In terms of population, the state of Texas ranks second in the United States. When it comes to geographical size, Texas is the largest state in the continental U.S.A. Given the immensity of the state, there is a great need for people to work in the field of criminal justice in Texas to keep order, protect citizens, adjudicate criminals, and much more.
Criminal justice colleges in Texas provide training for many of those who work in the Texas criminal justice system. This is true at the certificate level, undergraduate level, and graduate level. What are colleges for criminal justice in Texas like, and what should you consider when you are evaluating Texas criminal justice schools and programs? This guide is designed to help answer these important questions.
Texas Criminal Justice Programs and Schools
As in every U.S. state, a Texas education in criminal justice is provided by traditional colleges and universities, vocational schools, police academies, online institutions, and more. Many of these schools and programs provide all of the training that a student needs to get started in a criminal justice career. Other students need to complete a degree or certificate and then move on to a program either at their original school or elsewhere to complete their training. Police officers, for example, need to attend police academy to become a police officer whether or not they have earned an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. Similarly, colleges in Texas for criminal justice cannot provide all the training a lawyer requires; rather, aspiring lawyers must go to law school after completing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or another subject.
Criminal justice schools in Texas often exist within larger four-year universities in the state. Some private and public universities only have departments of criminal justice, not individual schools or colleges. Either way, accreditation is usually granted through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to the entire institution. That means that any degree from the larger institution is likewise accredited, including the degrees offered in the field of criminal justice. Other criminal justice colleges in Texas may be accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges, the Distance Education and Training Council, Accrediting Commission, or other accrediting body.
As far as the educational quality of criminal justice schools, Texas students should always choose an institution or program that has been accredited by a recognized body. This will help students be sure that they are getting a quality education and not simply giving their money to a degree mill.
Criminal Justice Colleges in Texas: Required Courses
Although there are many colleges in Texas for criminal justice, the actual sequence of required courses does not vary much from institution to institution. Bachelor programs in criminal justice, of course, require students to complete a series of general knowledge courses in English, mathematics, the sciences, and other subjects. Criminal justice majors at the undergraduate level take an additional series of courses in criminal justice, usually two-years’ worth of focused study in the discipline. This is true of all the colleges in Texas for criminal justice. Each program has its own requirements, but the following list of required criminal justice courses taken from Texas State University is representative of most colleges for criminal justice in Texas:
• Introduction to Criminal Justice
• Police Systems and Practices
• The Courts and Criminal Procedure
• Correctional Systems and Practices
• Fundamentals of Criminal Law
• Various Criminal Justice Electives
As far as graduate criminal justice programs and criminal justice schools, Texas students will concentrate their studies in one focused area of the discipline. Students will be required to make an original contribution to the field if they are in a graduate program, particularly if they are in a doctoral program. This original contribution is made through a master’s thesis, doctoral dissertation, or other major project.
• Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree
• Criminal Justice Schools
Careers for Texas Criminal Justice Graduates
Students who graduate from one of the accredited colleges for criminal justice in Texas are eligible for jobs in the different areas of the criminal justice system. This includes positions within the Texas Ranger Division, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Texas Court System, U.S. Border Patrol and much more. Due to the rapid growth of Texas’ population, demand continues to grow for qualified persons to fill jobs in these agencies and many others. This means that an accredited Texas criminal justice degree can be a path to career fulfillment, especially as criminal justice graduates do great public service in the course of their work.