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Workforce Education » Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

The Industry

"A shortage of qualified applicants currently exists in our state"
Even though this industry is expected to grow just 7% by the year 2020, those working in the criminal justice industry are, and will continue to be in high demand. According to a recent article in the "New York Times", the number of new applicants seeking employment in law enforcement and corrections is down by 50% nationwide. Many law enforcement agencies and correctional institutions are currently experiencing a severe shortage of "qualified applicants" to fill existing positions. These same agencies and institutions are actively engaged in an ongoing recruiting and hiring process throughout the state of Washington and the United States. This means the demand for qualified personnel with academic backgrounds in criminal justice will only continue to grow. As salaries and benefits continue to improve, it's not uncommon for law enforcement officers to earn annual salaries in excess of $50,000 with three to five years of on-the-job experience.

Our Criminal Justice Program

Prepares students to successfully pursue careers as entry-level officers with law enforcement

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Our Program

The Criminal Justice program will ensure you have the "cutting-edge" academic, communication and problem-solving skills essential for building a career in this exciting field. In addition, Centralia College frequently sponsors criminal justice career fairs and a "Crime & Justice in America Lecture Series" that's designed to promote the availability of our students to fill these personnel shortages.

The Criminal Justice program currently offers an Associate of Technical Arts degree in Criminal Justice. This degree is designed to prepare our students to successfully pursue careers as entry-level Peace Officers with municipal, county or state law enforcement agencies. In addition, our program offers students the opportunity to earn "Certificates of Completion or Proficiency" in the specialized career fields.

Our Mission

The Mission of the Centralia College Criminal Justice program is to provide our students with the highest quality criminal justice education available anywhere, an education that emphasizes and instills in students a genuine spirit of personal integrity, professional ethics, public service, moral courage, honesty and devotion to duty.

Careers in Criminal Justice

Peace Officers—"A prestigious and rewarding career in public service"

The Criminal Justice degree is designed to meet the academic needs of both working professionals and traditional students alike. Our curriculum is designed to academically prepare our students for careers as peace officers with local or state law enforcement agencies or correctional institutions. Centralia College offers a wide variety of schedules, formats and criminal justice courses that are specifically designed to prepare you for a prestigious and rewarding career in public service.

Working Professionals—"Expanding opportunities for growth and professional development"

The Criminal Justice program at Centralia College is also designed to enhance the skills and abilities of working professionals. These enhanced skills and abilities are especially beneficial for promotional examinations or when competing for lateral assignments to specialized units. Therefore, whether your goal is an entry-level position, a promotion or lateral assignment, a Criminal Justice degree from Centralia College will expand your career opportunities for personal growth and professional development.

Occupational Outlook, Job & Salary Statistics

For statistics on criminal justice occupations, see:

Important notice to students: Individuals with prior or pending felony, misdemeanor or domestic violence charges or convictions, and those persons with a history of serious or repeated traffic convictions may be ineligible for employment opportunities in the criminal justice field. If you have any infractions, please consult with an attorney prior to entering this program.

Pursue careers as peace officers for law enforcement agencies...


Greg Gilbertson
Greg Gilbertson

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Tadd Belden
Tadd Belden
Associate Professor

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Criminal Justice Program Guide
Download Program Guide PDF