The Best Online Associate's in Criminal Justice

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Criminal justice degrees prepare students for diverse careers in areas like social work, security, and law enforcement.

Earning an associate in criminal justice provides the experience and academic credentials needed for entry-level roles in a variety of fields. Although many graduates pursue careers in law enforcement, a criminal justice associate degree also prepares students for careers in other areas, like paralegal work, security, and management.

Graduates enjoy strong job prospects. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects faster-than-average job growth for private detectives and investigators, paralegals and legal assistants, and police and detectives between 2018 and 2028.

Recent events regarding police reform may impact this degree and career paths associated with it. The movement of some municipalities and states to divert funding away from police departments and invest in other public service areas may contribute to some uncertainty for the field of policing. However, it may also contribute to more job openings in adjacent public service areas, such as social work and mental health counseling, as professionals in these areas begin to work more closely with police departments.

This guide ranks the best online associate in criminal justice programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, including common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.

Top 10 Online Associate's in Criminal Justice Programs 2020

#1 Roger Williams University Bristol, RI
#2 Endicott College Beverly, MA
#3 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
#4 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
#5 Northern Michigan University Marquette, MI
#6 Trine University Angola, IN
#7 Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu, HI
#8 Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion, PA
#9 Ashland University Ashland, OH
#10 Campbell University Buies Creek, NC

The Best Online Criminal Justice Associate Programs

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4

Regent University 

Virginia Beach, VA

About this school

Established in 1978, Regent University is a Christian institution that hosts around 10,000 students annually and offers a 19-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Notable alumni include author Charles Martin, attorney Jay Sekulow, and politician Sharon Weston Broome.

The 64-credit online associate of science in criminal justice examines criminal processes, laws, and investigations. Students take courses asynchronously through Blackboard. Graduates may work as police officers, legal assistants, probation officers, and investigators. They can also pursue a bachelor's in criminal justice through Regent.

In-state and out-of-state learners pay the same tuition. However, part-time students pay more per credit than full-time learners. Admission requires unofficial transcripts, a high school diploma or equivalent, responses to a questionnaire, and a copy of an ID.

Regent's library participates in interlibrary loan and gives online students access to e-books, databases, and research guides. Students can also obtain resume, interview, and job search guidance from the Office of Career and Talent Management.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
59%
Percent Receiving Loans
97%
5

Northern Michigan University 

Marquette, MI

About this school

Founded in 1899, NMU is a public institution that hosts more than 7,500 learners through over 170 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. The school holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

NMU's 60-credit online associate of science in criminal justice examines the role and structure of the justice system, including court and correctional processes. The curriculum includes introductory classes in criminal justice and policing as well as 16 criminal justice electives that allow students to tailor the degree to their interests. Students need a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate.

Students gain access to NMU's forensic laboratory, student groups, and the Regional Police Academy program, where they can participate in police training that conforms to the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
47%
Percent Receiving Loans
93%
6

Trine University 

Angola, IN

About this school

Founded in 1884, Trine University is a private institution that hosts around 4,500 students annually. The school offers a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Over 99% of 2019 graduates entered the workforce or academic programs within six months of graduation. Trine is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The school's online associate in criminal justice covers topics like juvenile justice, probation, forensic psychology, crime scene investigations, and criminal procedures. Candidates also complete general education and elective credits. Field professionals teach program courses asynchronously through Moodle. Graduates can pursue entry-level careers in the justice system. They can also pursue bachelor's programs.

Resident and nonresident students pay equal tuition rates. Military personnel enjoy a tuition discount. Students gain access to online tutoring through Tutor.com as well as career services.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
65%
Percent Receiving Loans
100%
7

Chaminade University of Honolulu 

Honolulu, HI

About this school

Founded in 1955, Chaminade University hosts more than 1,000 students annually and offers an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Ninety-eight percent of the school's learners benefit from financial assistance.

The School of Education and Behavioral Sciences offers a 60-credit online associate of science in criminology and criminal justice that introduces learners to criminal justice procedures and theories. Students benefit from immersive coursework, such as crime scene reenactments. Learners must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate.

