Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Oregon

The Oregon Blue Book reports that recent years of job growth helped Oregon become one of the leading states in terms of decreased unemployment and improved job opportunities. Over the past three decades, Oregon transitioned from an economy that was resource-based to one focused more on mixed manufacturing and marketing, with an emphasis on high technology.

Oregon transitioned from an economy that was resource-based to one focused more on mixed manufacturing and marketing, with an emphasis on high technology

The three counties around Portland benefited the most from high technology development; more rural counties did not witness much change. As one of the most trade-dependent states in the U.S., Oregon’s main trading partners are South Korea, Japan, China, Malaysia, and Canada. The aging generation of baby boomers is creating a demand for workers, but also for more healthcare and leisure services.

Earning a criminal justice degree in Oregon offers an exciting opportunity to those interested in law-related careers. For those seeking an online criminal justice degree, Oregon provides many options in different settings.

Earning an Online Criminal Justice Degree in Oregon

Earning an online criminal justice degree offers several benefits to individuals seeking to further their education and increase the competitiveness in the job market. Online programs usually cost less than their on-campus counterparts, making online degrees more cost-effective. When students complete degrees online, they eliminate costs such as transportation and on-campus housing and dining.

Some online programs may be taken at a student’s own pace, so they can customize their workload based on their available time and ability

Many universities conduct online classes asynchronously, so students may complete coursework on their own schedules. This provides more flexibility for learners with work and family obligations. Some online programs may be taken at a student’s own pace, so they can customize their workload based on their available time and ability. This allows students to complete more than the recommended amount of credits per quarter and graduate at an accelerated pace.

The option to attend classes and complete related work remotely from home provides convenience to students and cuts out some of the ingrained ableism of traditional academia, allowing for students with conditions that limit their mobility to break through these barriers.

Accredited Criminal Justice Programs in Oregon

It’s important to check a school’s accreditation status when researching criminal justice programs. Accreditation may influence various factors, such as whether other schools will accept your credits, financial aid, and whether employers will deem your degree credible. The main regional accrediting agency for colleges in Oregon is the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. This region includes Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Washington, Montana, and Canada. The NWCCU represents one of six accrediting agencies in the U.S., as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Credits earned through regionally accredited universities are more easily transferred.

National accreditation is typically earned by vocational and for-profit schools. Credits earned at nationally accredited institutions are not as widely accepted. Specialized or programmatic accreditors award accreditation to programs, schools, or departments within larger universities, which are typically also accredited either regionally or nationally. For more information, students may search through the ED’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.

Education and Training Requirements for Criminal Justice Professionals in Oregon

Earning an Oregon online criminal justice degree qualifies you for several career tracks, depending on the level of education and experience required and attained. An associate degree meets the minimum employment requirement to become a police officer, legal assistant, campus security officer, probation officer, corrections officer, and crime statistics analyst. However, some positions require a bachelor’s or master’s degree, which is why it’s important to choose the best bachelor’s in criminal justice programs or the best master’s in criminal justice programs.

Many criminal justice jobs in Oregon require additional training. Police officers in Oregon must complete a 16-week basic police academy training program, five months of field training, and a four- to six-week supplementary program.

Licensing, Registration, and Certification Requirements in Oregon

Many criminal justice jobs require employees to hold relevant licensure for the state in which they work; however, licensure requirements vary by position and state. For example, security guards and other personnel who carry weapons must typically be registered by the appropriate government authority. This may include training, a background check, and a minimum age requirement. Generally speaking, armed guards must pass more strenuous testing than unarmed guards. The majority of security guard and surveillance positions only require a high school diploma or equivalent; however, most security jobs require applicants to be registered with the state. Officers may also need experience with security and video surveillance.

To become a private investigator in Oregon, applicants must be a U.S. citizen with 1,500 hours of investigative work or 500 hours of education as a substitution

Some specific criminal justice professionals must obtain special certifications relevant to their careers. License requirements for public investigators vary by state and can be found here. To become a private investigator in Oregon, applicants must be a U.S. citizen with 1,500 hours of investigative work or 500 hours of education as a substitution.

Licensing and certification may sound similar, but the terms carry different meanings. Licensing involves states granting legal authority to practice a profession within the designated bounds of application. Certification usually implies a more voluntary process, but jobs may require particular certifications. Private companies often provide the certification. Some licenses and certifications carry multi-state provisions, while others require applicants to obtain each license or certification for the state in which they plan to practice. Since licensing regulations change regularly, job seekers should verify requirements for the locality in which they plan to work.

Career and Salary Expectations

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean hourly wage for all occupations is $24.52. Specifically for protective service occupations, the mean hourly wage in Oregon is $24.28 and the annual mean wage is $50,500. The national estimated hourly wage for protective services occupations is $22.69, and the annual mean wage is $47,190, placing Oregon slightly above the national average on both counts. Protective service occupations employ 33,390 people in Oregon. Legal occupations employ 12,230 people. For legal occupations in Oregon, the mean hourly wage is $43.62, and the annual mean wage is $90,720.

