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Criminal Justice Schools in South Dakota | SD

South Dakota State Criminal Justice DegreesSouth Dakota is the state with the second highest concentration of fish and game wardens, the third highest concentration of gaming surveillance officers/gaming investigators and the fourth highest concentration of private detectives and investigators. Criminal justice schools in South Dakota can help prepare you for these vital careers.

As a fish and game warden, you would be responsible for patrolling state parks, performing conservation efforts and enforcing fish and wildlife laws. To become one of these outdoor professionals, you could complete an online or campus degree in law enforcement, wildlife biology or another related discipline. Gaming surveillance officers ensure safety and security in casinos and other gaming environments through patrolling and monitoring technological surveillance equipment. Check out the online and campus criminal justice schools in South Dakota for information on casino surveillance or gaming security certificate programs. Finally, private detectives lead a very intriguing lifestyle, and often have previous law enforcement experience. You must become licensed and it’s a good idea to complete a criminal justice degree in South Dakota related to law enforcement or criminal investigations.

There are also other criminal justice careers in South Dakota that you may pursue, from correctional officers to police and paralegals. Check out the list of criminal justice schools in South Dakota for information on law enforcement, criminology, paralegal, law, corrections and other relevant degrees.

South Dakota Criminal Justice Career Outlook

South Dakota’s high concentration of fish and game wardens, private detectives and gaming surveillance officers either show stability or a positive growth outlook for the future. In a state with a population of just over 800,000, there are approximately 100 fish and game wardens, 125 gaming surveillance officers (with a projected 12% growth through to 2018) and 100 private investigators (with a projected 50% growth), according to the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation.

Examples of other criminal justice careers in South Dakota that show a positive outlook are as follows. (The average numbers of annual job openings are provided by the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation):

If any of these growing careers interest you (see Employment Growth percentages below), you can complete necessary education at one of the criminal justice schools in South Dakota. For example, to become a correctional officer, you might complete a criminal justice degree in South Dakota majoring in corrections or a similar discipline. If you would like to start a legal career, you could start with a paralegal degree. After working in that profession, you might choose to complete your law degree in order to become an attorney.

Top Criminal Justice Employers & Agencies

Two of South Dakota’s largest employers are the Ellsworth U.S. Air Force Base (with approximately 4,500 personnel) and the South Dakota National Guard in Sioux Falls (with approximately 1,100 personnel), according to Career One Stop. Both military agencies offer opportunities for specialized training on base, such as technological, military police and judge advocate general (JAG attorney) training. They both also offer tuition assistance and benefits if you choose to pursue post secondary education at colleges and universities off base. Check out the list of criminal justice schools in South Dakota for programs that would complement your military career or help you with a civilian career after service.

South Dakota Criminal Justice & Legal Job Outlook & South Dakota Criminal Justice Salary

Career Employment Growth through 2018 Current Average Salary
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 7% $38,000 – 44,000
Correctional Officers and Jailers 3% $30,000 – 36,000
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 8% $60,000 – 68,000
First-line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 8% $60,000 – 63,000
Private Detectives and Investigators 50% $35,000 – 40,000
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 10% $35,000 – 41,000
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists 8% $35,000 – 40,000
Lawyers 1% $80,000 – 83,000
Fish and Game Wardens will remain roughly the same $35,000 – 40,000
Gaming Surveillance Officers and Gaming Investigators 12% $23,000 – 27,000

Sources: Growth Projections Salary Range

South Dakota Crime Rate

According to the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), South Dakota has the second lowest crime rate per capita in the country; the NIC reports an overall crime rate that is 34% lower than the national average.

In 2010, the FBI reported a violent crime rate of 268 cases/100,000 people and a property crime rate of 1,852 cases/100,000 people.

South Dakota's Correctional System Stats

Facility Number of Facilities/Offices Number of Inmates
Jails 29 1,631
Prisons 9 3,480
Probation/Parole 6 court services offices (probation)  10 parole service offices 6,602 probationers, 2,748 parolees


Article By Michelle Brunet