Overview: An Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice

In general, a criminal justice equips you with knowledge of crime, punishment, law, order, and the court and correction system. At the very foundation of studying criminal justice, one is expected to understand personal and professional rights and the process of putting someone in jail.

Specific courses and concentration, however, is dependent on one’s personal interests and aspirations. If one wishes to become a detective, for example, courses that focus on corrections and abnormal psychology would be great to take.

If you wish to pursue a career in criminal justice but don’t have time or money for a bachelor’s degree, most entry-level jobs in criminal justice only require you to have obtained an associate’s degree.

Typical Course Outline

Not only does one have to know how the legal system works, it is also essential for one to understand some of the root causes of crime and how to combat it most effectively. As a result, the study of criminal justice is very interdisciplinary, with aspects of psychology, sociology, economy, and more. Here are some common topics one may come across when studying for their associate’s in criminal justice:

  • Criminology, victimology, and sociology
  • The realities of juvenile and adult incarceration
  • The social, economic, and cultural influences on crime
  • Drug addiction and ways for to successfully eradiate it
  • Complete overview of the current U.S legal system, or the legal system at the place you are currently studying in
  • What exactly is the role of the court
  • Domestic terrorism and homeland security
  • Immigration and border control management

Employment Opportunities

An associate’s degree in criminal justice typically makes you eligible for most entry-level jobs in government, court administration, and/or law enforcement. Some of the jobs you can acquire are:

  • Police officer
  • Probation officer
  • Security guard
  • Paralegal
  • Victim advocate
  • Legal secretary
  • Court administrator

These are just some of the jobs in the criminal justice field. Most of these jobs also allow for promotions and chances to move higher up!

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics project criminal justice jobs to grow 7% by 2020.

Featured Image: depositphotos/rickmcmillin