Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in Wyoming

According to the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation, in 2013 there were a total of 13,479 violent and property crimes committed throughout the state. The perpetrators of these crimes come to experience the different stages of Wyoming’s criminal justice system first hand, from criminal investigations, to trial, to incarceration.

Featured Programs:
Sponsored School(s)

Criminal justice professionals, whose expertise runs the gamut between legal services and specialized law enforcement, work to protect and serve Wyoming’s natural beauty and citizenry through a comprehensive system that includes:

Sponsored Content
  • 1,190 city police officers and county sheriff’s deputies
  • 190 criminal investigators
  • 430 paralegals
  • 1,000 correctional officers

Candidates that are interested in becoming part of Wyoming’s criminal justice system will find that a criminal justice degree in specialized areas such as law enforcement, criminal investigations, paralegal studies, forensics, and corrections will help them meet job qualifications for many of the state’s hiring agencies.

Wyoming Law Enforcement and Criminal Investigation Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 1,190 city police officers and county sheriff’s deputies honorably serving in their jurisdictions throughout Wyoming. The largest agencies that employ law enforcement officers include:

  • Cheyenne Police Department
  • Casper Police Department
  • Laramie Police Department
  • Gillette Police Department
  • Rock Springs Police Department
  • Laramie County Sheriff’s Office
  • Natrona County Sheriff’s Office
  • Campbell County Sheriff’s Office

Wyoming’s law enforcement officers and criminal investigators are highly qualified. For more competitive and advanced law enforcement positions, education can either be a requirement or a deciding factor.

Police Officers and Deputy Sheriffs in Wyoming

All law enforcement officials in Wyoming need to have a high school education and a relatively clean criminal history

Although not a requirement, having some college education or a full degree in law enforcement can be advantageous for prospective law enforcement officers. Each separate agency sets its own standards for employment. For example, the Cheyenne Police Department awards preference points during its candidate selection process based on the following criteria:

  • 1 preference point for an associate’s degree in any subject
  • 2 preference points for a bachelor’s degree in any subject
  • 2 preference points for two years of active military service or six years of reserve service
  • 3 preference points for having three or more years of law enforcement experience

Becoming a State Trooper with the Wyoming Highway Patrol

State Troopers with the Wyoming Highway Patrol investigate crimes and ensure that travel is safe along I-90, I-25, and I-80, while also backing up local law enforcement units as needed. Being a part of the Wyoming Highway Patrol is an honor in which not just anyone can partake.

While relevant college education can be helpful, to be eligible job candidates must have at least two years of work experience that involves dealing with the public.

Qualifying or Criminal Investigator and Detective Jobs in Wyoming

Wyoming’s 190 criminal investigators and detectives work with specialized divisions of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the state. Working as a detective or criminal investigator can be a challenge, and in recognition of this agencies will often only hire more educated and experienced law enforcement officers for these positions.

Each law enforcement agency can set its own requirements when hiring detectives and criminal investigators:

  • To work as a Detective with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, a part of the State Attorney General’s Office, candidates will need to have a bachelor’s degree in a field like Criminal Justice, or substitute for this by having 4-6 years of relevant and progressive work experience
  • To work as an Investigator with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations, candidates will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as Criminal Justice, or substitute for this with 4-6 years of increasingly advanced and relevant work experience
  • To work as a Special Agent with the FBI candidates will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in fields like:
    • Languages
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Information Technology
    • Law
    • Political Science

Paralegal Jobs in Wyoming

Paralegals provide essential research and help to their employers. Numbering 430 statewide, to work as a paralegal in Wyoming candidates will need to know their way around the legal system. While not required by state law, prospective legal assistants are often required by individual employers to have either a degree in paralegal studies or certification.

