The criminal justice system is complicated and made up of many different institutions. If you want to work in law enforcement or any other area of justice, you should get a degree in criminal justice. There are several career opportunities in criminal justice at the associate level, which is an education in the field. Students study the basic policies, procedures, practices, laws, and systems that make up the foundational knowledge of law enforcement, corrections, or criminal law in the online associate program.
Why an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice?
Associate degrees usually take at least two years of full-time study, half as long as a bachelor’s degree. If you want to save money, having fewer credit hours and paying less is good. Many online associate programs in criminal justice let you finish your degree in your spare time without quitting your job.
Also, an associate’s degree in criminal justice might be the best way to get the most career opportunities for your money. There are many jobs in criminal justice that require applicants to have a high school diploma or an associate degree. This makes this level of education a good choice for students who want to get into the field quickly. You can work as a paralegal, a law officer, a correctional officer, or a security officer if you have an associate.
Inside an Associate Degree Program in Criminal Justice
The courses for an online associate’s degree in criminal justice will mix general education classes and criminal justice courses. Available education courses usually include work in writing, English, basic maths, and various social science, history, and life science courses. Major studies in criminal justice include introductory and advanced courses on criminology, psychology, criminal law, criminal procedures, and how to handle a crisis. Most of the time, class lectures will be on video, and assignments will be sent to you electronically. There are also regular exams and things like research papers and slideshow presentations.
Most associate programs require 60 course credit hours or at least two years (four semesters) of coursework. Many schools also let students get their associate coursework by going to school part-time, especially if they can do their classes and lectures independently.
What’s Next for People with an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice?
With an online associate’s degree in criminal justice, you can look for different opportunities in law enforcement. There are jobs in prisons, city or state police, and other places. Many law enforcement agencies want you to have a high school diploma and some college credits. Others might want you to have an associate’s coursework or even a bachelor’s degree. It’s important to check the job requirements for the agency you want to work for.
An associate career in criminal justice can also lead to jobs as a paralegal or administrator. Paralegals do research, keep records, and write legal documents for lawyers. They must have at least an associate’s degree. A degree in criminal justice helps paralegals most when they work in a criminal law setting.
You can continue your education in criminal justice past the associate level if you want to. You can get a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or even a doctorate in some programs in this field. Some bachelor’s programs let you use the credits from your associate degree toward your bachelor’s. This is called a “degree completion program.” You can find many of these programs online. Your chances of getting a job may improve if you get a bachelor’s program. You’ll be able to compete more aggressively for law enforcement jobs, and you’ll also be more qualified for jobs at government agencies, which tend to have stricter educational requirements.