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

Majors Overview December 12, 2013

Those interested in a career involving probation, law enforcement, and institutional corrections may want to look into an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in the criminal justice program, specifically in corrections. This could also be the foundation for future education in the criminal justice field.

A.A.S. Programs in Criminal Justice: Corrections

The A.A.S degree program in criminal justice is usually a two-year program that includes both physical training and formal coursework. Students explore community-based corrections, constitutional law, and criminal law. The program delves into physical fitness, teamwork, and practical application techniques. Students will examine the current techniques used in tradition procedures, as well as community-based corrections. A high school diploma or GED is normally required to enter an Associate of Arts(A.A.) degree program.


The development of communication, problem-solving and analytical skills is essential for students to be able to succeed in the program. Students are taught subjects such as ethics, physical conditioning, CPR and first aid. While a professional training program is expected to be completed by most corrections officers, students can use the coursework in the AAS program as preparation for entrance into a training academy. Coursework commonly includes topic areas such as:

•Juvenile justice
•Criminal procedures
•American government
•Interpersonal communications
•Criminal justice research
•Constitutional law
•Criminal law

Career Choices

Students who successfully complete a criminal justice degree with a focus on corrections are prepared to be able to seek various jobs in correctional facilities. For instance, graduates of the program can seek jobs in police departments and courtrooms, federal or minimum-security prisons, or jails. Those pursuing occupations in the private sector might aim to work as consultants, contract advisers, private security officers or security guards. The majority of correctional officers are employed by government agencies and occupy positions such as:

•Probation officer
•Corrections officer

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of some AAS programs are prepared to seek entry-level jobs in the field immediately on completion of the program. Some programs allow graduates to transfer credits earned into a four-year bachelor’s degree program in law enforcement.

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice are provided with the advanced theoretical knowledge in police administration, law and criminology that they would need in order to be able to pursue leadership positions in court administration, crime prevention and law enforcement. Bachelor’s degree holders who aspire to positions relating to academia or research can earn a graduate degree in this field.

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