Top Criminal Justice Schools in Oregon (2024 Enrollment Guide)

Pursuing a career in criminal justice has never been more rewarding, as the field continues to grow and diversify. In Oregon, the opportunities are vast, and choosing the right program can be a crucial step in achieving success in this dynamic field. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the criminal justice landscape in Oregon, from exploring criminal justice schools in Oregon to understanding career opportunities and navigating the state’s criminal justice system and accessing professional resources. Embark on an exciting journey towards a fulfilling career in criminal justice.

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Explore Oregon’s variety of criminal justice programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

  • Take advantage of professional resources such as organizations, networking opportunities and events to advance your career in this domain.

  • Consider accreditation, reputation and faculty expertise when selecting a criminal justice program for best educational fit.

Exploring Criminal Justice Programs in Oregon

Oregon boasts a variety of criminal justice programs, offering degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. With many specialties to choose from, including:

  • Juvenile justice

  • Crime analysis

  • Criminology

  • Homeland security

Prospective students have a wide range of options to suit their interests and career goals. From traditional on-campus programs to flexible online options, Oregon is home to several top-notch institutions that cater to the diverse needs of criminal justice students.

The benefits of obtaining a criminal justice degree in Oregon are numerous, such as increased remuneration and improved opportunities for attaining advancements. With many institutions offering specialized degrees and certificates, students can tailor their education to align with their career aspirations. We’ll examine the leading criminal justice schools in Oregon and the online program options they offer.

Top Criminal Justice Schools in Oregon

Choosing the appropriate criminal justice school in Oregon is significant for future accomplishment. With a variety of institutions offering diverse degree options and career support, students can find the perfect fit for their educational needs. Some notable schools include:

  • Portland State University

  • Western Oregon University

  • Southwestern Oregon Community College

  • Southern Oregon University

  • Central Oregon Community College

  • Portland Community College

Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government is a standout choice, offering five distinct and highly specialized institutes and centers, including the Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute. The university’s Criminology & Criminal Justice undergraduate degree program utilizes data and statistics to address crime issues facing Oregon. With over 100 internship placement agencies available to students, Portland State University boasts impressive job statistics related to internships, enhancing graduates’ career prospects.

Western Oregon University is another top choice for criminal justice students, offering a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a strong focus on law enforcement, community preparedness, and juvenile delinquency. With a dedicated Criminal Justice Careers Day event, students have the opportunity to network with professionals and explore potential career paths in the field.

Online Criminal Justice Programs in Oregon

Online criminal justice programs provide an excellent alternative for students seeking adaptable learning options. Institutions such as Portland State University and Eastern Oregon University offer online degree programs for those who prefer to balance work, family, and education. Online programs, such as the Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Portland State University and the Criminal Justice program at Southern Oregon University, provide a comprehensive curriculum designed to equip students with essential knowledge and skills for a successful career in law-related professions.

Online criminal justice programs in Oregon typically take four years to complete, with the same rigorous curriculum as their on-campus counterparts. This allows students to gain a quality education while enjoying the convenience and flexibility that online programs offer. Whether pursuing an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, online criminal justice programs provide students with the opportunity to achieve their educational goals without sacrificing their personal or professional commitments.

Criminal Justice Careers and Salaries in Oregon

A degree in criminal justice paves the way for numerous career opportunities in Oregon, including becoming a criminal justice associate. Popular careers include:

  • Attorneys

  • Law clerks

  • Positions within the Oregon Department of Justice, sheriff’s offices, prisons, and law firms

  • Paralegals or legal assistants in a variety of law firms and government agencies

The private sector also presents opportunities for individuals to work in these roles.

In terms of salaries, the median salary for police and sheriff patrol officers in Oregon is $66,000, which is significantly higher than the national average of $56,800. The state is also expected to experience a 9 percent growth in police and sheriff patrol officer positions from 2012 to 2022. Given its robust criminal justice system and the array of career opportunities on offer, Oregon is a compelling destination for those building a career in this domain.