Graduates can pursue Chaminade's bachelor's in criminology and criminal justice. They can also work as police officers and public safety officials. Military students benefit from tuition discounts. Out-of-state learners pay the same tuition as in-state candidates.

Online students gain access to tutoring through Smarthinking and e-books, journals, and databases through the Sullivan Family Library.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
59%
Percent Receiving Loans
99%
8

Clarion University of Pennsylvania 

Clarion, PA

About this school

Founded in 1867, Clarion University hosts more than 4,700 learners annually. The military-friendly school holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The university's 60-credit online associate of science in criminal justice covers five main areas: corrections, law adjudication, criminology, juvenile justice, and policing. Students explore why people commit crimes and how to rehabilitate offenders. They also complete general education credits in areas like English, math, and science.

Students can submit assignments to the school's online writing center for feedback. They can also review online tips for taking tests, studying, and managing schedules through Clarion's Center for Access, Success, and Achievement.

Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent and submit ACT or SAT scores. They can also submit recommendation letters to bolster their application.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
53%
Percent Receiving Loans
93%
9

Ashland University 

Ashland, OH

About this school

Founded in 1878, AU is a Christian institution that educates more than 5,600 students annually. The school holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The 60-credit online associate of arts in criminal justice examines criminal justice policies, procedures, and theories. The department incorporates insights from field professionals when planning courses. Courses span seven weeks and cover topics like terrorism, victimology, restorative justice, and emergency management. Students may also complete field experiences at local police departments, correctional institutions, and crime labs.

Graduates can find employment with organizations like the federal government, police departments, and courts. They can also pursue bachelor's programs. Online learners gain access to tutoring services and virtual library resources.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
61%
Percent Receiving Loans
97%
10

Campbell University 

Buies Creek, NC

About this school

Established in 1887, Campbell University is a Christian institution that hosts more than 6,400 students annually. The university prioritizes research and holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The school's fully online associate of arts in criminal justice emphasizes law, criminology, and court processes. The 62-credit program examines topics like criminal justice philosophies and ethics. Students also complete general education courses. Learners must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate.

Military students benefit from discounted tuition and may earn credit for military experience. Resources for online students include virtual tutoring through Smarthinking and library resources like e-books and journals. Learners can also receive job search assistance.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
53%
Percent Receiving Loans
100%
11

Eastern Kentucky University 

Richmond, KY

About this school

Founded in 1922, EKU boasts recognition from the Carnegie Foundation for community engagement. EKU holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The 64-credit online associate in police studies examines the structure of the criminal justice system and related societal factors. Courses span eight weeks and cover topics like crime patterns, ethics, and policing processes.

The department delivers most courses asynchronously through Blackboard and awards credit for Kentucky law enforcement training. Degree-seekers can transfer up to 49 credits into the program. Graduates can work as policy analysts, deputies, and law enforcement officers.

Applicants without at least 24 transfer credits need a minimum 2.5 high school GPA. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Military students qualify for reduced tuition.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
47%
Percent Receiving Loans
99%
12

Drury University 

Springfield, MO

About this school

Founded in 1873, Drury University hosts over 3,200 students annually who represent more than 50 countries. Learners benefit from a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school among the top 25 regional universities in the Midwest and holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The 62-credit online associate of science in criminal justice examines the causes of and reactions to crime through courses like law and society, victimology, police patrol, and forensic science. Students also take general education courses. Graduates may pursue entry-level roles in law enforcement, court reporting, private investigation, and social work. They can also pursue a bachelor's degree.

Students gain access to online tutoring through Smarthinking and virtual library materials, such as e-books and journals. Online learners also gain access to Handshake and Big Interview, job listings, and resume guidance.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
64%
Percent Receiving Loans
100%
13

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania 

Mansfield, PA

About this school

Founded in 1857, MU hosts more than 1,500 students annually and offers a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The military-friendly school holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

MU's 60-credit online associate of science in criminal justice administration explores the justice system, including court and law enforcement procedures. Learners examine policies and tactics for suppressing and managing crimes while building problem-solving and communication skills.

