Criminal Justice

Because fearless crime-fighter isn't an official major

Criminal Justice offers so much to learn and explore!

Are you interested in exploring a career in Corrections, Law Enforcement or taking on a role in our judicial system? By studying Criminal Justice at Columbia Basin College (CBC), you’ll explore the theories behind crime and punishment, juvenile delinquency, drug and alcohol addiction and other criminal justice areas.

CBC's Criminal Justice program offers students an exciting opportunity to learn hands-on investigation techniques during a mock crime-scene investigation!

Mock crime scene investigation topics include:

  • Police response
  • Evidence collection
  • Photography
  • Crime scene sketches
  • Interviewing and interrogation techniques
  • Crash investigation
  • and more!
Student with crime dummy

No matter where your interests lie, there are opportunities for you in Criminal Justice. This program has close links with many other fields of study, incorporating elements of Psychology, Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, Anthropology, English, Education, Philosophy, Social Work and Computer Science.

Opportunities abound in Criminal Justice!

Where can a degree in Criminal Justice lead you? Columbia Basin College offers an AAS in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science to prepare you for a variety of exciting and challenging careers. If you enjoy working with people and their communities, being physically fit and active outdoors, and solving puzzles, this is the field for you.

Skills you gain in CBC's Criminal Justice program will prepare you for any one of the following careers:

  • Law Enforcement

    • Police officer, such as city police, deputy sheriff or state patrol
    • Forensic science
    • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
    • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
    • US marshal
    • K-9 officer
    • Detective
    • Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
    • Hostage negotiator
    • Crime scene technician
  • Corrections

    • Corrections officer
    • Probation officer
    • Parole officer
    • K-9 officer
    • Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
  • Judicial System

    • Prosecutor
    • Defense attorney
    • Bailiff
    • Court clerk
    • Judge
    • Court reporter
    • Investigator
  • Other areas of interest

    • Fish & Wildlife officer
    • Dispatcher
    • Child Protective Services inspector
    • Private detective
    • Security officer
    • Education
    • Homeland Security

Program Learning Outcomes for the Criminal Justice AAS

Program learning outcomes are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that students will achieve before they graduate. The outcomes below were developed by the faculty in Criminal Justice with input from accrediting bodies, advisory committees, employers, etc. This collaboration ensures that the outcomes are relevant for careers that this degree leads to.

Students who graduate with an AAS in Criminal Justice will be able to:

  1. Apply critical thinking skills to analyze complex criminal justice issues and formulate evidence-based solutions. 
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the legal system, criminal law, and the rights of individuals involved in the criminal justice process. 
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of various law enforcement strategies and techniques used to prevent and solve crimes. 
  4. Utilize effective communication skills to interact professionally with diverse individuals and groups encountered in the criminal justice field. 
  5. Demonstrate an awareness of ethical principles and apply them to real-world situations encountered in the criminal justice field. 
  6. Evaluate the impact of historical, social, and cultural factors on the development and functioning of the criminal justice system. 
  7. Apply knowledge of technology and forensic science to criminal investigations and evidence collection. 
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of various criminal justice agencies, including law enforcement, courts, and corrections. 
  9. Apply knowledge of human behavior and psychology to understand criminal behavior and prevent recidivism. 
  10. Develop a professional identity as a criminal justice practitioner and understand the importance of ongoing professional development in the field.


Faculty with students



There are several broad theories dealing with criminology, victimology and criminal justice. Students will be able to articulate these theories as related to the three pathways and apply these theories to current studies in the criminal justice field as well as specific theories to specific courses (Juvenile Justice, Criminal Evidence and Investigation, etc.).


Students will be able to interpret and analyze data from scholarly and popular sources, fostering critical thinking, and enabling the ability to use relevant data for decision making and forming written and verbal arguments.



Students at a crime scene