Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

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Updated January 19, 2023

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

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Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

Earning an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice in Washington

Graduates with the best degrees in Washington for criminal justice have a balanced combination of practical skills and theory. With an associate degree, graduates can pursue diverse careers. Obtain the skills needed to move forward in your field.

An associate degree can lead to an average income of approximately $3,852 per month and $50,076 annually.

Criminal Justice Associate Programs for You

Working and Living in Washington in the Criminal Justice Profession

A criminal justice degree can be earned at many colleges and universities across the United States. Criminal justice degrees prepare students for a variety of careers in law enforcement, corrections, and the court system. Common courses in a criminal justice program include constitutional law, criminal law, criminology, and police procedures. Graduates of criminal justice programs often find jobs as police officers, detectives, probation officers, and correctional officers. With further education and training, they may also become lawyers, judges, or crime scene investigators.

Washington's median salary is $50,450 per year, or $24.25 per hour. This fact applies to all the state's 3,205,930 employees. Based on the BLS, the lowest 10% of earners make $30,460 annually. The highest 10% earn $127,470. Following are statistics for detectives and criminal investigators in Washington.

Key

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

Salaries for Detectives and Criminal Investigators in Washington and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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In terms of cost of living, Washington ranks number 40 among 51 states (including Washington, D.C.). An index measuring the cost of living in specific places within the United States is known as the cost of living index. As an example, the U.S. average is 100, and all locations within the U.S. experience either a higher or lower cost of living than the average (either more expensive or less expensive). The cost of living index for Washington is 113.9, which is 13.9% higher than the national average. This table compares the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, and other items in Washington to the national average.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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The profession of detectives and criminal investigators is projected to change by 2.5% over the next decade. The BLS projects that the total employment for the occupation will change from 112,500 in 2020 to 115,300 in 2030. Associate degrees are generally required for these positions. An example of a typical job title would be:

  • 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 Washington

#1 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

Yakima Valley College

  • Yakima, WA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Students in the associate of applied science in criminal justice program at Yakima Valley College gain knowledge and industry-relevant skills through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Learners seeking to advance in further studies can apply their credits to a bachelor's degree.

The college connects degree-seekers with resources such as academic advising. Online students can receive further guidance through virtual library services and academic tutoring. Campus facilities and professors' offices are easier to access for those who attend the school on campus.

The average student receives $6,828 in financial aid. Approximately 78% of all incoming learners receive financial aid, with 15% using student loans.

Yakima Valley College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Location: Yakima

Admission Rate: Data not available

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,799

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $4,243

Transfer Credit Accepted: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,230
Out-of-state
$4,691
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,954
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#2 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

Whatcom Community College

  • Bellingham, WA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Enrollees pursuing the associate of applied science in criminal justice at Whatcom Community College benefit from a robust course curriculum, preparing them for the demands of the field. Typically, students can apply their associate degree credits to future educational endeavors, like a bachelor's degree.

Enrollees can take advantage of career services, academic advising, and other success-centered resources. Distance learners can receive one-on-one guidance from virtual library services and academic tutoring resources. Attending classes on campus makes it easier for students to access the school's facilities and professors' offices.

The average enrollee receives $6,660 in financial aid. Typically, 58% of all degree-seekers receive financial aid, with 8% receiving loans.

Whatcom Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Location: Bellingham

Admission Rate: Data not available

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,305

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $9,750

Transfer Credit Accepted: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,419
Out-of-state
$9,867
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,719
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#3 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

Lower Columbia College

  • Longview, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Enrollees pursuing the associate in criminal justice at Lower Columbia College benefit from a robust course curriculum, preparing them for the demands of the field. Degree-seekers aiming to advance in study can apply their course credits to a bachelor's degree.

Learners can access college resources geared to student success. As part of an online learning community, distance learners can benefit from virtual library services, academic tutoring, and other resources. Campus facilities and lectures are more readily accessible to students who attend the school on campus.

Attendees benefit from financial aid opportunities, receiving an average of $5,706 in awards. The college notes that 77% of all students receive financial aid awards, with 14% receiving loans.

Lower Columbia College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Location: Longview

Admission Rate: Data not available

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,596

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $4,052

Transfer Credit Accepted: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,703
Out-of-state
$4,891
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,325
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
95% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#4 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

Big Bend Community College

  • Moses Lake, WA
  • 2 years
  • Campus

The associate in criminal justice program at Big Bend Community College builds foundational knowledge in the field, preparing graduates for entry-level careers. Upon completion, students can apply their credits to a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

Degree-seekers receive guidance throughout the duration of their studies and can access career services and academic advising. Distance learners can access other resources such as virtual library services and academic tutoring. Those who attend the school on campus can more easily access campus facilities and professors' offices.

The college reports that the average student's financial aid award package totals $6,890. The college notes that 70% of all students receive financial aid, with 11% receiving loans.

Big Bend Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 2-year

Location: Moses Lake

Admission Rate: Data not available

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,127

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $4,576

Transfer Credit Accepted: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,230
Out-of-state
$4,691
Retention Rate
62%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,892
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
85% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#5 Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington

Green River College

  • Auburn, WA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Students in the associate in criminal justice program at Green River College gain foundational and advanced knowledge relevant to the field. Upon graduating, students can apply their course credits to a bachelor's degree.

Enrollees can access college resources geared toward student success. The online learning community connects enrollees with virtual library resources and academic tutoring. Degree-seekers who attend the school on campus have easier access to campus amenities and professors' offices.

Students can expect to receive an average of $6,166 in financial aid. Around 49% of incoming learners receive financial aid and around 10% receive student loans.

Green River College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Location: Auburn

Admission Rate: Data not available

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,635

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $4,078

Transfer Credit Accepted: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,727
Out-of-state
$4,188
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
7,493
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
88% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Financing an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

College can be financed in a variety of ways. Many students use scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs. Students may be eligible for federal and private student loans as well. Do your research ahead of time and find out what types of financial aid may be offered by your desired colleges.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in Washington

There is a wide variation in the cost of education in Washington. The public and private sectors share some similarities. You may find the following information helpful in determining if it is appropriate to attend a public university.

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

Key

Washington
National Average

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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 college or university? Tuition at private colleges is typically higher. Here is a graph that provides information regarding attending private colleges in Washington.

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

Key

Washington
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

Do you plan to take out student loans to fund your degree? Taking out a loan requires you to consider some important factors.

Review the data below to help you know 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

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
Among the main differences between online and on-campus programs include the class size. Online programs feature numerous advantages, including flexibility, affordability, and convenience. As a result of student fees, on-campus degrees can cost more. There are numerous benefits to attending classes regularly.

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 Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Washington Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

There are several differences between attending a private college and a public one. There will be a difference in cost depending on whether you choose a public or private school. The government determines the costs for public institutions, and grants and scholarships are used to cover these costs. A private school often offers merit scholarships to students who demonstrate superior academic performance.

In private colleges, students benefit from more personal interaction with faculty. Some students find that a private institution is better than a public one. What are some benefits and drawbacks?

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

In Washington, how much do detectives and criminal investigators make?

In-state detectives and criminal investigators earn a mean annual wage of $108,550.

In today's environment, are graduates with criminal justice degrees in demand?

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

Can you get an associate degree in criminal justice online?

An associate degree in criminal justice can be earned online. At least some online courses are available as part of most schools' programs in today's environment.

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

Typically, a full-time associate degree takes two years to complete. The completion time will vary from student to student, but part-time students will take longer.

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