Students earning the criminal justice associate degree online gain access to networking opportunities, library resources and services, and online tutoring. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent and submit ACT or SAT scores.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
46%
Percent Receiving Loans
98%
14

White Mountains Community College 

Berlin, NH

About this school

WMCC offers 48 programs in diverse fields and holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education. The 62-credit online associate of science in criminal justice and homeland security examines the psychology of criminal activity and public safety best practices.

The hybrid program requires biweekly attendance at the Berlin campus and offers part- and full-time study options. Online courses are delivered asynchronously through Canvas. WMCC provides tutorials to help learners use the learning platform.

The college does not charge an application fee. WMCC participates in articulation agreements with Granite State College and the University of New Hampshire to facilitate seamless transfers to bachelor's programs.

Online students gain access to library resources like e-books, databases, and citation instructions. Students can also access research guides for specific subjects, such as criminal justice, homeland security, and legal and ethical issues.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
54%
Percent Receiving Loans
85%
15

Liberty University 

Lynchburg, VA

About this school

Liberty University is a Christian school founded in 1971. The institution educates more than 100,000 students annually through 15 schools and colleges. Notable alumni include musician TobyMac, NFL running back Rashad Jennings, and Supreme Court reporter Shannon Bream. The institution boasts Carnegie classification and holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The 60-credit online associate of arts in criminal justice examines law enforcement, court, and correctional systems. Learners study topics like crime scene investigations and analysis, rehabilitation processes, and criminal behavior theories. They also examine areas such as American government, information literacy, and communications.

Students pursuing the criminal justice associate degree online take eight-week, asynchronous courses. Learners need a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate. Graduates can work in areas such as corrections, juvenile justice, victim advocacy, and homeland defense. They can also pursue bachelor's programs.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
50%
Percent Receiving Loans
97%
16

Peirce College 

Philadelphia, PA

About this school

Established in 1865, Peirce College is a private institution that hosts around 2,000 students annually, 85% of whom qualify for financial assistance. The institution participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The 61-credit associate of science in criminal justice includes courses on topics like juvenile justice, criminology, criminal law, and ethics in criminal justice. Students also take general education courses in areas like speech, rhetoric, and composition. Graduates can seamlessly transfer into Peirce's criminal justice bachelor's program. They can also work as police officers, probation officers, and forensic investigators.

Learners can transfer up to 30 credits toward the degree. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. However, individuals who work for corporate partners benefit from reduced rates. These partners include Comcast, UPS, Canon Financial, Cigna, and Subaru of America, Inc.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
35%
Percent Receiving Loans
100%
17

Maranatha Baptist University 

Watertown, WI

About this school

Founded in 1968, MBU is a Christian institution that offers a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Over 75% of MBU learners receive financial assistance. The military-friendly school holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The 64-credit online associate of science in criminal justice examines court procedures, ethics, community corrections, and criminal investigations. In addition to criminal justice courses, students take biblical studies and liberal arts classes. They can also use six elective credits to tailor the degree to their interests.

Courses feature a mostly asynchronous format, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Graduates can pursue careers as dispatchers, law enforcement officers, private security personnel, and court workers. Admission requires ACT scores, transcripts, and references.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
53%
Percent Receiving Loans
97%
18

Southern New Hampshire University 

Manchester, NH

About this school

Founded in 1932, SNHU is a private, military-friendly institution that offers more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. SNHU ranks as the most innovative school in the nation and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

The 60-credit online associate of science in criminal justice examines legal proceedings, such as laws, police procedures, and court processes. Students gain research, communication, and problem-solving skills, preparing for careers in court administration, victim advocacy, law enforcement, and corrections. The curriculum also prepares students to seamlessly transfer into SNHU's criminal justice bachelor's program.

