Associate Degree in Criminal Justice - Private Security

An associate degree program in criminal justice can prepare you for work in the private security field. Learn about the courses you would take, as well as licensure and certification. Discover the job outlook and salary for security guards. Schools offering Criminal Justice & Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Criminal Justice Associate Degree?

Criminal justice is the field of study that focuses on the U.S. justice system and enforcement of the law. In regards to an associate degree, few schools offer a concentration or an emphasis in private security; however, criminal justice programs in general can still provide the necessary skills and knowledge for a successful career in private security. Upon earning your associate degree, you may choose to either enter the workforce or pursue further education.

Program DetailsPrivate security concentration is rare, but major in criminal justice can still prepare you for work in private security field
Common CoursesPolice systems and practices, sociology, ethics, drugs and behavior, criminal law
Licensure and CertificationMost states require security guards to be licensed/registered; becoming certified can make you a more competitive candidate
Job Outlooks (2014-2024)5% growth* (for security guards); 4% growth* (for protective service occupations)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

In addition to general education courses like math and writing, you will take a variety of courses pertaining to criminal justice, law and the social sciences. This curriculum will teach you how to enforce and uphold the law safely and properly. Examples of courses you may take include:

  • Criminal law
  • Legal aspects of law enforcement
  • Police systems and practices
  • Ethics
  • Drugs and behavior
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Government
  • Intro to sociology

Do I Need to Become Licensed?

Most states require you to be licensed or registered to work as a private security guard. For armed guards, entry requirements and background checks are even more stringent and rigorous. In addition to becoming licensed, you may be able to earn certification from an organization such as ASIS International. Becoming certified will make you a more competitive job candidate and open you up to management positions and pay raises. Because companies who employ armed guards are liable for the use of force, they will provide training when you are first hired.

How Is the Job Outlook for This Field?

After earning your degree and license, you will be prepared to work in the private security field. According to a 2015 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, security guards make an average annual salary of $28,460. Jobs for security guards are expected to grow by 5% from 2014 to 2024, which is about the same as the national average. Protective service occupations in general are expected to increase by 4% during this period. With greater education, training and experience, you can earn promotions, though there is greater competition among higher-ranking jobs.

While being a professional security guard can be exciting, the BLS reports that it is more dangerous than other jobs. You should be sure that you are willing to commit to the risks before deciding to focus your career within the private security field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

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  • American InterContinental University

    American InterContinental University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American InterContinental University:

    • Associate Programs

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  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Associate Programs

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  • Yuba College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Marysville
  • Youngstown State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Youngstown
  • York Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • South Carolina: Rock Hill
  • York County Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: Wells
  • Goodwin College

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: East Hartford
  • York College of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: York