Top Ranked Criminal Justice Degree Program - Bakersfield, CA

School and Ranking Information

Although there are only a few schools in the Bakersfield area with programs in criminal justice, they include both 2-year and 4-year institutions, as well as both public and private not-for-profit schools. The following schools are considered the top three based on rankings, tuition and number of degrees awarded in the field:

  • Winner: California State University in Bakersfield secures first place for its top-40 ranking for public schools in the West by U.S. News & World Report and total number of degrees awarded in the field.
  • Runner Up #1: San Joaquin Valley College, located in Bakersfield, secures the first runner up spot due to the criminal justice program's graduation rate and the percentage of graduates who find employment in the field.
  • Runner Up #2: Bakersfield College in Bakersfield is in third place for its low tuition rates and the available corrections administration option.

School Comparison Chart

Category California State University - Bakersfield San Joaquin Valley College - Bakersfield Bakersfield College
Ranking Ranked 38th top public school** N/A N/A
Location Bakersfield, CA Bakersfield, CA Bakersfield, CA
School Type 4-year, public 2-year, private-for-profit 2-year, public
Tuition (2013) $6,709 (undergraduate, in-state)
$18,367 (undergraduate, out-of-state)*
$16,290 (undergraduate in-state and out-of-state)* $1,324 (undergraduate, in-state)
$7,484 (undergraduate, out-of-state)*
Criminal Justice Programs Offered Bachelor's degree Associate's degree Associate's degree
Criminal Justice Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 113* 51* 37*
Most Popular Criminal Justice Program (2012) Bachelor's in Criminal Justice (113 degrees awarded)* Associate's in Criminal Justice/Corrections (34 degrees awarded)* Associate's in Criminal Justice (33 degrees awarded)*
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) 41% for 2005 entering class* 56% for 2008 entering class* 19% for 2008 entering class*
Noteworthy The Criminal Justice Department has internship placement agreements with the Bakersfield Police Department, Kern County Probation Department, and Child Protective Services Graduates can go immediately into careers in corrections or loss prevention One of the oldest community colleges in the U.S. The college was founded in 1913.

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **U.S. News & World Report.

Winner: California State University - Bakersfield

  • Students in the Criminal Justice Club can interact with the Sheriffs' Department and local programs, such as the Officer Down Program, a gang prevention program, and Domestic Violence Awareness.
  • NCES reported that the retention rate was 71% for full-time students who began their studies in Fall 2010 and returned in Fall 2011
  • The college offers a chapter of the criminal justice honor society known as Alpha Phi Sigma-Zeta Iota

There are 13 faculty members who are part of the Criminal Justice Department at California State - Bakersfield. It takes 180 units to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in this major. Some of the courses that are part of the curriculum include statistical methods, forensic science, ethics, research methods, and policymaking. Students also participate in a senior seminar and can pursue cooperative education options. Students who graduate from the program are prepared for careers in prison construction, security, drug testing, and community supervision of offenders. The criminal justice program also prepares students for opportunities in law school, social work, public administration, and research.

Runner-Up #1: San Joaquin Valley College - Bakersfield

  • For students who earn their associate's degree in criminal justice at the college, 74% of graduates are placed into a career revolving around criminal justice.
  • In 2011-2012, 97% of full-time beginning undergraduate students received a form of financial aid, according to NCES
  • The on-time graduation rate for students in the criminal justice program was 71% in 2012, the school reported

Students who participate in the Criminal Justice: Corrections program at San Joaquin Community College will learn about firearms, arrest and control techniques, weaponless defense methods, CPR, and first aid. Students who fulfill requirements for the adult corrections officer course can earn STC certification. Graduates can also earn PC 832 Laws of Arrest and Firearms certification and Armed Security Guard Certification. In particular, students will get instruction in criminal law, evidence collection and preservation, criminal procedures, and report writing. Students can expect to get physical agility training while in the program. It takes a total of 68 credit hours to complete the associate's degree program. An emergency services and safety management program that prepares students for careers in campus security and loss prevention is also available.

Runner-Up #2: Bakersfield College

  • Lowest tuition rates of the top three schools
  • Virtual Career Center offers career assessment and job search skills training
  • During the 2011-2012 school year, 11,503 undergraduate students (65% of undergraduates)were awarded a grant or scholarship, according to the NCES

The Associate in Arts in Criminal Justice program prepares students for careers in law enforcement, policing, and private corrections. Students complete 24 units of required courses as well as six units of electives to earn the criminal justice degree. Required courses include administration of justice, criminal law, evidence, criminal procedure, legal and scientific evidence aspects, and special topics. When it comes to electives, community relations, criminal investigation, juvenile procedures, organized crime, probation, and report writing are available to fulfill the requirements. A correctional administration program is also offered at Bakersfield College.

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