Field professionals from organizations like the FBI, FEMA, and the NYPD teach program courses. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Online students gain access to virtual library resources and online career fairs.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
54%
Percent Receiving Loans
75%
19

Concordia University-Wisconsin 

Mequon, WI

About this school

Founded in 1881, Concordia University Wisconsin is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The military-friendly school hosts more than 7,000 learners annually and holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The school's Department of Justice and Public Policy delivers a 64-credit associate of arts in management of criminal justice that examines court and correctional processes at federal, state, and local levels. The curriculum reflects the school's Christian heritage and trains learners to make ethical decisions. Degree-seekers learn to analyze statistics, determine the reasons for criminal behavior, assess policy value, and tend to administrative concerns. Graduates can work as criminal investigators, bailiffs, and judicial law clerks.

Tuition does not vary by location, and students may qualify for program scholarships. Students gain access to online tutoring. The Rincker Memorial Library also provides live chat with librarians.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
59%
Percent Receiving Loans
100%
20

Northeast Community College 

Norfolk, NE

About this school

Founded in 1973, Northeast Community College's hosts more than 6,500 students annually and holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The institution offers an associate of arts degree in criminal justice with two concentrations: corrections and law enforcement. Both concentrations require 60 credits. The law enforcement concentration examines criminal investigation, police procedures, and forensics, while the corrections focus emphasizes criminology, juvenile justice, and community correctional procedures.

The college also delivers a 60-credit associate of applied science in criminal justice. Designed for students seeking to enter the workforce immediately after graduation, the program covers topics like criminal law, corrections, investigation, and juvenile justice. Graduates can work in areas like court procedures, human services, corrections, and law enforcement.

All online students gain access to career services, including a job board and interview and resume guidance. They can also join the school's Criminal Justice Association.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
48%
Percent Receiving Loans
89%
21

Fox Valley Technical College 

Appleton, WI

About this school

Part of the Wisconsin Technical College System, FVTC hosts more than 40,000 students annually through over 250 programs. The school holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The 63-credit online associate of applied science in criminal justice examines topics like constitutional and juvenile law, forensics, and court and law enforcement procedures. Students learn how these criminal justice elements collaborate to enhance public safety.

Graduates can work as probation officers, police officers, and police dispatchers. They can also pursue Wisconsin Department of Justice law enforcement officer certification through FVTC's Law Enforcement Academy.

Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent. Ideal applicants hold a minimum 2.75 high school GPA and/or competitive ACT or SAT scores.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
51%
Percent Receiving Loans
68%
22

New England College 

Henniker, NH

About this school

NEC began as an institution for returning World War II soldiers. Today, the military-friendly institution hosts more than 2,700 students annually and offers a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. NEC holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

The 60-credit online associate of arts in criminal justice integrates multiple disciplines to prepare students for diverse public service careers. Degree-seekers study topics like court structures, corrections, and law enforcement. They also examine political thought, social science research, creative writing, and literature.

Students take flexible, asynchronous courses. Graduates can work as crime scene investigators, correctional officers, and information security analysts. They can also pursue bachelor's programs in fields like criminal justice and social work.

Ideal applicants hold a minimum 2.7 GPA. Candidates can also submit ACT or SAT scores to bolster their application. Online students gain access to tutoring through Smarthinking, library resources, and career services.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
62%
Percent Receiving Loans
40%
23

Saint Leo University 

Saint Leo, FL

About this school

The Order of Saint Benedict established Saint Leo University in 1889. The Catholic institution offers a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. The school ranks among the top 25 regional universities in the South, best colleges for veterans, and best value schools in the nation. The university holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The 60-credit online associate of arts in criminal justice includes courses on topics like substantive criminal law, criminal investigation, and homeland defense. Professionals with experience in interrogation, hostage negotiation, and investigation teach the program's courses.