Law Enforcement Careers in Oregon

Law enforcement careers in Oregon encompass various roles, such as police officers, deputy sheriffs, parking enforcement officers, state troopers, law enforcement rangers, and criminal investigators. To become a police officer in Oregon, candidates must meet specific requirements, including being at least 21 years of age, possessing a high school diploma or GED, and having an untarnished criminal record with no felony convictions or crimes involving domestic violence. Obtaining a basic law enforcement certificate is also essential for candidates pursuing this career path.

The job outlook for police officers in Oregon is positive, with the following statistics:

  • Projected 13% increase in employment from 2020 to 2030

  • Estimated 420 annual job openings during that period

  • Average salary of approximately $70,176 per annum

  • Highest-paid 10% of officers earning over $105,540

  • Lowest-paid 10% of officers earning less than $40,420

A career in law enforcement in Oregon offers stability, growth, and a competitive salary, with resources and support from the Oregon Employment Department.

Legal careers in Oregon comprise attorneys, paralegals, and legal assistants, while corrections careers encompass correctional officers, probation officers, and other related roles. Educational requirements for legal careers typically include obtaining a bachelor’s degree, attending an ABA-accredited law school, and passing the state bar exam. For corrections careers, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field is often preferred.

The typical salaries for legal and corrections careers in Oregon vary depending on the specific job title and experience level. On average, attorneys and lawyers in Oregon earn around $101,791 to $154,569 per year. For corrections careers, the average salary ranges from $47,579 to $84,555 per year. It is crucial to note that these figures are approximate and can vary based on factors such as location, education, and years of experience.

Pursuing a career in legal and corrections in Oregon provides an opportunity for growth and financial stability.

Navigating Oregon’s Criminal Justice System

Comprehending Oregon’s criminal justice system is vital for those building a career in the domain. The system is comprised of various agencies and organizations responsible for enforcing criminal laws and providing correctional programs and initiatives. Recent changes to Oregon’s state legislation regarding criminal justice encompass the passing of public safety bills, modifications to the state’s criminal defense system, and the establishment of the Juvenile Justice Policy Commission within the Oregon Criminal Justice system.

The primary criminal justice agencies in Oregon include the Oregon Department of Justice, the District Attorney/Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP), and the Oregon Internet Crimes Division. Additionally, each county has its own local law enforcement agencies responsible for upholding criminal laws and ensuring public safety. Gaining a deeper understanding of the state’s criminal justice system and its various components will equip students and professionals with the knowledge needed to excel in their chosen careers.

State Legislation Impacting Criminal Justice Jobs

State legislation plays a significant role in shaping the criminal justice landscape in Oregon. Recent changes to state legislation have impacted criminal justice jobs in the following ways:

  • Enactment of public safety bills that address various offenses

  • Alterations to the state’s criminal defense system

  • Creation of the Juvenile Justice Policy Commission

Additionally, the state has implemented a “ban the box” law, which prohibits most employers from inquiring about criminal convictions on job applications or prior to a certain point in the hiring process.

These legislative changes reflect the state’s ongoing efforts to improve the criminal justice system and create fairer opportunities for individuals with criminal backgrounds. Comprehending the influence of state legislation on criminal justice careers in Oregon is vital for students and professionals aiming to successfully navigate the domain and stay updated on new developments and potential job prospects.

Breakdown of Criminal Justice Agencies in Oregon

Oregon’s criminal justice system consists of various agencies at different levels of government. These include:

  • Local law enforcement agencies, such as police departments and county sheriff’s offices

  • State-level agencies like the Oregon State Police

  • Federal law enforcement agencies operating in Oregon, such as the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement.

The court system in Oregon is structured with several levels, including:

  • Circuit Courts (trial courts)

  • Appellate Courts (Oregon Supreme Court and Oregon Court of Appeals)

  • County Courts

  • Justice Courts

  • Municipal Courts

  • Tax Courts

Correctional facilities in Oregon play a critical role in the state’s criminal justice system, responsible for the incarceration and rehabilitation of individuals who have been convicted of crimes.

