Online Associate Degree in Law Enforcement

Learn about online associate's degree programs available to aspiring law enforcement personnel. Explore common course topics, and consider education requirements for positions in law enforcement. Schools offering Law Enforcement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Can I Earn an Associate's Degree in Law Enforcement Online?

If you're looking for a way to complete many of the academic requirements to qualify for some local and state law enforcement positions, you can find online associate's degree options. These programs, usually offered by community and technical colleges, generally award an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science. Some are criminal justice programs, but you often can take courses or specialize in law enforcement.

A typical online associate's degree program takes about two years of full-time study to complete. In most cases, you'll still need to attend in-person training at a police academy or similar institution after you earn your degree. However, some online law enforcement programs pave the way for you to shorten the time you need to spend at a training facility, or you may be able to complete this training as part of your program. Some programs are state-specific.

Degree OptionsAssociate of Science or Associate of Arts
Common Course TopicsCriminal investigations, constitutional law, the justice system, juvenile justice, criminology
Online LearningOffers more flexibility than a campus-based program, but requires same amount of time and work.
Other DetailsBachelor's degree is generally required for federal positions in law enforcement.
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 7% (for police and detectives)
Median Salary (2018)* $63,380 (for police and detectives)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn About?

Courses in an online law enforcement associate's degree program generally cover broad topics in criminal justice, constitutional law and the judicial system. You'll also gain an understanding of the psychological and sociological contexts of law enforcement. Classes specific to police work often focus on evidence guidelines, criminal investigations, judicial processes and reporting techniques. You also might explore criminology and juvenile justice.

Physical education courses and internships are common requirements in online associate's degree programs in law enforcement. In some cases, you'll need to complete on-campus physical education courses if you're under a certain age. Some programs count training at a police academy as your internship.

How Do I Learn Online?

In many online associate's degree programs, you may complete your coursework on your own schedule. This flexibility gives you the freedom to keep your current job and attend to personal obligations while earning your degree. Online learning can pose some challenges, though. Time management skills are essential. While you don't have to attend class at a specific time, you still need to spend about the same amount of time on each course as you would in a campus-based program.

Do I Need Postsecondary Education?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an associate's degree in law enforcement isn't always required for entry-level state and local law enforcement positions; however, some agencies do mandate postsecondary education. In fact, a bachelor's degree is generally required for federal law enforcement positions. You can also earn a higher wage if you complete an associate's degree program or higher.

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:

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