Degree-seekers can potentially complete internships with the U.S. Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the U.S. District Court. Graduates can work as corrections officers, state troopers, paralegals, security guards, and police officers. They can also pursue bachelor's programs.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
51%
Percent Receiving Loans
100%
24

Lindsey Wilson College 

Columbia, KY

About this school

Founded in 1903, LWC is a Christian institution that holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The military-friendly school offers an associate of arts in criminal justice that includes core courses on topics like corrections, ethics, criminal courts, and criminology. Students can tailor the degree to their interests and goals through electives in areas such as rural crime, criminal law, homeland security, and police investigation.

Resident and nonresident students pay the same tuition rates. Students gain access to library resources; a writing center; and study abroad opportunities in locations such as England, Japan, South Korea, and Ireland. Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
37%
Percent Receiving Loans
100%
25

Franklin Pierce University 

Rindge, NH

About this school

Founded in 1962, Franklin Pierce University hosts more than 2,100 students annually and offers a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education accredits the institution.

The 60-credit online associate of arts in criminal justice examines policies, theories, and ethics pertaining to the court system, policing, and corrections. The program prioritizes research and analytical thinking. Faculty include field professionals who help students prepare to enter the workforce or bachelor's programs after graduation. Learners can pursue this criminal justice associate degree part time or full time.

Students can potentially complete internships with organizations such as the FBI, the IRS, the Connecticut State Police, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The department awards credit for law enforcement training, certifications, and licenses. Online students gain access to library resources and tutoring services.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
50%
Percent Receiving Loans
100%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Associate's in Criminal Justice Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What Is an Online Associate in Criminal Justice Degree?

Online associate in criminal justice programs typically comprise around 60 credits and take two years of full-time study to complete. General education requirements often constitute the majority of courses in an associate degree program. In addition to general education courses in areas like writing, mathematics, and the humanities, criminal justice students may take major courses in areas like criminal law, government, and psychology.

Students interested in pursuing entry-level careers in law enforcement or a related four-year degree benefit from earning a criminal justice associate degree online.

Choosing an Online Program

When choosing an online associate in criminal justice program, learners should consider factors like their goals, their current lifestyle and personal obligations, and their budget. Learn more about how to choose an online degree through the link below.

What Else Can I Expect From an Associate in Criminal Justice Program?

Online criminal justice associate programs often include courses in the fundamentals of law and ethics, the criminal justice system, and government. Some programs also include courses in psychology and public speaking.

Associate in Criminal Justice Curriculum

Criminology

This course outlines the definitions for various criminal acts and examines the psychological, social, and moral influences on criminal behavior. Learners study various responses to criminal behavior, including public policy, law, and criminal justice scholarship.

Criminal Justice Ethics

This course provides an overview of the various codes of ethics used within the criminal justice system. Students explore ethics in law enforcement, policing, corrections, and court systems. They gain skills in ethical mediation and learn how to navigate ethical dilemmas in the criminal justice system.

Police Studies

Courses in police studies provide foundational knowledge of the policing system in the U.S., covering topics like police history, crime patterns and response, and the development of police procedure. Students may take more than one course in police studies, especially if they plan to work in the field.

Where Can an Associate in Criminal Justice Degree Take Me?

A criminal justice associate degree prepares graduates for a variety of careers in diverse areas. The following list outlines several common career paths for graduates.

  • Criminal Justice

    Associate programs in criminal justice provide foundational knowledge of the criminal justice system, preparing students for entry-level roles like police officer, emergency management specialist, corrections officer, and probation officer.

  • Social Work

    Social workers support vulnerable and at-risk individuals and communities, helping them navigate a variety of challenges. These professionals connect clients with social service resources and work to keep families and children safe.

  • Sociology

    Graduates of associate in criminal justice programs can pursue further study in sociology. Sociologists study human behavior within different social and cultural groups. Criminal justice programs provide a foundation for these studies, particularly with respect to criminal behavior and society.

  • Psychology

    Studies in criminal justice correlate closely with psychological studies. Many criminal justice programs include introductory courses in psychology, preparing students for further study in the field. Graduates can also pursue entry-level jobs related to psychology, including human resource specialist and psychiatric technician.

  • Legal Studies

    Criminal justice graduates can pursue entry-level legal studies positions, including paralegal, file clerk, and court messenger. Graduates may also pursue a bachelor's in legal studies.

