Pursuing a degree in law enforcement opens up a number of opportunities. It’s possible to work for various law enforcement agencies at the county, state, and federal level. Colleges and universities across the country offer diverse programs for you to choose from. As you explore the various specialties, you can determine the kind of career you want to have in law enforcement.
Programs to Explore for Law Enforcement
When you decide that you want to study law enforcement, there are various programs of study. Many leadership positions will require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree – and you may want to consider a master’s degree, too. Areas of study include:
- Forensic science
- Law enforcement administration
- Homeland security
- Emergency management
Career Opportunities in Law Enforcement
The career opportunities that exist are based on the education that you have as well as your area of expertise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies that police and detectives earn a median salary of $65,170. Should you wish to go into forensic science or even become a probation officer, there are various other opportunities that exist. You may even wish to go into the FBI or CIA where you can increase your salary considerably as you take on new responsibilities.
Top Schools for a Law Enforcement Degree
We’ve identified the top 20 schools that offer a law enforcement degree in one form or another. Some courses are offered online while others may be provided online or in a hybrid format. We’ve ranked the schools based on those with the most affordable tuition as well as those with high enrollment numbers receiving the highest positions. As you explore the schools, look to see how the programs can help you achieve your career goals.
Best 16 Law Enforcement Degree Programs
1. Florida State University
Florida State University offers an array of law enforcement programs at their Panama City campus. Analytic and hands-on exercises are provided to students – and there are plenty of online courses as well. Undergraduate and graduate programs are available, making it possible to find the courses that work best. Some of the programs offered in law enforcement include crime scene investigation, law enforcement intelligence, and law enforcement operations. A significant amount of fieldwork is offered within the programs, too, making it easier to gain practical experience.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $5656
- Enrollment Total: 32,812
2. Florida Atlantic University
The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University is a great way to explore different programs. There are programs offered across the different campuses, including Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and Jupiter. Many of the courses are also offered online. It’s possible to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, a Master of Science in Criminology & Criminal Justice, as well as a combined degree program.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $4879
- Enrollment Total: 30,377
3. Southeast Missouri State University
It is possible to major in criminal justice with one of three options at Southeast Missouri State University. Students can choose law enforcement, corrections, or criminology. Various tracks are offered so that students are prepared to enter private security as well as positions at local and federal levels. Students will learn from faculty with extensive professional backgrounds, be exposed to internship opportunities, and learn about written and oral forms of communication. Additionally, the courses will offer both theory and practice.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $7800
- Enrollment Total: 11,978
4. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater offers a Law Enforcement Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program. This is a way for law enforcement officers to enhance their careers once they have already earned an associate degree. The online degree program in criminology is one of the best in the country – and the cost is significantly lower than many others. Credit for prior learning is given. Students will also have access to online learning, independent learning, and face-to-face classes that are offered at convenient times. Most students will have the ability to earn their degree in approximately three years.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $7734
- Enrollment Total: 11,020
5. Baker College
It’s possible to earn an array of degrees from Baker College. There’s both an AA and a BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Law Enforcement & Police Academy. Students will engage in a vigorous training program to learn alongside veteran law officers. A significant amount of learning is hands-on with an education that focuses on such things as psychology, cybercrime, evidence collection, and the principles of policing. Class sizes are kept small to offer more one-on-one guidance. Upon graduation, students will be certified as a police officer – and have a degree to help work for top agencies around the country.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $10,080
- Enrollment Total: 35,000
6. Eastern Kentucky University
The College of Justice and Safety at Eastern Kentucky University offers a program in Police Studies. There are on-campus and online degree programs in order to obtain an AA or a BS. The four-year program is the only one in Kentucky of its kind – and there’s a 40-year reputation of teaching students about law enforcement and community service. Areas of expertise within the program include police liability, property crime, environmental crimes, and more. Independent study and internship opportunities are available across the campus, too.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $9876
- Enrollment Total: 15,816
7. North Carolina Central University
Students at North Carolina Central University can earn a BS in Criminal Justice. This includes the ability to choose from such concentrations as law enforcement, juvenile justice, and corrections. Students will learn in a traditional environment while also being able to explore field settings through internships and independent study. While the courses are taken across four years, the senior year is abbreviated with the only course being a senior seminar.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $6534
- Enrollment Total: 8096
8. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
A Bachelor of Arts can be obtained at the Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Criminal Justice Students will complete a total of 120 credit hours. During their time, it is possible to take courses in psychology, sociology, and political science. Each year, a Job Fair is offered on the campus where students can meet with representatives from top criminal justice agencies in the country. Students can choose to take the courses online or at the campus. Students have a strict schedule to follow in order to complete the degree in four years – and choose electives to diversify their education.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $8768
