Probation Officer Training in San Diego with School Descriptions

There are several schools in and near San Diego, California, providing degree programs that train individuals to work as probation officers. To make an informed education decision, learn about the program requirements at three colleges located within 30 miles of the downtown area.

San Diego Probation Officer Schools

Job postings for correctional deputy probation officers (level I) posted by the County of San Diego require only that candidates possess a high school diploma or GED. These officers typically perform basic monitoring and record-keeping tasks. However, the position of deputy probation officer with the county requires a bachelor's degree and work experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most probation officer positions require at least a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field, such as sociology (www.bls.gov).

For those interested in training for this career in the San Diego area, there are many options available. The focus of this article is on the coursework requirements at three institutions. A table is provided that covers statistics and facts for each of these schools, and some details on alternative college options are included as well.

  • Located about ten miles from the city's center, San Diego State University offers one bachelor's and two master's degree programs focusing on criminal justice. The university's bachelor's degree program prepares students to work in the field of probation after graduation, while the graduate programs prepare students for leadership positions in criminal justice.
  • National University has multiple campuses in the vicinity of San Diego, including the primary location in La Jolla that's 16 miles away from downtown. The Carlsbad campus is about 30 miles away while the South Bay location is just nine miles from central San Diego; about 10 miles from the city's downtown is the Spectrum Business Park campus. This university has bachelor's and master's degree programs in criminal justice.
  • The University of San Diego, which is situated about seven miles from the center of San Diego, offers a sociology bachelor's degree with a concentration in crime, justice and law and society. This program is designed for students interested in careers in law or criminal justice.

Comparison of Schools

Take a glance at this table to learn more about each of the profiled schools. There's information on campus environments, student enrollment numbers, acceptance rates and costs, among other facts.

San Diego State University National University University of San Diego
School Type 4-year, public* 4-year, private not-for-profit* 4-year, private not-for-profit*
Total Enrollment (Fall 2017) 35,158* 17,097* 8,905*
Campus Setting Large city* Large city* Large city*
Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2017-2018) $7,460 for in-state and $19,340 for out-of-state students* $13,016* $47,708*
Percentage of First-Year Undergraduate Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 59%* 52%* 85%*
Acceptance Rate (Fall 2017) 35%* Open admissions* 50%*
Undergraduate Retention Rate (2017) 89% for full-time students* 57% for full-time students* 90% for full-time students*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (for students beginning in 2011-2012) 74%* 42%* 82%*

Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics

San Diego State University

This university's criminal justice-related programs are offered through its School of Public Affairs.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Students in this 120-unit program complete coursework and a practicum. The practicum may consist of an internship, service learning project or study abroad experience. Required classes cover topics like criminal justice and social control, law in society and criminal justice research planning. Elective classes are available in criminal law, political violence, homicide in America and abnormal psychology.

Master of Criminal Justice and Criminology

This 33-credit hour program requires approximately two years of full-time study. Classes in the program focus on subjects like criminology and criminal justice theory, the administration of criminal justice and youth violence. Prior to graduation, students must either write a thesis or pass a comprehensive exam.

Master of Public Administration with a Concentration in Criminal Justice Administration

This program consists of 36 units of upper-division coursework, an internship and either a thesis or comprehensive exam; depending on their background experience, some students may have their internship requirement waived. Core classes cover topics like fiscal and budgetary policy, issues in public administration and administrative behavior. Seminars in the concentration focus on issues such as community and restorative justice, urban administration and comparative criminal justice systems.

National University

In total, National University operates 45 campuses located throughout the United States. However, the university offers criminal justice programs on three campuses near San Diego as well as online. The school's criminal justice administration programs are offered through its School of Professional Studies.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration

Required classes in this 76.5-quarter unit program cover topics like criminology, juvenile offenders, corrections and the principles of investigation. Students in the program must also complete a senior project and may elect to participate in a practicum during their studies. The program is offered online as well as at the university's Carlsbad and South Bay campuses.

This program is also offered as a transition program in which students may begin to take graduate-level courses while working towards completing bachelor's degree program requirements. Three transition programs are available: a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration with a Master of Criminal Justice, a Master of Forensic Science or a Master of Public Administration degree. Students participating in any of these three programs may be able to complete two fewer classes to earn a master's degree.

Master of Criminal Justice

Graduates of this 12-course program are prepared for administrative or leadership positions in criminal justice. The program's curriculum includes classes covering topics such as legal issues in criminal justice, advanced criminological theory and professional ethics in criminal justice. It is available on the school's Spectrum Business Park Campus in San Diego, the South Bay campus in nearby Chula Vista and online.

University of San Diego

The University of San Diego's bachelor's degree program in sociology is offered through its Department of Sociology, a component of its College of Arts and Sciences.

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a Concentration in Crime, Justice and Law and Society

Students in this program must complete 39 course credit hours in the major. Classes in the major cover topics like community, urbanization and culture, power and inequality and classical sociological theories. Classes in the concentration include crime as entertainment, criminology, social deviance, corrections and social control.

Other School Options

Situated approximately 14 miles from downtown San Diego, The University of California - San Diego offers a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degree with a concentration in law and society. This program prepares students for diplomatic work, social work or a career in business.

Southwestern College, which is located about 13 miles from the center of San Diego, offers Associate in Arts in Criminal Justice, Associate of Science in Administration of Justice with an emphasis on corrections and Certificate of Achievement in Administration of Justice with an emphasis on corrections programs. The Associate in Arts program is designed for students intending to transfer to a 4-year school.

Grossmont College offers an associate's degree program in administration of justice. The college also offers a corrections officer training course that lasts 14 weeks and prepares graduates to work in probation institutions, jails and correctional facilities. The college is located about 15 miles from downtown San Diego.

Also located about 15 miles from the center of San Diego, San Diego Miramar College offers an Associate in Science degree in administration of justice with a correctional technologies major. Students in this program will be eligible to seek employment at law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities or in the court system.


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