Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in California


Updated January 19, 2023

Looking for a Associate Degree in Criminal Justice in California? You should consider these top-tier 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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Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in California

Earning an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice in California

If you want to take your career to a new level, you need a degree. Students should consider the best degrees in California for criminal justice. With an associate degree, graduates can pursue diverse career paths. Associate degree-holders can move forward in their careers.

Individuals with an associate degree earn approximately $963 per week. This translates to about $3,852 a month and about $50,076 annually. Those who graduate from an associate program face an unemployment rate of 4.6%, while those who only have a high school diploma face 6.2% unemployment.

Criminal Justice Associate Programs for You

Working and Living in California in the Criminal Justice Profession

A criminal justice degree is broad enough to provide students with the opportunity to be well-positioned for careers within government and law enforcement agencies, while also offering many opportunities in the private sector. The courses within a criminal justice curriculum may cover criminology, sociology and psychology, civil procedure, and evidence laws. Classes are designed to educate students on the nature of justice systems, how they operate, and their role in protecting citizens.

The state's average annual wage is $47,920, or $23.04 per hour. All 16,529,810 employees in California are included in this statistic. The BLS reports that the lowest 10% of earners bring in about $29,780 per year, while about $130,430 is earned for those with high incomes. An example of the earnings of detectives and criminal investigators is presented below:


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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Based on the MERIC cost of living index, California ranks number 49 out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.). This index measures the average cost of living in the U.S. in comparison to specific places within the country. Based on a U.S. average of 100, all locations within the country are either above (more expensive) or below (less expensive). The cost of living index for California is 139.8, which is 39.8% higher than the national average. Students interested in relocating to California can use the cost of living comparison to find the right fit for them.


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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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There is a projected 2.5% growth rate in the detectives and criminal investigators profession over the next decade. The BLS projects the occupation's total employment to change from 112,500 in 2020 to 115,300 in 2030. To qualify for these positions, you need an associate degree. The following are typical job titles:

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

Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in California

#1 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in California

Humphreys University

  • Stockton, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Humphreys University offers its associate in criminal justice program remotely. Students in the program gain knowledge and industry-relevant skills through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Enrollees can apply their earned credits towards a bachelor's degree, certificates, and educational credentials.

Throughout the criminal justice program, students can access career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources. As part of an online learning community, distance learners can benefit from virtual library services, academic tutoring, and other resources. It is easier for students attending the school on campus to access campus facilities and professors' offices.

The institution reports that 100% of all enrollees receive financial aid, and 60% receive student loans.

Humphreys University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Location: Stockton, California

Student-Faculty Ratio: 12-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $14,580

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $14,580

Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Financing an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

Financial aid can help students lower their degree costs. The financial aid you can obtain can help you pay for your degree or to pay for a work-study program. Students may be eligible for federal and private student loans as well as scholarships. There are some colleges that offer scholarships and financial aid to assist with the cost of their programs.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in California

Depending on which college you attend, the cost of education in California will vary. The public and private sectors do, however, share some similarities. You can find out whether attending a public institution is right for you by reviewing 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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How about attending a private college or university? Private schools tend to cost more. Find out more about the private colleges in California by reviewing the following graph:

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

Are you considering applying for student loans to fund your education? You should take certain things into consideration before obtaining a loan.

You can determine what students tend to borrow by looking at the following data.

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
Among the main differences between online and on-campus programs include class size. Numerous advantages can be gained from online programs, including flexibility, affordability, and ease of use. As a result of student fees, on-campus degrees tend to cost more. For many students, the advantages of attending classes outweigh the disadvantages.

Top Criminal Justice Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
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

College attendance at a public or private institution differs in several ways, including cost. There are often grants and scholarships that provide students with financial aid to help them pay for their degree. A private college often offers merit scholarships based on the student's previous academic performance.

In private colleges, students receive more one-on-one opportunities to speak with professors. There are numerous 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

What are the salaries of detectives and criminal investigators in California?

The mean annual salary for detectives and criminal investigators in California is $107,650 per year.

What is demand like for graduates with criminal justice degrees?

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

Are there any options for earning an associate in criminal justice online?

There are many options for earning an online associate degree in criminal justice. A matter of fact, most schools provide an online program to assist students in their educational goals.

For those who wish to complete an associate degree, how long does it take?

Typically, full-time students complete an associate degree within two years of enrolling. A part-time student will have a different completion time, as will the duration of their study.

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