Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

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Updated January 19, 2023

Looking for a Associate Degree in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania? You should consider these top-tier programs and jobs in the Criminal Justice field.

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Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

Earning an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

A degree in Pennsylvania for criminal justice can work wonders for your career. An associate degree is a great way to prepare for the workforce and pursue diverse other career opportunities. Associate degree-seekers gain the skills required to move forward in their careers.

An associate degree-holder is more likely to be employed than someone with a high school diploma, with an unemployment rate of 4.6%.

Criminal Justice Associate Programs for You

Working and Living in Pennsylvania in the Criminal Justice Profession

Criminal justice is a popular degree field due to its flexible curriculum. Criminal justice majors study a wide variety of topics that aim to help individuals better understand the law enforcement systems in their community and country. Students who earn a degree in criminal justice can work for police departments or for private agencies where they will likely work on specialized teams to solve crimes.

The median salary in Pennsylvania is $44,900 a year, or $21.59 per hour. This fact applies to all of the state's 5,583,410 employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the lowest 10% of earners take home $23,120 and the highest 10% of earners make $99,330. The following illustrates the earnings for detectives and criminal investigators in Pennsylvania.

Key

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

Salaries for Detectives and Criminal Investigators in Pennsylvania and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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As stated by MERIC, Pennsylvania is ranked number 27 out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.). MERIC measures the national average cost of living against specific states. According to the U.S. average, all locations are either above (more expensive) or below (less expensive) that average. According to a 100-point scale, Pennsylvania's cost of living index is 97.9, which is 2.1% lower than the national average. As a comparison, you can see how the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, etc. in Pennsylvania compares to the rest of the country.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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During the next decade, the number of detectives and criminal investigators is projected to change by 2.5%. The BLS projects an increase in total employment of 112,500 in 2020 to 115,300 in 2030. An associate degree is a typical education required for these positions. There are a number of typical job titles, which include:

  • 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 Pennsylvania

#1 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

Northampton Community College

  • Bethlehem, PA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Northampton Community College, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, boasts 10 online associate degree programs, including its highly ranked AAS in criminal justice program. The program prepares students for the demands of the field through foundational and advanced coursework. Enrollees seeking to advance in their studies can apply their course credits towards a bachelor's degree.

A leader in student success, the college connects students with career services, academic advising, and other resources. Distance learners can access virtual library services and academic tutoring. Students who attend the school on campus have easier access to campus amenities and faculty offices.

The average financial aid award, the college reports, is $5,819. Of its enrollees, the college reports that 77% receive financial aid and 26% receive loans.

Northampton Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Student-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $6,420

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $9,630

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,720
Out-of-state
$10,080
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
8,951
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
73% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

Community College of Allegheny County

  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

From its main campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Community College of Allegheny County supports 12 online associate degree programs, including an associate in science in criminal justice and criminology. Students in the program gain knowledge and industry-relevant skills through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Enrollees looking to advance in their studies can apply their associate degree credits towards further undergraduate education.

Throughout the 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. Those who attend the school on campus can more easily access campus facilities and professors' offices.

Students can expect to receive an average of $5,253 in financial aid. Students can explore numerous funding opportunities, with 63% of enrollees receiving some form of financial aid and 16% opting for student loans.

Community College of Allegheny County at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Student-Faculty Ratio: 18-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $6,960

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $10,440

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,080
Out-of-state
$10,620
Retention Rate
57%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
13,217
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

University of Scranton

  • Scranton, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The criminal justice program prepares students for the demands of the field through foundational and advanced coursework. Students can transfer their course credits to a four-year college, in pursuit of a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

Throughout the criminal justice program, students can access career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources. Other resources available for distance learners include academic tutoring and virtual library services. Students who attend the school on campus have easier access to campus amenities and professors' offices.

Approximately 99% of all incoming students receive financial aid, with 65% using student loans.