Sponsored Content

In addition to online opportunities, prospective legal assistants can earn the following academic credentials as part of degree programs at locations in Casper and Cheyenne:

  • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies
  • Post-baccalaureate certificate in a paralegal studies program
  • Associate’s degree in a legal assistant program

Wyoming residents can also choose to pursue certification from a number of nationally recognized paralegal organizations:

Top Employers of Paralegals in Wyoming

Generally, the top employers of paralegals are law firms, government, and private industry. In Wyoming this includes:

  • State of Wyoming
  • City of Cheyenne
  • City of Casper
  • City of Laramie
  • US Forest Service
  • US Department of Defense
  • National Park Service
  • Colleges and universities in Wyoming
  • Real estate companies, such as the Steve Laakso Real Estate Team
  • Cheyenne Regional Medical Center
  • Powder River Coal
  • FMC Industrial Chemicals Corporation

Each employer sets hiring standards independently. For example, the State of Wyoming requires its paralegals to meet one of the following qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree that includes paralegal studies
  • At least 3-5 years of progressively challenging work experience in the area of legal assisting
  • Any of the following legal assistant certifications:
    • National Association of Legal Assistants’ CLA, ALS, or CP
    • National Federation of Paralegal Association’s PACE Registered Paralegal

Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation Job in Wyoming

Forensic scientists and crime scene investigators are involved with solving the most difficult and gruesome crimes throughout the state, including last year’s 1,000-plus violent crimes. Crime scene investigators and forensic scientists are educated professionals who often have prior law enforcement experience and a college degree in their field of expertise.

These professionals work in specialized units of local, state, and federal government agencies, which each have their own hiring requirements.

In Wyoming, employers of these professionals include:

  • Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation
  • Cheyenne Police Department’s Major Crime Scene Unit
  • Casper Police Department’s Division of Criminal Investigations
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations, with resident offices in Casper, Cheyenne, Jackson Hole, and Lander

Employment Qualifications in Wyoming for Crime Scene Investigators and Forensic Scientists

To have an idea of what agencies are looking for, candidates can review the required hiring qualifications set by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation:

  • Forensic Evidence Technician – requires an associate’s degree, typically in a science field, or at least 2-4 years of progressive work experience dealing with forensic science
  • Forensic Specialist – requires a bachelor’s degree, typically in forensic science, or at least 3-5 years of progressive work experience in forensic science
  • Forensic Analyst – requires a bachelor’s degree, typically in forensic science, or at least 4-6 years of progressive work experience in the forensic science
  • Special Agent – requires a bachelor’s degree, typically in criminal justice, or at least 4-6 years of progressive work experience conducting criminal investigations; all applicants need to have at least 5 years of sworn law enforcement experience

Jobs with the Wyoming Department of Corrections

Over 1,000 correctional officers work in county-run prisons and institutions managed by the Wyoming Department of Corrections (DOC). The Wyoming DOC is by far the largest employer of correctional officers in the state, operating these facilities:

  • Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins
  • Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp & Wyoming Boot Camp in Newcastle
  • Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton
  • Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk
  • Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in Torrington

Correctional officers at both the county and state level need to have at minimum a high school education and a clean criminal record. College education in any of the following fields can also be a competitive employment qualification, as is prior experience in law enforcement or corrections:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement
  • Police Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Corrections

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jobs in Wyoming

With important energy resources, internationally-known national parks popular with tourists from around the world, and as the location of several important military installations, the safety of Wyoming is a weighty responsibility that homeland security and emergency management agents carry.

Sponsored Content

Prominent agencies that employ these professionals in Wyoming include:

  • Wyoming Counter Terrorism Commission
  • Wyoming Office of Homeland Security
  • Wyoming Criminal Intelligence Center

Candidates interested in pursuing careers as homeland security agents and emergency management directors will need to arrive at the job market with competitive qualifications and skills. Because of the variety of duties these professionals perform, the nature of the required or preferred education qualifications varies, and can generally include a degree in any of these subjects:

  • Emergency Management
  • Criminal Justice
  • Public Administration
  • Homeland Security
  • Law Enforcement
  • Political Science
  • Logistics
  • Computer Science
  • Information Technology

Degrees by State