Comprehending the structure of criminal justice agencies in Oregon is crucial for those building a career in the domain and looking to make knowledgeable choices about their education and career trajectories.

Professional Resources for Criminal Justice Students and Professionals in Oregon

A multitude of professional resources exist for criminal justice students and professionals in Oregon, encompassing organizations, networking opportunities, and events. These resources can offer insightful information, guidance, and connections for individuals aiming to further their careers in the domain of criminal justice. Through these resources, students and professionals can gain industry insights, connect with potential employers, and stay current on the latest trends and developments in the domain.

Criminology organizations, such as:

  • University of Oregon

  • Portland State University

  • Oregon Justice Resource Center

  • Partnership for Safety & Justice

  • Criminal Justice Commission

offer a wealth of resources and networking opportunities for criminal justice students and professionals. Networking events and conferences, such as the Oregon State Bar and the Oregon Pharmacy Association events, provide valuable opportunities to build connections and learn from experts in the field. Accessing these professional resources can greatly benefit students and professionals alike, enhancing their knowledge and career prospects in the criminal justice field.

Criminology Organizations in Oregon

Criminology organizations in Oregon that offer a range of resources and opportunities for students and professionals in the criminal justice field include:

  • Oregon Department of Justice

  • District Attorney/Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP)

  • Oregon Internet Crimes Division

  • University of Oregon

  • Portland State University

  • Oregon Justice Resource Center

  • Partnership for Safety & Justice

  • Criminal Justice Commission

These organizations provide valuable support and guidance.

Membership in these organizations can offer various benefits, including:

  • Networking opportunities

  • Access to guest lecturers and speakers from the criminal justice industry

  • The chance to build credentials and increase job placement success

Joining criminology organizations in Oregon can provide essential resources, networking prospects, and professional growth for individuals in the field.

Networking Opportunities and Events

Networking is a crucial aspect of building a successful career in criminal justice. In Oregon, numerous events and conferences provide opportunities for criminal justice professionals to connect with their peers, learn from experts, and stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the field. Some of these events include:

  • Criminal Justice Careers Day organized by Western Oregon University

  • Criminal Justice Career Fair

  • Oregon State Bar events

  • Oregon Pharmacy Association events

These events offer valuable networking opportunities.

In addition to formal events, informal gatherings and meetups can also be effective for networking and building connections in the criminal justice field. Engaging in these events and opportunities allows students and professionals to expand their networks, share knowledge, and learn from one another, ultimately enhancing their career prospects in the criminal justice field.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Criminal Justice Students in Oregon

Pursuing a criminal justice degree can represent a substantial financial investment. Thankfully, a range of financial aid and scholarship options exist for criminal justice students in Oregon, encompassing grants, loans, and scholarships. Availing financial aid can assist in covering educational costs, enabling students to concentrate on their studies and fulfill their career aspirations.

Grants and loans are available for criminal justice students in Oregon, such as the John R. Justice JRJ Student Loan Repayment Program and alternative student loans. Scholarships, such as the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association Scholarship and the Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation Scholarship, provide financial support for students pursuing degrees in the field. By exploring and utilizing these financial aid options, students can alleviate the financial burden of their education and work towards a successful career in criminal justice.

Grants and Loans for Criminal Justice Students

Grants and loans are essential resources for criminal justice students seeking financial assistance in Oregon. Federal loans, such as unsubsidized loans, and private loans are available for those who meet the eligibility requirements. Students can apply for federal loans by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Private loans, on the other hand, can be obtained through various lenders, such as banks or credit unions, and may require a credit check and higher interest rates.

In addition to loans, grants are available through the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission and the CVSSD E-Grants system. These grants provide financial support for students pursuing criminal justice degrees at institutions like Chemeketa Community College, helping to cover tuition, fees, and other education-related expenses.

By researching and applying for grants and loans, criminal justice students in Oregon can secure the funding necessary to invest in their education and future careers.