University of Scranton at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Location: Scranton, Pennsylvania

Admission Rate: 76%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 13-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $45,390

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $45,390

Average Tuition
In-state
$46,684
Out-of-state
$46,684
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
4,957
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

Butler County Community College

  • Butler, PA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Students in the criminal justice program at Butler County Community College prepare for the demands of the field through instructive study and industry-relevant coursework. Upon graduating, students can apply their course credits towards a bachelor's degree.

Throughout the criminology program, students can access career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources. Online students can receive further guidance through virtual library services and academic tutoring. Students who attend the school on campus have easier access to campus amenities and professors' offices.

Online students can expect to receive an average of $5,195 in financial aid awards. Most students benefit from financial aid, with 73% of enrollees receiving some form of funding.

Butler County Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Butler, Pennsylvania

Student-Faculty Ratio: 14-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $6,570

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $9,570

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,690
Out-of-state
$9,690
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,984
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

Bucks County Community College

  • Newtown, PA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

From its main campus in Newtown, Bucks County Community College boasts a highly ranked online associate of arts in criminal justice, one of 18 online associate degree programs. Students prepare for a career in criminal justice through relevant coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Students can transfer their course credits to a four-year college, in pursuit of a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

While enrolled, students benefit from institutional resources, such as career services and academic advising. Distance learners can access virtual library services, academic tutoring, and other resources. Students who attend the school on campus have easier access to campus amenities and faculty offices.

The college connects students with numerous financial aid opportunities, reporting that enrollees receive an average of $5,170 in financial aid. The college notes that 50% of all students receive financial aid awards, with 11% taking out loans.

Bucks County Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Newtown, Pennsylvania

Student-Faculty Ratio: 15-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $7,920

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $11,880

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,920
Out-of-state
$11,880
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,988
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Financing an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

Degree-seekers can use financial aid to cover costs. Scholarships and fellowships help students lower the cost of college. A number of students are eligible to receive federal and private student loans, as well as scholarships. It is a good idea to do your research ahead of time and find out what kind of financial aid might be available to you at the colleges you are interested in.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, college costs vary from institution to institution. The public and private sectors share some similarities. You can determine whether attending a public institution is the right choice for you by reviewing the information provided below.

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

Key

Pennsylvania
National Average

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The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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How about attending a private university instead of a public one? Private schools typically charge higher tuition rates. Find out more about private colleges in Pennsylvania by looking at the following graph:

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

Key

Pennsylvania
National Average

Chart

Bar chart with 5 bars.
The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
End of interactive chart.

Federal Student Loan Information

Have you ever considered borrowing student loans to pay for your education? Before applying for student loans, you should take certain things into consideration.

For more information on how much students typically borrow, please review the data below.

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees

Pros

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

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
The cost and size of classes are two main differences between an online degree and a degree completed on campus. There are many advantages to studying online, including flexibility, affordability and convenience. Due to on-campus fees and the fact that distance learners can choose whether or not to pay those fees, on-campus degrees are generally more expensive. In spite of this, there are some benefits to attending classes in person on a regular basis.

Top Criminal Justice Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Associate, 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 Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Washington Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

There are a number of differences between attending a private and public college. Public colleges tend to have cheaper tuition rates than private colleges. Generally, costs of education at public institutions are covered by grants and scholarships sponsored by the government. The merit scholarships at private colleges tend to be based on previous academic performance.

Privately owned universities often have smaller class sizes. This is of benefit to students who want more individualized attention from professors. An assessment of the pros and cons of attending a private versus a public institution is presented below.

Pros and Cons

Private

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

Public

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

Frequently Asked Questions

For detectives and criminal investigators in Pennsylvania, what is the wage?

Detectives and criminal investigators make a mean annual wage of $92,760 in Pennsylvania.

Are criminal justice degrees in high demand?

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

How do you get an online associate degree in criminal justice?

You can get an online associate degree in criminal justice. The majority of schools in today's environment offer some form of online education.

In order to complete an associate degree, how long does it take?

A full-time student typically takes two years to complete an associate degree program. For part-time students, the completion time will vary and the process will take longer.

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