Individuals interested in studying to be a probation officer in New Jersey have a good number of schools from which they may choose to earn an education. Programs applicable to the field include majors such as criminal justice, criminology, and police studies; the majority of NJ schools offer degrees in criminal justice. Such programs lead to the award of associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees and at least one doctoral degree program is offered in the state. Some criminal justice programs include an internship or cooperative work experience.
Atlantic Cape Community College
Located in Mays Landing, Atlantic Cape offers students an associate's degree in criminal justice. The program is designed for students who want to work in the corrections, probation, policing and private security fields. The 66-credit curriculum covers criminal and constitutional law, police operations and organized crime, in addition to general education courses. New Jersey police academy graduates may use their experience in the academy as a substitute for as many as 16 credits of coursework.
Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU)
FDU's Metropolitan campus in Teaneck offers students a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, a joint Bachelor of Arts (BA)/Master of Arts (MA) degree and a minor in criminal justice. Students can also pursue a bachelor's degree in criminology at the school's campus in Madison. FDU's School of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies offers access to several internship opportunities with various government agencies and related organizations. The university's student-run Criminal Justice Club allows students to participate in community-oriented activities, attend professional legal presentations and visit different criminal justice institutions.
The bachelor's degree program requires courses in criminology, research methods and victimology. The 18-credit minor includes some of the same or similar classes. The master's degree program focuses on social order, legal principles, criminology and the role of politics in criminal justice. The joint BA/MA program has special admissions and program requirements beyond those for either standalone degree, and it's meant to provide students with an accelerated path to earning the master's degree.
Lodi-based Felician College has one bachelor's degree and one minor program in criminal justice. The bachelor's program is offered as an interdisciplinary major in connection with the college's social sciences disciplines. The program is designed for students planning to enter law school, a graduate program in criminal justice or the criminal justice career field. All students are required to complete a research methods course and an internship, in addition to core course requirements on courts, corrections and policing. Enrolled students must also choose one of four specialty tracks: corrections, crime and society, police studies and pre-law. Felician's 18-credit minor in criminal justice program includes six courses that must be selected with the advice of an advisor.
Located in Union, Kean University offers prospective students a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in criminal justice. The bachelor's program focuses on criminal law, criminology and victimology. Enrolled students have the opportunity to visit correctional institutions and observe court proceedings and policing activities. Service learning and internship opportunities are also available. The master's degree program teaches students practical, theoretical and scientific concepts and methods for working in virtually any aspect of the criminal justice system. At the end of the 36-credit program, all students must write a thesis or complete a comprehensive examination.
Students at this West Long Branch university can earn a bachelor's or master's degree in criminal justice. Both programs include the option of concentrating in homeland security. Criminal justice courses are taught by experienced faculty members, including lawyers and law enforcement officers. The master's degree program focuses on topics such as criminal psychopathology and psychosocial behaviors. The bachelor's program covers forensic psychology and law enforcement, and an internship is required.
New Jersey City University (NJCU)
Jersey City's NJCU has one master's degree and one bachelor's degree program in criminal justice. Courses are offered in the morning and the evening to accommodate working professionals. Qualified students may enroll in the university's cooperative education program, which provides opportunities to gain real-world experience in professional settings. Coursework includes crime and delinquency, police administration and criminal law.
Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC)
At RVCC in Branchburg, prospective probation officers can earn an associate's degree in criminal justice. Students in this program take courses in criminology, juvenile delinquency, criminal procedures, current social issues and American minority relations. All students have the opportunity to participate in cooperative education courses and gain work experience in any agency related to the criminal justice system. Graduates of the program may transfer to a 4-year university or pursue careers in probation, private security, corrections or law enforcement.
Rutgers University's Newark location has criminal justice program options at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. At the bachelor's level, students can opt to enroll in a standalone bachelor's program, two different accelerated joint bachelor's and master's degree programs and a minor program. Each of these programs has an interdisciplinary approach and includes courses in corrections, business and crime, case processing, cybercrime and organized crime.
The standalone master's degree program consists of 30 credits of coursework, including fieldwork and project seminar courses. The program must be completed within three years. The 60-credit doctoral program focuses on criminological theory, criminal justice policies and research methods. All doctoral students must complete 18 credits of dissertation research, in addition to the program's core coursework and elective classes. Students in any of these programs can take advantage of the technological resources available through the university's Center for Law and Justice.
Seton Hall University (SHU)
South Orange-based SHU offers a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a master's degree in police studies. The bachelor's program offers a broad overview of the criminal justice system that may lead to employment in a variety of law enforcement and corrections careers. Students are also given the opportunity to intern at federal, municipal and state agencies. Course topics include victimology, penology and violent crime.
The master's degree program is designed specifically for New Jersey and New York law enforcement personnel. Most students use the program for career advancement; graduates of the program have also gone on to teach at the university level. The program consists of 36 credits and includes courses related to the human resources aspects of the criminal justice system.
Sussex County Community College
An associate's degree in criminal justice can be earned at this Newton college. Most graduates go on to a 4-year bachelor's degree program, though about half of the program's graduates have found entry-level work in the criminal justice system. The program consists of 64-65 credits of coursework, including general education courses. Courses specific to the degree include juvenile justice, police patrol administration and community corrections. All graduates of the program should be able to describe the basic characteristics of the courts, corrections and the police.
Most probation officer positions require the applicant to hold a bachelor's degree, though individuals may be able to find entry-level work in the correctional system with an associate's degree. The type of education or degree held varies per position and applicant.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, probation officers often hold a degree in criminal justice, psychology or social work. In addition, many of these professionals must complete government-approved training programs. Graduate degrees in criminal justice may help probation officers advance their careers.
The following table covers the largest public and private, non-profit schools in New Jersey that offer criminal justice degree programs for prospective probation officers.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Probation Officer Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Atlantic Cape Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Associate in Science in Criminal Justice|| $4,818 in-district
|Fairleigh Dickinson University||4-year, private, not-for-profit; large suburb|| Minor in Criminal Justice,
BA in Criminal Justice,
BA in Criminology,
BA/MA in Criminal Justice,
MA in Criminal Justice
|Felician College||4-year, private, not-for-profit; large suburb|| Minor in Criminal Justice,
Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice
|Kean University||4-year, public; large suburb|| BA in Criminal Justice,
MA in Criminal Justice
| $12,348 in-state
|Monmouth University||4-year, private, not-for-profit; large suburb|| BA in Criminal Justice,
MA in Criminal Justice
|New Jersey City University||4-year; public; mid-size city||BS in Criminal Justice,
MS in Criminal Justice
| $12,052 in-state
|Raritan Valley Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice|| $4,612 in-district
|Rutgers University||4-year, public; large city|| Minor in Criminal Justice,
BA in Criminal Justice,
BA/MA in Criminal Justice,
BS/MA in Criminal Justice,
MA in Criminal Justice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice
| $14,409 in-state
|Seton Hall University||4-year, private, not-for-profit; large suburb|| BA in Criminal Justice,
MA in Police Graduate Studies
|Sussex County Community College||2-year, public; fringe town||Associate of Science in Criminal Justice|| $6,750 in-district
Source: *NCES College Navigator