Criminal justice professionals study the causes of illegal behavior and protect their communities by arresting criminals. Career options include law enforcement, environmental protection, forensic investigation, homeland security, emergency response and management, and policy research and law. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that job openings for criminal justice professionals will continue to grow through 2026, with exceptional increases for forensic science technicians (17%), private investigators (11%), and legal assistants (15%).
job openings for criminal justice professionals will continue to grow through 2026, with exceptional increases for forensic science technicians (17%), private investigators (11%), and legal assistants (15%) Bureau of Labor Statistics
Individuals who earn their criminal justice degree in Wyoming can enjoy a healthy state economy and bountiful employment prospects. Unemployment in the Equality State has decreased over the past few years, standing at 3.8% as of April 2018. The Wyoming state government reports a relatively low overall cost of living. PayScale calculates that Laramie and Cheyenne residents enjoy living costs 5% below the national average. This affordability, coupled with an average mean salary of $47,650 per year, makes Wyoming a great place to earn an education and pursue a career.
Earning an Online Criminal Justice Degree in Wyoming
Online criminal justice degrees in Wyoming provide busy students with accessible opportunities for new jobs and career advancement. Distance learners complete coursework through a virtual learning platform such as Blackboard or Canvas. Online classes often follow an asynchronous format, enabling students to access materials and participate in discussions at their own convenience. Online programs also give students the option to take accelerated classes, usually lasting seven or eight weeks, so they can earn their degree in less time than in a traditional program. With proper prerequisites and general education requirements, students can earn their criminal justice bachelor's degree in one to two years.
Another major benefit of distance education is affordability. Many colleges and universities disregard residency status for online students and provide discounted rates to distance learners. Scholarships and grants for online students make distance education even more affordable. Professionals who already work in the field can receive college credit for career training and experience, thereby reducing costs and degree completion time.
Advanced programs may require in-person experiences such as an internships or service-learning opportunities. Online students can usually complete these experiences with an organization in their local communities. Working students may be able to complete these experiences with their current employer.
Accredited Criminal Justice Programs in Wyoming
In order to confer valid online criminal justice degrees, Wyoming colleges and universities must hold regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation indicates approval from one of six organizations, depending on the school's location. Wyoming schools earn regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
National accreditation indicates official backing from an organization approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED)
Most employers and graduate schools prefer degrees from regionally accredited institutions because they adhere to more rigorous standards. National accreditation indicates official backing from an organization approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED). For more information on nationally accredited schools, consult the ED's database.
Accredited colleges and universities receive federal funding, including scholarships and grants for their students. These schools may also receive financial and institutional assistance from CHEA. Most employers do not recognize academic credentials from unaccredited schools. Furthermore, accredited colleges and universities only accept transfer credits from other accredited institutions.
In addition to regional and national recognition, criminal justice degrees in Wyoming can also hold specialized accreditation from professional organizations such as the Academy for Criminal Justice Sciences. Students in these programs earn degrees respected by professionals in the field. These students also receive additional networking opportunities and career resources.
Education and Training Requirements for Criminal Justice Professionals in Wyoming
Diverse careers await students who pursue an online criminal justice degree in Wyoming at any level. Those who want to enter the workforce upon earning an associate degree may choose from professions such as police officer, fire inspector, paralegal, security personnel, and forensic science technician. These positions emphasize specialized training outside the traditional classroom as well as skills and experience cultivated while on the job. For example, police officers undergo physical conditioning as well as specific training in firearm safety and usage, practical force, emergency vehicle operation, and patrol exercises. This type of professional development is completed through programs external to colleges and universities, like the ones offered by the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy.
Professionals who who earn four-year criminal justice degrees in Wyoming and those who go on to complete a master's or Ph.D. open the doors to leadership and research-oriented careers in fields like education, information security, scientific investigations, and program management. These careers may necessitate additional training in the form of professional certification and licensure that test up-to-date skill knowledge and application crucial to advanced careers.
Licensing, Registration, and Certification Requirements in WyomingAfter obtaining an online criminal justice degree in Wyoming, students may need to pursue
additional training, licensure, or certification depending on their specific career. Licensure indicates official recognition from a governing body. Licensure is typically mandatory to legally work in particular fields. Certification, on the other hand, demonstrates optional training and proficiency in specialized skills. For example, private investigators and security personnel can obtain the professional certified investigator certificate and the certified protection professional certificate from the American Society for Industrial Security International.
Wyoming only requires law enforcement officers to earn a high school diploma or equivalent; be U.S. citizens 21 years of age or older; hold a valid driver's license and no prior felony convictions; and have the ability to obtain a firearm permit
Law enforcement is one of the most popular careers in the criminal justice field because it requires little college education. In fact, Wyoming only requires law enforcement officers to earn a high school diploma or equivalent; be U.S. citizens 21 years of age or older; hold a valid driver's license and no prior felony convictions; and have the ability to obtain a firearm permit. Eligible candidates then undergo training with the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy. Candidates must pass the physical assessment, written examination, and a background check. After completing this process, licensed officers can apply for work. Individual cities and counties may require additional qualifications.
