Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice

An associate’s degree in criminal justice is an academic degree that can usually be completed in only two years of full time study. It is typically the equivalent of around 60 college credit hours. Associate degrees can be earned at community colleges, junior colleges, four-year universities, specialized training schools, and even on the web at on-line Internet schools where you have the ability to set your own hours. By having an academic degree, not only will you expand your horizon in criminal justice, but you will also have a smoother path to career advancement. A little bit of book knowledge and classroom study will introduce you to the past theories and present methodologies that are used in the everyday world of the criminal justice profession.

With an associate’s Criminal Justice degree on your resume, a career path in criminal justice is opened that can easily start at entry-level positions with future promotions to middle management, and then on to supervisory roles and upper management in law enforcement. Having an associate’s degree in criminal justice can also offer long-term advantages that range from higher earnings to better job security. Studies have consistently proven that with an associate’s degree an applicant will earn more money, have greater career opportunities, and is less likely to be unemployed compared to those with only a minimum high school diploma. Employment with private security companies, social work, and local community police agencies all normally require an associate’s degree as the minimum for starting enrollment. Salaries in criminal justice are flexible, dependent upon any experience that can be combined with an associate’s degree, but normally can range between $35,000 and $50,000 per year at the entry level of employment.

The primary advantage of having an associate’s degree in criminal justice is simply to have an education in the field. Without a set of basics, getting a job in criminal justice will be very difficult. A typical course outline in criminal justice will generally include topics of study such as:

  • Criminal Justice Communications: A course of study that will examine how to communicate more effectively in the professional environment of criminal justice. This course will generally teach communications in terms of public speaking, public debating, report and documentation writing, and methods of research.
  • Criminal Justice Technology: A course that looks at the latest in modern technology and concepts that are used throughout the criminal justice system by examining the current practices, current public policies, and the techniques and strategies used by the various organizations engaged in law enforcement from the police force, to the courtroom, to the correctional institutions.
  • Criminal Justice Analysis: A course of study that teaches the techniques of criminal justice analysis in terms of crime trends, statistics, and public policy by understanding the relationships of the legal system and the historical and psychological influences of crime.
  • Criminal Justice Problem Solving: A course of study to understand and apply how critical thinking is used to identify and solve problems. Typically this also provides a first course of study in investigative problem solving on criminal cases.

Once you have earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice, you will also be well on your way to taking the next step in an education by earning a bachelor’s degree. A promising future and a higher salary can only come from completing a formal education with a Criminal Justice degree.

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