B.A. Criminal Justice
Faculty with terminal degree
The criminal justice system is a vital part of our society. The creation and enforcement of laws ensures a safe and fair environment for everyone. The criminal justice system makes sure that criminals are identified, apprehended, judged and punished. There are three main parts of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. Law enforcement officers are the front lines of the criminal justice system. Police officers, detectives and forensic scientists work to deter crime and investigate incidents once they happen. The court system includes judges who oversee trials and juries and attorneys who defend or prosecute those accused of committing crimes. Finally, prison administrators and corrections officers are in charge of monitoring jails and those who are convicted. Each part of the criminal justice system works together to serve and protect people.
A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice will allow you to study and become an expert in the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, courts and corrections. Through the criminal justice program at Concordia Nebraska, you’ll learn to use scientific perspectives and methodologies to examine society’s response to crime in local communities and around the world.
At Concordia University, Nebraska, you will be prepared for a career in criminal justice with skills in writing, communications, and analysis. You’ll learn the ins and outs of law enforcement agencies and how the judicial system works. A dedicated crime scene house located near campus means you’ll be able to experience forensic science first-hand, and train to investigate real-world crime scenes. You’ll also examine the moral and ethical issues that arise when dealing with crime and justice, as well as examining how we can improve the criminal justice system for the future. Here, you’ll receive hands-on learning experiences through criminal justice internships and class projects to help you better understand the careers that a degree in criminal justice can offer you, as well as a deeper understanding of the field of criminal justice and the society in which it functions.
Concordia University, Nebraska’s criminal justice program prepares students to serve in the criminal justice system by providing them with a foundation of the knowledge, principles, ethics and theories necessary to successfully protect and uphold the law at the city, state or federal level.
Meet Dr. Tim Huntington, criminal justice professor. He thinks Concordia's incredible students are what make his classes great. Learn more about Dr. Huntington in this Faculty 5 video.
Concordia NebraskaCriminal Justice: Learning Objectives
Students will be introduced to the history of the American Criminal Justice system and the functions of law enforcement professionals, including criminal investigation, court and corrections procedures.
Students will gain basic knowledge of criminal and civil laws and judicial procedures within the criminal justice system, including federal, state and local laws.
Students will examine the moral codes and ethical decisions involved when working within the criminal justice system.
Students will integrate the knowledge and theory of criminal justice through course work and field experience. Students will be able to observe professionals in the criminal justice field and gain hands-on experience.
Concordia NebraskaCriminal Justice: Program Goals
Students will be able to read, analyze and apply criminal justice texts, laws and cases.
Students will be able to effectively communicate criminal justice-related ideas both orally and in writing.
Students will be prepared to recognize and respond to ethics-related situations encountered by criminal justice professionals.
Students will be prepared to work in the criminal justice field with sensitivity and recognition of cultural and socioeconomic differences.
Criminal Justice Faculty
As experts in criminal justice, our faculty and instructors bring years of experience to the classroom.Meet the faculty
Concordia NebraskaCriminal Justice: FAQs
There are many different areas of specialization in which you can find a career once you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. You may choose to work in law enforcement as a police officer or detective or as a crime scene investigator or forensic scientist. You may also choose to use your criminal justice degree to jump start your career as an attorney. Another option is to work in a correctional facility as a correctional or parole officer or prison warden.
There are also opportunities with a criminal justice degree to focus on a specialized field of study or concentration. You could choose to work in computer forensics, for instance, or counterterrorism. Or perhaps a career in criminal psychology or emergency management sounds like a better fit for you. Whatever your chosen area of specialization within the criminal justice sphere, you will be working to protect and serve ordinary citizens and keep them safe from crime.
At Concordia University, Nebraska, there are many local criminal justice internships available. Our students have interned with the Seward Police Department and Seward County Court system. Concordia students are also in high demand as interns for nearby Lancaster County law enforcement agencies and have worked at the Nebraska State Penitentiary and the Nebraska Department of Corrections’ Diagnostic and Evaluation Center.
Criminal justice offers many varied options for careers that are both challenging and rewarding. It may be that you’re interested in the way the justice system works or why criminals behave the way they do. It may be that you want to help rehabilitate those who have been incarcerated, to help them lead full lives. Maybe you enjoy puzzles and want to work solving crimes. If you have a passion for helping people and want to uphold and enforce laws, then a career in criminal justice may be the right choice for you.
Many careers in criminal justice require only a bachelor’s degree. However, as the field of criminal justice grows, and competition becomes fiercer, earning a master’s degree in criminal justice may help you stand out and advance your career.
If you plan to become an attorney or judge or find another vocation in criminal law, you will have to continue your education in law school. A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Concordia University, Nebraska prepares you with the knowledge and experience you need to continue on to a graduate or law degree, should you decide to.
The salary for a career in criminal justice depends on the area you choose to focus on. Correctional officers make an average annual salary of $42,820. Police officers and law enforcement agents average $61,600, while private investigators make $48,190. A forensic psychologist’s average salary is $75,230, while forensic science technicians average $56,750. If you’re more interested in criminal law or the legal profession, paralegals and legal secretaries average $49,500 annually, while criminal lawyers can average as much as $118,160 per year.
Concordia Nebraska Criminal Justice: Career Outcomes
As a correctional officer, you will use your criminal justice degree to oversee individuals who have been arrested and are serving time in jail or prisons. You will enforce rules and keep order, maintaining security by settling disputes between inmates and preventing disturbances, as well as aiding in the rehabilitation of offenders.
Forensic scientist said criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence at crime scenes and in laboratories. As a forensic scientist, you will combine your knowledge of natural sciences and the criminal justice system to help solve crimes as part of local law enforcement units or with a federal agency such as the FBI. You may choose to specialize in a certain area of forensics like ballistics, trace evidence or DNA analysis.
As a police officer, you would be charged with protecting and serving the citizens in your county, region or city. You would enforce the law by arresting criminals and preventing crimes, using your knowledge of the criminal justice system. Police officers are the first line of defense to keep people safe.
Paralegals perform legal work to assist lawyers. As a paralegal, you might be responsible for maintaining and organizing files, drafting documents or conducting legal research and investigations. You might also assist a lawyer during trials or collect evidence to be used in court. Most paralegals work within the criminal justice system for law firms, government agencies or corporate legal departments.
As a criminal law attorney, you would use your knowledge of the criminal justice system to advocate for, advise and counsel the clients you represent. You might also appear in court to represent your client in criminal court proceedings. You would also be responsible for researching and preparing cases, collecting evidence and analyzing laws.
Concordia NebraskaCriminal Justice: Related Programs
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1 Recent graduates attending graduate school or employed within six months of graduation.
2 Career salary and wages sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.