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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Justice Studies

Majors Overview December 14, 2013

Get information about justice studies and its coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

A.A.S. Programs in Justice Studies

Students enrolled in an associate degree program may complete it within two years of full-time study. A program with a justice studies concentration is devised to teach students the knowledge and skills related to terrorism, homeland security or law enforcement. A fundamental understanding of the American criminal justice system is imparted to students. Some schools offer AAS programs only in online formats. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Programs allow coursework to be tailored to suit the specific justice career path intended to be taken by students after they graduate. Certificate specializations, such as legal processes and homeland security programs, are offered by some AAS programs. Students can augment it with coursework tailored according to their area of interest. Students enrolled in some programs have to complete internships before being allowed to graduate, whereby they can gain hands-on experience working under the supervision of trained law-enforcement officers. Coursework may possibly include topic areas such as:

•Public speaking
•Criminal law
•Juvenile justice procedures
•Police function
•Criminal procedure

Career Choices

The courses they complete during the program will help a graduate seek entry-level jobs in various justice areas. They can use analytical, investigative, listening and Communication skills in career positions such as:

•Border patrol officer
•Police officer
•Corrections officer

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates may need to undergo additional training imparted via law enforcement agencies – such as police academy training – before they can seek a variety of entry-level careers.

These professionals can opt for continued education via bachelor’s degrees related to justice studies and criminal justice, thereby enhancing their advancement prospects which could include positions such as federal agents, probation officers, or correction treatment specialists. Beyond the under-graduate level, masters and doctoral programs in justice studies could be pursued by graduates to enable them to seek leadership roles in the field or careers in academia or research.

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