Criminal Justice Professional Organizations

Students earning a criminal justice associate degree online benefit from joining professional organizations. Professional organizations may offer networking opportunities, job boards, conferences, and access to scholarly publications. The following list outlines popular professional organizations for criminal justice students and professionals.

American Society of Criminology

The American Society of Criminology serves an international membership, emphasizing research, scholarship, and teaching in criminology. Members gain access to an annual conference, three unique publications in criminology, and specialized divisions within the organization.

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences represents over 1,800 criminal justice students, teachers, and professionals. Members may join a variety of sections within the organization, including corrections, juvenile justice, and law and public policy. The Academy offers journals, newsletters, and an annual conference.

National Institute of Corrections

A federal program geared toward providing services to individuals and groups within the corrections system, the National Institute of Corrections offers training and assistance designed to improve the quality of corrections at all levels.

Criminal Justice Careers

An associate in criminal justice provides a strong foundation for a variety of jobs, both within and outside of law enforcement. Courses in criminal justice programs emphasize skills like critical thinking, leadership, ethics, and communication, preparing students for success in diverse roles. This section outlines several common careers for graduates.

Paralegals

Paralegals work alongside lawyers, providing assistance and support for law firms. They perform administrative tasks, manage files, and conduct legal research. An associate degree serves as the minimum education requirement for this position, and although optional, some paralegals may choose to earn certification.

Paralegals excel in organization and time management. They possess a working knowledge of the law, and apply that knowledge to their research and case work. Paralegal training prepares students to enter the field and pursue further education.

Median Annual Salary

$51,740

Projected Growth Rate

12%

Social and Human Service Assistants

Social and human service assistants work in a variety of environments, including individual and family services, nursing care facilities, hospitals, and rehabilitation clinics. An associate degree provides the necessary basic education for these positions; however, some employers may require a bachelor's degree.

Social and human service assistants need strong communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. They may work for nonprofit organizations or serve in roles within government services. Generally, no formal licensure is required.

Median Annual Salary

$35,060

Projected Growth Rate

13%

Police and Detectives

Police officers and detectives serve local communities by protecting citizens and upholding local, state, and federal laws. Police officers work in emergency services, responding to emergency calls and providing assistance when crimes occur or when citizens are in distress. Detectives investigate crimes, following up on leads and tips from the community, and seek justice for victims of crimes under the law.

Recent shifts in attitudes toward policing may contribute to a change in roles for police officers, with some job duties shifting toward human service professionals, like mental health and social workers.

Median Annual Salary

$65,170

Projected Growth Rate

5%

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete an associate in criminal justice program?

Associate degree programs typically take two years of full-time study to complete, though some schools offer accelerated programs.

What can I do with an associate in criminal justice?

Many graduates pursue jobs in policing and corrections. However, they can also pursue careers as firefighters, private detectives and investigators, and social and community service workers.

Is criminal justice an AA or AS degree?

Typically, criminal justice associate degrees are AA degrees, but some schools offer AS in criminal justice programs.

Is an associate in criminal justice difficult?

Pursuing a postsecondary degree requires hard work, focus, organization, and drive. Online criminal justice programs also require students to possess strong time management skills and self-discipline.

Is it hard to find a job with a criminal justice degree?

Many potential jobs for associate in criminal justice graduates are projected to grow between 2018 and 2028, so students enjoy strong job prospects.

What is the difference between law enforcement and policing?

Law enforcement encompasses a wider range of roles and careers than policing. Policing refers directly to the work of police officers; law enforcement includes all different areas of the criminal justice system.

How can I help society with a criminal justice degree?

A criminal justice degree prepares students to pursue roles in a variety of human and community service fields. Many graduates pursue roles in helping industries, like social work and public health.

How do social workers and law enforcement work together?

Social workers often work to foster a more positive relationship between law enforcement and civilians. Today's shifting ideas about police work may also lead to social workers stepping in to assist law enforcement more often.

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