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Criminal Justice Schools in Tennessee | TN

Tennessee State Criminal Justice DegreesTennessee’s crime rate is the second highest per capita out of all the 50 states, according to the National Institute of Corrections (NIC). According to the CQ Press’ 2010 State Crime Rankings, Tennessee was the fifth most crime-ridden state; it ranked particularly high (2nd) for assault crimes. This stark reality obviously has an impact on the demand for criminal justice careers. Whether you would like to become a police officer, paralegal, corrections officer or lawyer, check out the criminal justice schools in Tennessee for information on relevant degree programs and training opportunities. You will notice you often can select an online or campus option.

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice counted 375 law enforcement agencies (both local and state-level) that employed a total of almost 16,000 sworn personnel. If you would like to become a police officer or sheriff’s deputy, complete a criminal justice degree in Tennessee with a specialization in law enforcement. Most agencies prefer entry-level officers to have a minimum of an Associate’s Degree and previous, related experience.

Criminal justice schools in Tennessee offer a range of other programs including paralegal, forensic science, corrections, forensic psychology, homeland security, emergency response, police science, criminology, criminal justice administration and many other degrees.

Tennessee Criminal Justice Career Outlook

Tennessee is one of five states with the highest level of employment for fish and game wardens, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although Projections Central predicts a 6% growth for this profession by 2018, the estimated number of job openings is approximately 10 positions per year. If you would like to stand out among the pool of applicants to become a fish and game warden, complete a law enforcement, wildlife management, environmental science or a wildlife & forestry program at one of the criminal justice schools in Tennessee.

A range of criminal justice careers in Tennessee show a positive outlook for job growth. Here are some examples (with the average number of annual job openings provided by Projections Central):

Complete a criminal justice degree in Tennessee with a relevant major, such as law enforcement, corrections, law, legal studies or criminal investigations to start one of these thriving careers.

Top Criminal Justice Employers & Agencies

Some of the largest employers in Tennessee are law enforcement agencies. In 2008, the Memphis Police Department had over 1,500 sworn officers, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department had over 1,300 and the Shelby County had over 500. You can complete a law enforcement degree at one of the criminal justice schools in Tennessee to prepare for a police or sheriff’s deputy career.

Tennessee also has two FBI field offices and four U.S. Secret Service field offices. It is advantageous to specialize to work for one of these top federal agencies. For example, you might want to take a criminal justice degree in Tennessee majoring in counterterrorism, cyber security, homeland security, criminal psychology, law enforcement or information security.

Finally, a division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is located in Nashville. To become an ATF Agent, start with completing a criminal justice, homeland security or law enforcement degree.

Tennessee Criminal Justice & Legal Job Outlook & Tennessee Criminal Justice Salary

Career Employment Growth through 2018 Current Average Salary
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 9% $40,000 – 43,000
Correctional Officers and Jailers 8% $30,000 – 34,000
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 3% $56,000 – 62,000
Private Detectives and Investigators 15% $47,000 – 51,000
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 20% $38,000 – 41,000
Security Guards 8% $22,000 – 26,000
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists 18% $34,000 – 38,000
Lawyers 5% $110,000 – 117,000
First-line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 7% $56,000 – 61,000
Forensic Science Technicians 15% $43,000 – 46,000
Fish and Game Wardens 6% $46,000 – 50,000

Sources: Growth Projections ~ Salary Range

Tennessee Crime Rate

Tennessee’s violent crime rate (which includes murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault) is 68% higher than the national average, according to the National Institute of Corrections. Its overall crime rate (property plus violent crime) is about 33% higher than the rest of the country.

In 2010, the FBI reported more than 28,000 assault cases (an example of violent crime) and over 64,200 burglaries (an example of property crime). For that same year, the FBI calculated a violent crime rate of 613 cases/100,000 people and a property crime rate of 3,657 cases/100,000 people.

Tennessee's Correctional System Stats

Facility Number of Facilities/Offices Number of Inmates
Jails 109 24,362
Prisons 14 20,267
Probation/Parole 36 71,185


Article By Michelle Brunet