Criminal Justice Scholarships in Oregon

Scholarships are another valuable resource for criminal justice students in Oregon. The Oregon State Sheriff’s Association Scholarship and the Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation Scholarship are just two examples of scholarships available to students pursuing criminal justice degrees. These scholarships can provide financial support and ease the burden of tuition, fees, and other education-related expenses.

To apply for criminal justice scholarships in Oregon, students should:

  • Review the individual scholarship requirements and deadlines for each opportunity

  • Research and apply for scholarships to alleviate the financial burden of their education

  • Focus on achieving their career goals in the field

By following these steps, criminal justice students can increase their chances of receiving scholarships and pursue their education without financial stress.

Tips for Choosing the Right Criminal Justice Program in Oregon

When choosing a criminal justice program in Oregon, various factors must be taken into account to guarantee the most suitable match for each student’s needs and career objectives. This involves assessing the accreditation and reputation of the institution, along with the expertise of the faculty teaching in the program.

Accreditation is a crucial factor, as it guarantees that the program meets certain standards of quality and effectiveness. The reputation of a program can also have a significant impact on the career prospects of its graduates. By thoughtfully weighing these factors, students can make knowledgeable decisions about their education and position themselves for success in the criminal justice domain.

Accreditation and Reputation

The significance of accreditation and reputation when selecting a criminal justice program in Oregon cannot be overstated. Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain criteria of excellence and efficacy, which can affect various aspects such as job prospects, transferability of credits, and eligibility for certifications. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is the recognized accrediting body for criminal justice programs in Oregon.

The reputation of a criminal justice program can also shape employers’ perception of the quality of education and training received by graduates. A program with a strong reputation may draw more attention from employers and be perceived as more esteemed, which can improve the graduates’ job prospects.

Conversely, a program with a negative reputation may lead to doubts about the competence and preparedness of its graduates, potentially affecting their job prospects. Evaluating the accreditation and reputation of a criminal justice program is an essential step in making an informed decision about one’s education.

Faculty Expertise and Alumni Success

Faculty expertise plays a critical role in the quality of education provided in a criminal justice program. Professors with significant teaching and work experience in areas such as:

  • Forensic science

  • Corrections and case management

  • Homeland security

  • Other specialized fields within criminal justice

can enrich the individual courses and program offerings. Their expertise helps ensure effective teaching and mentoring of students, thereby providing them with a high-quality education in the field of criminal justice.

Alumni success is another important factor to consider when choosing a criminal justice program in Oregon. Successful alumni can serve as a testament to the quality of the program and the opportunities it provides for graduates. Additionally, alumni connections can provide valuable networking opportunities for current students, further enhancing their career prospects in the criminal justice field.

By considering faculty expertise and alumni success, students can ensure they choose the right criminal justice program to help them achieve their career goals.


In conclusion, the field of criminal justice in Oregon presents a wealth of opportunities for those seeking to make a difference in their communities. By carefully considering factors such as program options, accreditation, reputation, faculty expertise, and alumni success, students can make informed decisions about their education and set themselves on the path to a rewarding career in criminal justice. With the right education, support, and determination, a successful career in criminal justice awaits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Oregon have a criminal justice program?

Yes, Oregon has a range of criminal justice programs at various degree levels, offering specialties in juvenile justice, crime analysis, criminology, and homeland security.

Does University of Oregon offer criminal justice?

Yes, University of Oregon offers criminal justice through its concentration in Crime, Law, and Society, as well as its Criminal Practice concentration and minor program in criminology. These programs are designed to equip students for law school or careers in criminology, law enforcement, social services, prosecution, and more.

Do any Oregon colleges offer a forensic science degree?

Yes, Oregon State University offers a Forensic Science degree for students interested in working in crime labs or pursuing further education.

Does osu have a criminal justice program?

Yes, The Ohio State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Administration through its John Glenn College of Public Affairs and Department of Sociology, as well as majors in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies.

What degree levels are available for criminal justice programs in Oregon?

Oregon offers criminal justice programs at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels, providing a range of educational opportunities.

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