What are some of the things you might do with a criminal justice degree that don hat include serving on a police force? We ask that in a fiscecious manner but know that many people associate being a police officer or sheriff as the main outcome of an undergraduate (or even graduate) criminal justice degree.
A recent University of Nebraska graduate is showing that there are a lot of other potential outcomes when you manage to earn a BS in Criminal Justice and graduate from their College of Law. Judge Stephanie Stacie was recently appointed to the Nebraska Supreme Court. The availability of this position for Judge Stephanie occurred when Justice Kenneth Stephan retired.
We just wanted people to understand that there are a lot of different paths a criminal justice degree can take you down and the state of Nebraska has a bright and shining recent example of that. We also want you to be aware of what the state statistics are surrounding education to better understand the makeup of Nebraska. We pulled some Nebraska census data to get you a better breakdown of what the state looks like:
- 2014 Population Estimate: 1.881 million
- Persons under the age of 18: 24.9 percent
- Persons over the age of 25 with a high school degree: 90.5 percent
- Persons over the age of 25 with a bachelor degree: 28.5 percent
Regarding the statistic surround persons with a bachelor degree, Nebraska is almost even with the national average of 28.8 percent. We wanted to point this out so you will do the necessary research when looking at the different requirements in your desired criminal justice field. Some institutions or jobs will require you to have a high school degree while others could require a Bachelor has or even Master has in criminal justice.
Criminal Justice Degree Information and Expectations
We always try to highlight what you can expect from an actual course/syllabus perspective and we do so by highlighting a specific school has criminal justice program in the state. What better school to use as an example for Nebraska than the one that was ranked in the top 25 for its criminology graduate program by US News? The University of Nebraska Omaha was ranked 17th in that list so we went and pulled some info around their graduate program to give you an example of what you might expects to see. We pulled some relevant information from their website to give you an idea of what you might expect when getting your graduate degree in criminology:
- Their Masters of Science program is a terminal non-thesis degree. What does that mean to you? A non-thesis degree will typically focus more around set classes where a thesis degree has a large research project required. It all depends on what you hare looking for (and if your desired career cares about which type). The University of Nebraska Omaha will require their students to conduct a research project and write a report similar to what you might see in the criminal justice field (according to the same handbook referenced above).
- Somebody wanting to earn their MS in Criminology will have to complete 36 total hours. A of those courses are required set courses. Another of those hours are made up of open elective courses with the rest falling into elective criminal justice courses and diversity course.
As most universities will put their entire syllabus online for you to research for both undergraduate and graduate degrees, we recommend you take a look before selecting what degree you want. A lot of times there are descriptions of the courses as well which can help give you an idea of how challenging that particular degree will be.
Highlights of Various Nebraska Programs
When you narrow down your potential criminal justice programs to two or three, you really have to look at the finite details that each one might offer as a benefit to you. Does the school have an exclusive relationship with an agency that tends to hire their graduates? Do they offer any specific scholarships to the criminal justice degree you’re looking at? Is the school faith-based and how does that get built into the curriculum? Questions like these will lead you towards finding the unique selling points one program might have over another. We’ve highlighted some of these unique selling points around a couple Nebraska criminal justice degree programs.
- School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of Nebraska Omaha: One thing you might desire out of a program is for it to be nationally recognized which the University of Nebraska Omaha is. They were ranked as a top 25 best grad schools for criminology by US News which would likely be something very unique to this school when comparing to others in the state of Nebraska.
- Criminal Justice Program at University of Omaha – Lincoln: This criminal justice department has over 40 unique relationships with various Lincoln criminal justice agencies that center around internship opportunities. If you believe that gaining solid experience through an internship is important, it’s facts like these that can really become a deciding factor.
Nebraska Criminal Justice Organizations
We wanted to pull together a state-focused list of different criminal justice organizations which might help you better understand the roles that they play (and potentially the level of degrees required for their career fields).
- Police Officers ha Association of Nebraska
- Police Chiefs ha Association of Nebraska
- Nebraska Sheriffs ha Association<
- Nebraska Commission on Law and Criminal Justice
Try reaching out to some of the individuals at these organizations. See if they can give you insights into the career as well as what they personally experienced while getting their degree. Ask questions to find out things like: Did you get your degree at a school in Nebraska or online? How well did your degree prepare you for what you experience on a daily basis at work? Asking questions like that should help you in your criminal justice school search.
Nebraska Criminal Justice Careers
Nebraska is a good example of how current happenings in criminal justice aren hat just limited to what is happening within state borders but outside of them as well. There are a lot of things happening with policies of surrounding states that could potentially carry an effect over to Nebraska as well.
One of those current events happening in a neighboring state that could potentially have an effect on Nebraska is their neighbor, Colorado. Colorado is one of the states that recently decided to legalize marijuana across the state which you can argue over the validity (we try to just share the news, not take sides) but Nebraska is now claiming that their policy change is affecting their state. Nebraska had brought their argument that marijuana legally purchased in Colorado was being illegally brought over into their state and causing issues managing the differences between each state over marijuana.
The argument was made all the way up to the Supreme Court which (according to that same source) recently decided to not move the case to be reviewed by the highest court in the US. How does that effect you? Knowing that there might be the possibility of a neighboring state having such a different take on a substance could make a job within the criminal justice industry more challenging. It doesn hat sound like the issue will be resolved in the near future so it is important to stay up to speed on policy issues like these when considering a criminal justice job in Montana.
Criminal Justice Agencies in Nebraska
As the different parts of the criminal justice system are vast, we wanted to share a breakdown of the various agencies within the state. This could potentially help you understand the different job opportunities within the state surrounding these agencies. These numbers were pulled directly from the Nebraska criminal justice Wikipedia page.
- 14 state agencies
- 93 county agencies
- 132 municipal agencies
- 9 other law enforcement agencies (includes BNSF Police Department and Omaha Airport Authority Police Department as examples)
It should be noted that many jobs within criminal justice don hat just reside within these agencies. Some jobs could be within court systems (ex. Lawyers and paralegals) or even recovery counselors. We want to make sure you understand all options when looking at opportunities within Nebraska.
Nebraska Criminal Justice Career Outlook
Understanding some of what is currently happening in the state surrounding criminal justice as well as the agency lay of the land is important. What could be just as important is how Nebraska compares to the rest of the US on their average salaries and potential job outlook. We pulled data from ONET specifically around the job profile for Police Patrol Officers to give you an idea of what that might look like. We encourage everybody to try and find specific data for the career they are actually entertaining though as numbers could vary between the professions.
The United States median annual salary is $56,800 according to the previously cited source whereas the median annual salary for Nebraska is $53,300. While Nebraska is within a few thousand of the national average, we always encourage our users to look into the cost of living (especially if they hare relocating from another state). That same data source has the estimated national average of growth in open jobs being +5 percent and Nebraska being +4 percent from 2012 to 2022. So similar to the salary, Nebraska is somewhat close to the national average of the rest of the US.
When you hare looking at a criminal justice job in Nebraska, there will likely be a combination of factors that could sway your decision one way or another. We hope that the information provided here can help answer some of those questions and guide you to the next steps in your decision making process.