- Enrollment Total: 9002
9. State University of New York-Canton
The State University of New York-Canton offers a few programs for those interested in criminal justice. Students can explore a B. Tech in Criminal Investigation, Criminal Justice (Law Enforcement Leadership), or Legal Studies. The programs are offered online, making it possible for students to study in a more convenient manner. SUNY-Canton offers a number of internships along with graduate study for those who are interested. Students can enroll in the program if they wish to become a ranking police officer as well as if they are already a police officer but want to explore promotion opportunities.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $8650
- Enrollment Total: 3800
10. Park University
Park University, located in Park, Missouri, offers a few programs in law enforcement. There’s both an AS and a BA program for criminal justice. Those who want to pursue a BA can concentrate in corrections, law enforcement, or security. It is also possible to seek out a BS with the same concentrations. The faculty covers a broad spectrum of professionals. There are various resources to help students get hands-on experience. Internships can also make it possible to see careers in such positions as police officers, crime analysts, and federal agents.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $11,190
- Enrollment Total: 9546
11. Bemidji State University
Bemidji State University in Minnesota offers academic programs within the Department of Criminal Justice: Police Science and Leadership. There are two undergraduate tracks including a BS in Criminal Justice and a BS in Criminal Justice (online). The emphases that are available include corrections, law enforcement, victimology, and tribal justice. Those that choose the law enforcement track will be able to meet the Minnesota Peace Office Standards and Training board requirements upon graduation. A Skills Program must also be met in order to meet the skills requirements that are also required by the board.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $8940
- Enrollment Total: 5120
12. Saint Leo University
Students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University, located in Tampa, Florida. The private school offers a diverse selection of courses that include Criminal Procedure, Police Organization and Administration, Introduction to Homeland Defense, and Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. Faculty members are professionals that work in the field, making it possible to learn from such individuals as FBI advisors and police chiefs. St. Leo is also approved by the FBI National Academy Associates as an educational partner. Additionally, the university has been ranked as one of the most military-friendly universities.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $23,750
- Enrollment Total: 11,808
13. Lindenwood University
Lindenwood University offers a BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Traditional and online courses are available within the program. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the police, courts, and other aspects of the criminal justice system. One of the more exciting aspects is a Partnership with St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy. There are also plenty of internship opportunities in order to get hands-on experience and listen to professional speakers. The BA is earned with 51 credit hours – and a concentration is also available in law enforcement with a police academy option.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $18,100
- Enrollment Total: 8697
14. Texas College
In Tyler, Texas, Texas College offers a degree in Criminal Justice. Students can learn more about the criminal justice system as well as its agencies . The degree plan includes 125 credit hours, which includes social science electives, courses in American Crime and Criminology, and more. Students are prepared for a liberal arts focus in criminal justice with the ability to pursue graduate programs or immediately seek careers in local, state, and federal levels of law enforcement. Texas College also offers many of the courses online to offer convenience to students who are already working professionally.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $10,000
- Enrollment Total: 972
15. Citadel Military College of South Carolina
The Department of Criminal Justice at the Citadel Military College of South Carolina offers incredible opportunities. The criminal justice program is one of the largest programs offered at the school. Students can choose to take the courses at the Charleston campus or engage in a 100% online program. There is both a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts in Social Science. Students will be able to engage in real world experience. Additionally, the school offers travel opportunities, student clubs, access to conferences and guest speakers, and more to offer a well-rounded education.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $12,620
- Enrollment Total: 3506
16. Morris College
Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina offers a major in Criminal Justice. Students can choose to branch out into such areas as law enforcement, forensic science, and juvenile delinquency with the various courses that are offered. The school offers an array of degree programs, which means that it’s also possible to minor in such things as criminal justice or criminal forensics studies. Students within the program will learn about the criminal justice system, be able to apply concepts used in criminal justice, and have the knowledge needed to work in private and public sectors.
- Tuition Cost per Year: $14,326
- Enrollment Total: 1020
Law Enforcement Degree Program Ranking Methodology
The schools are ranked by not only the cost of tuition but also the attendance levels. Schools with the lower cost of tuition are given a higher rank. Further, schools with high attendance levels are given a higher rank. The individual ranks of each category are, then, added up to help identify the top schools in order for achieving a law enforcement degree.
The tuition that is used for the ranking is for a bachelor’s degree. When applicable, in-state tuition is used to obtain the rate. Further, only the cost of tuition and fees are included in the costs – books and housing is not factored in.
If you work for one of the schools listed and notice an error in our ranking data, please contact us. We wish to use all of the most accurate data when ranking the schools.
As you search for the right online degree program, allow us to help you find a college or university that works for you.