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Information on Criminal Justice Associate Degree Program

Majors Overview December 14, 2013

Gather information about an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in criminal justice and its coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

A.A. Programs in Criminal Justice

Private for-profit colleges offer Associate in Specialized Business programs; an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice is also available as an alternate option for interested students. Most degree programs in the dynamic and challenging field of criminal justice combine classroom lectures and hands-on experience and application classes. Students enrolled in the program can expect to become adept at investigating crimes, collecting evidence, completing reports, handling firearms and interviewing criminals. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Coursework focuses on subject areas such as constitutional law, policing procedures, crime scene investigation and rehabilitation. Students enrolled in some programs are required to complete general education classes, including science, English and math, while those enrolled in others are expected to complete internships in real-world criminal justice settings. Coursework commonly includes topic areas such as:

•Criminal investigation
•Race and justice
•Social problems
•Juvenile justice
•Probation and parole

Career Choices

Those who successfully complete an associate degree program can seek entry-level jobs in various fields, such as human services, corrections, probation, juvenile justice and law enforcement. A majority of criminal justice workers are employed through federal and local governments in job titles such as:

•Correctional officer
•Private investigator
•Police officer
•Wildlife conservation officer
•Security guard

Continuing Education Choices

Associate degree holders may opt for continued education by enrolling into a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice. Candidates employed in many federal jobs, in corrections and law enforcement, are required to have completed a bachelor’s degree program in the field or have gained extensive experience in the industry, thereby necessitating continued education. Specialized tracks for administration of justice, law enforcement, and corrections may be included in bachelor’s degree programs in which various topic areas are examined, including evidence procedures, dispute resolution, punishment, investigation and terrorism.

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