The tables below break down the employment, average hourly wage, and average annual wage for protective services occupations, court and corrections occupations, and other criminal justice occupations in Oregon.

Protective Services Occupations in Oregon

OccupationEmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage annual Wage
Fire Inspectors and Investigators120$41.78$86,910
Detectives and Criminal Investigators540$44.49$92,550
Fish and Game Wardens30$24.17$50,260
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol OfficersN/A$32.95$68,530
Private Detectives and Investigators420$24.48$50,930
Security Guards8,630$13.93$28,980
Source: BLS, May 2017

Court and Corrections Occupations in Oregon

OccupationEmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage annual Wage
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists1,680$29.03$60,380
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates370$61.80$128,540
Paralegals and Legal Assistants3,630$25.49$53,010
Court ReportersN/A$28.16$58,580
Correctional Officers and Jailers4,200$27.78$57,790
Source: BLS, May 2017

Other Criminal Justice Occupations in Oregon

OccupationEmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage annual Wage
Forensic Science Technicians210$32.51$67,610
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers50N/A$64,280
Source: BLS, May 2017

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Many scholarships exist to benefit those pursuing criminal justice degrees in Oregon. The following represents a sample of some of the scholarships available to criminal justice students and Oregon residents.

Criminal Justice Scholarships

Brian Terry Foundation Scholarship Program Varies

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate degree and either be accepted or attending college. Additionally, winners must intend to study criminal justice or a related field. View Scholarship

Alpha Phi Sigma Undergraduate Best Paper Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: Applicants must write a paper on a contemporary issue in criminal justice. All applicants must be current members of Alpha Phi Sigma and enrolled in a program. View Scholarship

My Alarm Center Student Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must submit an essay on one of the provided topics; be a graduating high school senior or college freshman or sophomore; and studying law enforcement, criminal justice, law, or a related field. View Scholarship

Crimcheck Criminal Justice Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be a high school senior, recent graduate, or enrolled in a postsecondary school or otherwise be pursuing a degree in criminal justice or a related field. Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and submit a one- to two-page essay focusing on their goals and ambitions in the criminal justice field. View Scholarship

Ruth D. Peterson Fellowship for Racial and Ethnic Diversity $6,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be from a racial or ethnic group that is underrepresented in criminal justice and related fields; have been accepted to a program of doctoral studies in criminal justice or a related field; and must submit a letter of intent, personal statement, CV, and three letters of recommendation. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Oregon Residents

Oregon Opportunity Grant $3,200

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate students enrolled taking least six credits at a participating postsecondary institution in Oregon who demonstrate financial need and have no defaults on federal loans. View Scholarship

Beat the Odds Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in Oregon public high schools with at least a 3.0 GPA who have survived hardships, participated in activities to help others, and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Ford ReStart Program Varies

Who Can Apply: Residents of Oregon or Siskiyou county, California, over the age of 25 who desire to attend a full-time bachelor’s program in either Oregon or California and have completed no more than half of their degree. View Scholarship

Earning to Live Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must reside in Oregon, graduate from an Oregon high school; currently be a member of the Oregon FFA; and plan to attend a vocational or technical school, community college, or four year college or university with two years. The student’s studies must culminate in a vocational certificate, license, or college degree. View Scholarship

Oregon Promise $3,540

Who Can Apply: Students who have lived in Oregon for at least 12 months, have completed or attempted less than 90 college credits, have a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or a minimum GED score of 145, and plan to attend an Oregon community college at least half time within six months of graduation. View Scholarship

Resources for Criminal Justice Students in Oregon

Law Enforcement Agencies in Oregon

Professional Organizations

Professionals in the field and students earning criminal justice degrees in Oregon may establish useful contacts, gain job and networking opportunities, access educational resources, and more by joining a professional organization. Professional organizations related to criminal justice in Oregon exist on local, state, national, and international levels. Some require paid membership, and some are free, but joining one or more can provide multiple benefits to those beginning or advancing their careers in areas of criminal justice.

Western Association of Criminal Justice

WACJ is a regional affiliate of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences representing Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The association works to keep its members current on criminal justice research.

Restorative Justice Coalition of Oregon

RJCO connects individuals and collectives in Oregon who are committed to principles and practices of restorative justice. Members may be restorative justice practitioners or part of the general public.

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Founded in 1958, the NACDL is a professional bar association with roughly 9,200 members across 28 countries. However, factoring in 90 state, local, and provincial affiliate organizations, the NACDL includes about 40,000 attorneys. The organization works to ensure due process for those accused of a crime or other misconduct.

National Criminal Justice Association

NCJA advocates for effective policy in criminal justice as well as funding for justice assistance programs that span a broad range of issues, including corrections, violent crime reduction, drug treatment, local law enforcement, and pretrial justice reform.

American Society of Criminology

The ASC is an international organization with members advancing professional, scientific, and scholarly work regarding crime and delinquency. Membership includes students, academics, and professionals concerned with the fields of criminology and criminal justice.

American Correctional Association

Established in 1870 as the National Prison Association, the ACA is now the oldest association formed specifically for practitioners of the correctional profession. The organization offers certifications, access to webinars and conferences, and more.

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