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Associate of Arts Degree Program in Criminal Justice Overview

Majors Overview December 18, 2013

Someone interested in the criminal justice field may earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in criminal justice, although it is not a common degree. The course will feature criminal investigation topics, such as interviewing tactics, and crime scene analysis. Usually this can be complete in two years.

Associate of Arts (AA) Degree Program in Criminal Justice

Students enrolled in an associate degree program in criminal justice may be allowed to opt for a specific concentration area of study, such as corrections, in which criminal investigation courses are included. These programs are offered in various formats such as Associate of Applied Sciences and Associate of Arts. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Students can choose from various courses that focus on the criminal justice field and may also opt for concentrated areas of study such as cyber-crime investigation, law enforcement, the legal system and corrections. Coursework may commonly include subject areas such as:

•Court systems
•Community and law enforcement relations
•Corrections practices
•Evidence and procedures in investigations
•Criminal investigation
•Juvenile delinquency
•Police practices

Career Choices

Employers in the field prefer candidates who have completed postsecondary education. Those who successfully complete an associate degree program in criminal justice can seek entry level occupations as:

•Gaming surveillance officer
•Crime scene investigator
•Private detective

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Those who seek continued education in the field can earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Schools usually offer these degree programs in full- and part-time formats in a traditional classroom and online settings. Online classes allow students to study at times of their convenience using e-mail and message boards on the Internet to communicate with professors. Coursework commonly includes subject areas such as police administration, court systems, ethics in criminal justice, and criminology.

A graduate may need additional training, apart from certification and licensure, depending on the career chosen and the state of location. Certification and further training requirements depend on the career that an individual chooses and the state an individual lives in. The National Association of Legal Investigators offers the Certified Legal Investigator credential to licensed legal investigators who have at least five years of work experience, who have submitted a paper on an investigative topic and completed oral and written examinations. Investigators and security guards can opt for the certifications offered by ASIS International, namely, the Physical Security Professional and Professional Certified Investigator credentials; while each has its unique requirements, both require applicants to have work experience.

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