Doctoral Degrees in Criminal Justice in California


Published January 19, 2023

Looking for a Doctorate Degree in Criminal Justice in California? You should consider these top-tier PhD programs and jobs in the Criminal Justice field. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Doctoral Degrees in Criminal Justice in California

Earning a Doctorate in Criminal Justice in California

Please review the rankings below if you are seeking the best degrees in California for criminal justice. A doctorate is a great way to prepare for work in a variety of fields. Graduates with a doctorate possess the skills required to move forward in their careers.

Typically, individuals with a doctorate earn an average of $1,909 per week. This amounts to $7,636 a month and $99,268 annually.

Criminal Justice Doctorate Programs for You

Working and Living in California in the Criminal Justice Profession

Criminal justice is a popular degree due to its flexible curriculum. Criminal justice majors study numerous topics that aim to help individuals better understand the law enforcement systems in their community and country. Criminal justice degree-holders may work for police departments or private agencies where they can work on specialized teams to solve crime.

California's median annual salary for all occupations is $47,920, or $23.04 per hour. This stat applies to all 16,529,810 employees in California. Currently, the state's lowest 10% of earners make $29,780 per year and the highest 10% make $130,430. The following provides a comparison of the earnings for detectives and criminal investigators in California.


Detectives and Criminal Investigators in California
Detectives and Criminal Investigators Nationally
All Occupations in California
All Occupations Nationally

Salaries for Detectives and Criminal Investigators in California and Nationwide


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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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As stated by MERIC, California ranks number 49 out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.). In the U.S., the cost of living index measures the average cost of living for specific states. U.S. averages are based on 100, and all locations are either above (more expensive) or below (cheaper) that average. The cost of living index for California is 139.8, which is 39.8% higher than the national average. Learners interested in relocating to California can use the cost of living comparison to find the right fit for their situation.


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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Jobs for detectives and criminal investigators are projected to grow by 2.5% from 2020-2030. Currently, the BLS projects the number of professionals to change from 112,500 in 2020 to 115,300 by 2030. These positions typically require a high school diploma or equivalent as an entry-level education. The most common job titles include:

  • Detectives and criminal investigators
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Deputy United States Marshal
  • FBI Investigator
  • Homicide Detective
  • Narcotics Detective
  • Narcotics Investigator
  • Police Detective

Doctoral Degrees in Criminal Justice in California

#1 Doctoral Degrees in Criminal Justice in California

Northcentral University

  • La Jolla, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online

The doctor of criminal justice program at Northcentral University offers a flexible route to a doctorate. With its flexible format, the private university helps degree-seekers complete a doctorate. Doctoral students engage in advanced research and benefit from support services.

The criminal justice program requires doctoral coursework. After meeting coursework requirements, doctoral candidates pass a comprehensive examination and conduct research for an original dissertation or project. With a doctorate in criminal justice, graduates pursue academic, research, and industry roles.

Doctoral students qualify for several forms of financial aid at the accredited institution. Reach out to the criminal justice program to learn more about financial aid opportunities, admission requirements, and start dates.

Northcentral University at a Glance:

Online Master's Programs: 29

Online Doctoral Programs: 15

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 3-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $16,983

Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Financing a Doctoral Degree in Criminal Justice

The financial aid options available to students can assist them in paying for their college education. Scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs help students lower the cost of college. In order to pay for college, some students may qualify for federal and private student loans. Many colleges also offer scholarships to applicants, which can help them reduce the financial burden of earning a degree.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in California

Depending on which college or university you attend, the cost of education in California will vary. Some similarities exist among institutions of both the public and private sectors. For more information on attending a public institution, please review the information below.

Public 4-Year School Tuition Rates: California vs. National Average


National Average


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Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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Do you think attending a private college or university would be a good idea? In general, private schools charge higher tuition rates. Here is a graph that shows the benefits of attending private colleges in California.

Private 4-Year School Tuition Rates: California vs. National Average


National Average


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Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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Federal Student Loan Information

In order to pay for your education, have you considered borrowing student loans? Prior to taking out a loan, you should consider some important factors.

Please review the data below to learn about what students typically borrow.

Undergraduate Federal Loans
Demographic Percent who borrowed Amount borrowed
Total 66.6% $27,400
Female 69.6% $28,100
Male 62.5% $26,500
White, not Hispanic or Latino 66.1% $26,700
Black, not Hispanic or Latino 85.7% $34,800
Hispanic or Latino/a, of any race 67.7% $25,700
Asian, not Hispanic or Latino 43% $22,700
Other or Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino 70.4% $28,300
Source: NCES

Online vs. On Campus

Pros and Cons: Online Degrees


  • Cheaper tuition
  • Flexible, asynchronous classwork
  • No on-campus fees for parking, tech, etc.


  • Less structure
  • Minimal peer-to-peer interaction
  • Less facetime with professor
  • No access to on-campus amenities

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees


  • Gym, library, etc. access
  • Smaller class options
  • Face time with peers and professors


  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
On-campus and online programs differ primarily in cost and class size. Numerous advantages can be gained from online programs. On-campus degrees typically cost more because of student fees, which are optional for distance learners. The benefits of attending classes, however, are numerous.

Top Criminal Justice Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Associate, Bachelors, Masters
Florida Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Georgia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Illinois Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
New York Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
North Carolina Associate, Bachelors, Masters
Pennsylvania Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Washington Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

Many differences exist between private and public colleges. Private schools tend to charge more in tuition than public schools, for example. Grants and scholarships can help you pay for your degree at a public college. In private colleges, students may receive merit scholarships based on their previous academic performance.

Private universities usually feature smaller class sizes. This is an advantage for students who want more individual attention from professors. There are some benefits and drawbacks to attending a private versus a public institution.

Pros and Cons


  • Unique program offerings
  • Cultural or religious options
  • Local prestige
  • Higher costs
  • Less regulatory oversight


  • Government-issued tuition costs
  • Government funding, benefits, and regulation
  • Oftentimes large classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do detectives and criminal investigators make in California?

Detectives and criminal investigators make a mean annual wage of $107,650 in California.

Are the careers associated with criminal justice in high demand?

The total number of detectives and criminal investigators is projected to change by 2.5% from 2020-2030.

Can you study for a doctorate in criminal justice online?

There are many opportunities to earn an online doctoral degree in criminal justice. Most schools in today's environment offer a certain amount of online instruction.

For those who wish to complete a doctorate, how long does it take?

Most full-time students complete their doctorate in 4-6 years. The completion time will vary from student to student, as will the length of the program.

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