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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Justice Administration

Majors Overview December 11, 2013

Those that want to be involved in law enforcement may want to consider studying justice administration. Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program usually qualify graduates for entry-level jobs in corrections, criminal investigation, and policing, and takes two years to finish.

A.A. Programs in Justice Administration

Schools offer various types of associate degree programs in justice administration. Typically, studies in mathematics, criminal psychology and sociology are incorporated in an Associate of Science (A.S.) program. Contrastingly, studies in U.S legal history, public speaking and English, composition comprise the coursework in an Associate of Arts program.

Programs may offer concentrations in criminal justice administration or administration of justice; students enrolled in both types are trained to understand processing techniques, evidence collection, investigative procedures, policing, common behavioral traits of victims and criminals, and corrections procedures. Admission criteria in an associate degree program in justice administration typically require applicants to hold a high school diploma and transcripts to corroborate courses done.


Coursework is a variation of courses taught in A.A. and A.S. programs. Commonly, coursework betrays an interdisciplinary approach to justice administration and, consequently, this result in a vast range of courses that involve interweaving of basic requirements in criminal law study. Coursework covers topic areas such as:

•Criminal investigations
•Police procedure
•Legal processes and courts
•Juvenile offenders
•Evidence collection and legal principles
•Criminal law concepts

Job and Wage Outlook

Those who successfully complete an associate degree in justice administration usually seek entry-level jobs in law enforcement as corrections officers, probation officers, parole officers and police officers. A job growth of 10% has been predicted for detectives and police during the decade from 2008 to 2018 – about equal to the average for all professions (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). The corresponding job growth rate during this period, for corrections officers was projected at nine percent, while it was 19% for correctional treatment specialists, including parole officers, as well as for probation officers.

In May 2010, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists took home an average annual wage of $51,240 (BLS), while correctional officers and jailers earned an average annual pay packet of $42,780 and police and sheriff’s patrol officers took home an average of $55,620.

Continuing Education Choices

Students enrolled in some associate degree programs in justice administration are allowed to transfer credits to a bachelor’s degree program in the field. Some law enforcement positions require candidates to undergo training at academies before being allowed to start on their initial assignments.

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