More advanced positions as detective, crime scene investigator, sheriff, or police chief typically require higher education. These professionals usually hold a bachelor's degree and professional certification.
Regulations, especially those for firearms, change frequently. Although these regulations are state-specific, reciprocity agreements make transferring licensure relatively uncomplicated. Currently, Wyoming firearm permits take 90 days to obtain and last five years. Consult the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation or Attorney General's Office for more information.
Career and Salary Expectations
For professionals who have earned their online criminal justice degree, Wyoming offers exciting career opportunities in areas such as law enforcement, private security, corrections and law, and forensic science. The BLS reports that, in Wyoming, the mean hourly wage for protective service occupations is $21.94, while the annual mean wage is $45,640. Professionals in legal occupations earn an annual wage of $75,910, while those who teach at the university level earn about $61,630. According to BLS employment projections, some of the fastest-growing careers include information security analysts, crime statisticians, and fire inspectors and preventionists.
The three tables below present employment and wage information for criminal justice positions, including jobs in protective services and corrections. Students can use this information as a starting point for career research and planning. However, the numbers below do not factor in employer type, location, professional credentials, or education. The employment data also does not include self-employed professionals. Like in most professions, experience is the strongest factor in determining salary for criminal justice workers. Obtaining an online degree can help you earn higher wages and advance to managerial roles.
Protective Services Occupations in Wyoming
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average annual Wage|
|Fish and Game Wardens||80||$28.57||$59,420|
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators||1,350||$37.34||$77,660|
|Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers||1,100||$27.04||$56,240|
|Transportation Security Screeners||50||$19.01||$39,540|
Court and Corrections Occupations in Wyoming
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average annual Wage|
|Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists||170||$23.70||$49,290|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||440||$24.14||$50,210|
|Correctional Officers and Jailers||870||$20.37||$42,370|
Other Criminal Justice Occupations in Wyoming
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average annual Wage|
|Forensic Science Technicians||40||$27.80||$57,820|
|Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary||40||N/A||$61,630|
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Obtaining a Wyoming online criminal justice degree requires substantial investment of both time and money. Luckily, ample scholarships and grants exist for criminal justice students and Wyoming residents. In addition to the 10 scholarships listed below, students should seek out awards from businesses and organizations in their local communities.
Criminal Justice Scholarships
Wyoming Peace Officers Association Scholarships $500-$1,000
Wyoming School Resource Officer Association Scholarship $500
My Alarm Center Scholarship $1,000
Brian Terry Foundation Scholarship Varies
Scholarships for Wyoming Residents
Wyoming Highway Patrol Association Scholarship $1,000
Korean American Scholarship Foundation - Western Regional Chapter $5,000
Peter George Douvas Memorial Scholarship $500
Hathaway Scholarship $840-$1,680
The Daniels Fund Scholarship Program Varies
Resources for Criminal Justice Students in Wyoming
Law Enforcement Agencies in Wyoming
- Wyoming Department of Corrections
- Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation
- Wyoming Highway Patrol
- Wyoming Attorney General
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Students who earn their criminal justice degree online in Wyoming can benefit from membership in professional organizations such as the ones listed below. Although some associations require an annual fee, students receive extensive services and resources worth the cost of membership. Benefits include research grants, academic scholarships, conferences, networking experiences, certifications, and career guidance. These opportunities greatly bolster professional opportunities. Furthermore, the criminal justice field evolves quickly, especially in terms of government regulations and technological innovations. Professional organizations help keep their members up-to-date on these important developments.
Wyoming Peace Officers Association
Formed in 1923, WPOA represents and supports criminal justice professionals, including correctional officers, coroners, game wardens, and detention officers. Members enjoy scholarships, training opportunities, networking events, and an annual conference.
Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police
WASCOP provides awards, job listings, and conferences to criminal justice professionals in Wyoming. Members can access up-to-date research and reports on crime and drug laws in the state. The association also partners with related organizations, including the State of Wyoming Office of Highway Safety and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy
WLEA specializes in basic and advanced training programs for coroners, police officers, and other law enforcement professionals. Online courses include rules of evidence, basic law, and investigative detention. The academy also provides scholarships and career opportunities.
National Criminal Justice Association
NCJA has supported criminal justice agencies and professionals for more than 40 years. The association reviews legislation, advocates for beneficial policies, and hosts certification training programs. Members benefit from national networking events and the Connect2Justice online community.
American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Founded in 1948, AAFS connects its 7,000 members through conferences and international educational outreach programs. In addition to accrediting colleges and universities, the academy provides students with career resources and skill-building, research-centered summer camps.
American Correctional Association
ACA stands as the oldest criminal justice organization in the U.S. The association provides scholarship and internship opportunities in global corrections. Members also gain access to conferences, on-site events, and online professional development programs.