female student dusking for prints on a door.

Criminal Justice

Sandburg offers students the opportunity to prepare for a wide array of careers in public service including law enforcement officers, correctional staff and private security positions. We offer both a Criminal Justice degree and a Criminal Justice certificate

The courses are taught with practitioner instructors offering a real-world application that improves the learning experience. The program has a crime lab that allows students hands-on experience with investigative tools from the industry.

Students who attend the certificate and degree programs will graduate with a competitive working knowledge that exceeds those who do not seek higher learning. The program collaborates with local criminal justice professionals that help improve the areas in need of instruction to meet with societal change. 

Admission requirements

Criminal Justice is an open-enrollment program, meaning there are no criteria students must meet to be admitted. A student with a criminal conviction will be admitted to the program but may experience difficulty in securing employment in some criminal justice areas. Students who are interested in enrolling in this program should complete our steps to enroll, which includes completing the free application for admission.

We encourage all prospective students to visit campus. We have several Explore Sandburg open houses throughout the year, or you can schedule a campus visit at your convenience.

Career and technical programs/courses are offered without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or status in any group protected by applicable federal, state or local law. For more information, contact the Title IX coordinator at 309.341.5258 or the ADA/504 coordinator at 309.341.5262.

For additional information contact:
Welcome Center


Employers are seeking entry-level applicants with an education associated with an Associate degree or higher, which is a requirement for many agencies. Agencies are seeking applicants with strong communication, writing and leadership qualities. Applicants who seek employment will need to pass several pre-hiring testing requirements, which vary from agency to agency.

Some of the pre-hiring requirements may include a combination of the following:

  • Background check
  • Psychological test
  • Polygraph test
  • Interview panel
  • General aptitude test
All applicants who seek employment as a sworn law enforcer will — in addition to the pre-hiring testing — be required to pass a physical fitness test. Applicants need to be in good health, pass fitness standards and have a clear criminal background for consideration.

Potential careers

A student completing this curriculum will be prepared for a wide array of careers in public service, including law enforcement officers, correctional staff and private security positions. Careers range from local, state and federal agencies such as:

  • Law enforcement
  • Corrections
  • Courts
  • Investigations
  • Forensics
Other careers include both the public and private sector security, investigations, and more that are readily available in many locations and include high incomes — especially for those who obtain bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

Police officers

Correctional officers

Security guards

Probation/parole officers


Court officers/bailiffs

Graduates who transfer to a four-year institution go on to pursue careers in fields such as:

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Learn more

Sample course schedule for the Criminal Justice program

View the sample Schedule for the Criminal Justice AAS 

View the sample Schedule for the Criminal Justice Certificate


Program format

The Criminal Justice program offers both online and face-to-face class options with hands-on lab experiences; however, the program cannot be completed entirely online. 

Class formats

Sandburg offers courses in a variety of formats to best fit the needs of our students. To determine the formats for specific courses, please refer to our course schedule.

Regardless of the course format, it is highly recommended that students have access to a reliable computer with broadband internet. All courses use online resources and require students to access course information through mySandburg. Accessing courses through a phone is discouraged. Both campuses have open computer labs for student use.

View class formats.


Criminal Justice AAS degree cost sheet

Criminal Justice certificate cost sheet


To apply for financial aid, visit our   financial aid page  for more information.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) helps job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Contact the local office to see if you qualify for financial support. 

  • Hancock County | 550 N. Madison St. |   Carthage, IL | 217.357.6749      
  • Warren/Henderson County | 1025 S. 2 nd St | Monmouth, IL | 309.734.4745
  • Knox County Bondi Building | 311 E. Main, Suite 612 | Galesburg, IL | 309.343.9832               
  • McDonough County | 440 N. Lafayette | Macomb, IL | 309.837.1280


Thanks to our generous donors, the   Carl Sandburg College Foundation  is able to award more than $100,000 each year in scholarship dollars to Sandburg students. High school, adult learners, and returning students — everyone is eligible to apply between October 1 and March 15 for the upcoming year.  

Meet the instructors

Dr. Chris Barber, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Criminal Justice Programs, Criminal Justice Instructor

Shawn Cisna
Criminal Justice Instructor

Brian Hall
Criminal Justice Instructor

Tom Siegel
Criminal Justice Instructor


Department of Social and Business Sciences
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
Galesburg, IL 61401


This club is designed for any student — regardless of major — who shares an interest in the Criminal Justice field. The Criminal Justice Club gives students a better insight into different career paths available in the field. The organization also gives students the ability to make connections with outside agencies and volunteer with local community programs as well as the opportunity to participate in many club activities from police ride-along to prison tours. Students will have the opportunity to create extended bonds that could continue past graduation.

The mission of the Criminal Justice Club, in conjunction with Carl Sandburg College, is to provide all students with opportunities for success. The shared core values of excellence, collaboration, integrity and respect are embedded in each student.

Advisor: Christopher Barber: 309.341.5313 | cbarber@sandburg.edu

View a list of all student organizations