Criminal Justice Associate of Applied Science

Would you love to work in a dynamic field without being tied to a desk for 40 hours a week? If so, a career in law enforcement might be the perfect fit for you. An Associate of Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice can help you turn the dream of having an exciting job into a reality.

Download our Criminal Justice program sheet to learn more.

Program Locations

Why Earn Your Degree?

While it is possible to enter certain criminal justice positions immediately after high school (after undergoing training), a degree is needed for most specialties and in order to advance in the field.

You can earn a bachelor’s degree without first obtaining an associate degree, but courses taken in the associate program all count toward earning a bachelor’s degree. So, it is possible to start your career after approximately two years of earning your associate degree. You can then continue for an additional two years to earn your bachelor’s degree.

The associate degree program covers the foundational knowledge needed for a career in criminal justice. You can choose to focus on the field as a whole or specialize in one of four areas: law enforcement, corrections, courts or private security. Classes are available both online and on-campus in certain locations.

Law Enforcement

The law enforcement track puts you on the path to becoming a police officer. Interview techniques, investigation procedures, cybercrime investigation and prevention and the latest police department practices are all covered. You will be taught the fundamentals of police work and legal and ethical considerations.


Corrections classes help you understand how to interact with and manage offenders in an institutional facility. Examination and critique of current practices in the correctional system also take place. Potential work environments include places like prisons, jails and juvenile detention centers.


This area of study focuses more on legal practices and prepares you for careers in the court system. Examples of courtroom careers include court reporter and—with continued education—attorney or judge. The criminal justice system will be explained, covering processes like appeals, bail, court rulings and plea bargaining.

Private Security

The field of private security involves loss prevention, investigation, surveillance and overall security techniques. If you study private security, you may be able to work in a variety of settings and perform an array of duties, including armored car escort, security officer, bodyguard, fraud investigations and more.

Salary & Employment

There is a wide range of criminal justice career opportunities. Salaries vary depending on factors such as location, years of experience and highest degree earned.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported median annual salaries for many criminal justice positions in 2012. Police officers and detectives made $56,980 per year, correctional officers made $38,970 per year and paralegals made $46,990 per year.

We are ready to assist you in making your goals of obtaining a degree a reality. If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities available to you with a degree in criminal justice, request information.

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"If you’re messing up or lacking in things, they find ways to build you up and let you know that you can do it." Jeffery, Student
Jeffery, Student