, consider Saint Martin’s University.

At St. Martin’s, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in both criminology and criminal justice.

The program is offered for undergrads as a major and a minor.

The college of Saint Martin’s University is located in Lacey, WA.

Students have access to a bachelor of arts degree in criminology and criminal justice.

This is a four-year degree with a traditional pathway of on-campus courses.

Some online classes may be offered in a hybrid program.

The in-state tuition at St. Martin’s in Lacey is $40,690 a year for undergraduate students.

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5 Heritage University

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

In the town of Toppenish of Central Washington is Heritage University.

Here you have an undergraduate opportunity to learn criminal justice.

The school provides a Bachelor of Arts degree for criminal justice majors and minors.

This program takes four years and is offered in the traditional setting at Heritage University’s campus in Toppenish.

The cost of tuition for in-state students is $18,500 an academic year for Heritage University.

Students can pay up to $34,075 for tuition and room and board without financial aid and $5,981 on average after aid.

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6 Gonzaga University

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology

For a focus on criminology as a branch of criminal justice, you can attend Gonzaga University in Eastern Washington in Spokane.

The college has a four-year Bachelor of Arts in Criminology degree program.

Attend the program in a traditional setting with online coursework and internships available.

The tuition at Gonzaga University for in-state students is $53,500 per year for undergraduates.

Financial aid is available for students to reduce the cost of tuition and school fees.

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7 Eastern Washington University

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

In Cheney, Washington, Eastern Washington University has an undergraduate program with a major in criminal justice.

This is a Bachelor of Arts degree program.

The four-year BA degree at EWU for criminal justice majors offers courses including:

  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Care and Custody of Female Offenders
  • Drugs and Behavior
  • Psychology and the Legal System

Tuition to EWU is $7,922 for in-state students and $25,748 for students who are not WA residents.

Contact Information

8 University of Washington

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Choose to attend the prestigious public Ivy League school of the University of Washington on the Seattle campus or go to UW online.

There are criminal justice degree options available for both pathways.

The school is located in downtown Seattle and includes the historic Harry Potter staircase into one of the world’s most illustrious libraries that is also open to the public.

The entire campus is an art display and convenient within walking distance to Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and Downtown Seattle.

Tuition for the criminal justice four-year degree program at the University of Washington is $12,076 per year for students who live in WA and $39,906 for non-residents.

Contact Information

  • Address: Mary Gates Hall Ste. 420, Seattle, WA 98195
  • Phone: 206-543-1794
  • Website: Visit School Website

9 Bellevue College

Associate of Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) in Criminal Justice

Have you already started college elsewhere and want to transfer to a criminal justice degree program in Washington?

Consider Bellevue College in Bellevue, WA.

The school provides a unique learning opportunity for students.

Pursue an Associate of Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) in Criminal Justice degree.

The AAS-T degree will take two years of school. In addition, you will also be required to complete an internship for the applied portion of the degree.

The program takes 90 credits and prepares graduates for a job right out of college.

This is key since most pathways to employment involve a bachelor’s degree at a minimum.

The tuition at Bellevue College is the most affordable of the schools on this list.

Expect to pay around $4,057 for in-state tuition and $9,594 for out-of-state tuition.

Contact Information

  • Address: 3000 Landerholm Cir. SE, Bellevue, WA 98007
  • Phone: 425-564-1000
  • Website: Visit School Website

10 Pierce College–Fort Steilacoom

Associate of Science in Criminal Justice

Associate of Science in Crime Analysis and Investigation

Crime Analysis and Investigations (CAI) Certificate

The school of Pierce College – Fort Steilacoom is in Steilacoom, WA.

This town is a suburb of Tacoma, south of Seattle 40 miles away.

The military college has a few ways to train in criminal justice.

Start with an associate’s degree in criminal justice or get a certificate in crime analysis to specialize.

Students can major in Criminal Justice or in Crime Analysis and Investigation for an Associate of Science degree.

The school also has a professional certificate in Crime Analysis and Investigations.

The AS degree in Criminal Justice and in Crime Analysis and Investigation will provide you with a two-year transfer degree.

From here, it is recommended by Pierce College–Fort Steilacoom that you pursue a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from another Washington university that is a four-year school.

The Associate in Science from PC will transfer to schools accredited in WA State.

In addition, once you have a degree, you are ready to specialize with a certificate course in Crime Analysis and Investigations.

The tuition at Pierce College–Fort Steilacoom is $3,825 a year for WA residents and $5,247 for non-residents.

This places the program for criminal justice majors at Pierce College at the more affordable end for Washington.

Contact Information

  • Address: 9401 Farwest Dr. SW, Lakewood, WA 98498
  • Phone: 253-912-3675
  • Website: Visit School Website

Schools Summary Table

Rank School
#1 Seattle University
#2 Washington State University
#3 University of Washington–Tacoma
#4 Saint Martin’s University
#5 Heritage University
#6 Gonzaga University
#7 Eastern Washington University
#8 University of Washington
#9 Bellevue College
#10 Pierce College–Fort Steilacoom

Criminal Justice Salary Information

The salary for criminal justice graduates is around $32,920 a year.

Compare this to the entry-level salary for US criminal justice experts, which is $32,000 on average.

Once you have experience and training, you can expect to earn $47,000 to $80,000 a year.

This is where having more than one degree or certificate as a criminal justice professional is going to benefit you financially.

Earn more money and gain greater control over your career by advancing your skills in criminal justice with college and training in Washington.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Washington

City Name Salary
Seattle $84,122
Spokane $75,049
Tacoma $81,988
Vancouver $79,223
Bellevue $84,122
Everett $82,612
Federal Way $81,988
Kent $81,825
Yakima $76,925
Bellingham $78,358

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bellingham, WA240$116,880$56.19$156,270$102,210
Olympia-Tumwater, WA180$75,470$36.29$90,880$62,730
Yakima, WA30$107,330$51.6$141,540$72,210
* 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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