Workforce Education » Criminal Justice
Our Criminal Justice Program
Prepares students to successfully pursue careers as entry-level Peace Officers with law enforcement agencies
Careers in Criminal Justice
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 following specialized career fields:
- Criminal Justice (Associate in Arts)
- Criminal Justice (Associate in Technical Arts)
- Crime Scene Investigation (Certificate of Proficiency)
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.
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.
"Expanding opportunities for growth and professional development"
The Criminal Justice program 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.
"A shortage of qualified applicants currently exists in our state"
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.
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. As salaries and benefits continue to improve, it's not uncommon for law enforcement officers to earn salaries in excess of $50,000.00 with three to five years of on-the-job experience.
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.
Guiding Principles and Beliefs
The following statements are historically known as "Peel's Principles of Policing". Their author, Sir Robert Peel, served as British Home Secretary during the 1820's. The office of Home Secretary in Great Britain is generally equivalent to the American constitutional office of Attorney General. Sir Robert Peel presented these principles in his 1829 bill to Parliament, "An Act for Improving the Police in and near the Metropolis." Parliament's passage of this bill resulted in the creation of the first law enforcement agency in modern history, "The London Metropolitan Police."
Sir Robert Peel's principles and beliefs are just as relevant and viable today as when first authored in 1829. The Criminal Justice program incorporates these principles into our curriculum as learning requirements for all of our certificate and degree programs.
- The police represent the law.
- Good appearance commands respect.
- Physical force is used only as a last resort.
- Distribution of crime information is essential.
- The police must be under government control.
- Prevention of crime is the basic mission of the police.
- The police are the public and the public are the police.
- Police officers should be hired on a probationary basis.
- The police must render impartial enforcement of the law.
- Cooperation of the public decreases as the use of force increases.
- Public security demands that every police officer be given a number.
- The police must be stable, efficient and organized along military lines.
- The efficiency of the police should be judged by the absence or presence of crime.
- Police headquarters should be centrally located and easily accessible to the people.
- A perfect command of temper and a quiet, determined manner are indispensable to police officers