Criminal Justice (Corrections) Associate Degree
Learn about criminal justice associate degree programs that offer courses or a specialization in corrections. Find out about prerequisites for this type of program, as well as potential careers associated with a criminal justice degree. Consider options for further education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Are There Associate Degree Programs in Criminal Justice?
Many community colleges and some universities offer 2-year associate degree programs in criminal justice. Additionally, you can even find some criminal justice associate degree programs with specializations in such areas as corrections, juvenile justice, law enforcement or security.
|Typical Specializations||Corrections, Juvenile Justice, Law Enforcement, Security|
|Common Courses||Crime in America, forensic investigations, abnormal psychology, correctional procedures, race and ethnicity|
|Prerequisites||High school diploma (or equivalent) and SAT/ACT scores; prior work, volunteer experience or internships may be helpful|
|Potential Careers||Corrections officer, case officer, victim representative, hearings and release officer, private investigator|
|Continuing Education||Bachelor's degree in related field|
|Median Salary (2020)||$47,410 (for correctional officers and jailers)*|
|Job Outlook (2019-29)||7% decline (for all correctional officers and jailers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Will I Learn?
While earning an associate degree in criminal justice, you might have the option to specialize in corrections. This specialization would teach you about correctional facility protocols and the role of corrections within the justice system. An associate degree program may also include general education courses, such as history, English and mathematics. The following are examples of courses you could take in a criminal justice associate degree program:
- Correctional procedures
- Crime in America
- Race and ethnicity
- Peace officer training
- Legal issues in corrections
- Forensic investigations
- Social statistics
- Law enforcement administration
- Abnormal psychology
Are There Any Prerequisites?
If you want to prepare for this type of degree program in high school, you could take classes in pre-law, history, psychology or sociology. Work experience, volunteerism and internships at correctional facilities may also help you prepare. Additionally, most admissions committees will require you to have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. You may also have to submit ACT or SAT scores.
What Careers Could I Pursue with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice?
An associate degree program in criminal justice with an emphasis in corrections could prepare you for a number of careers. You could work in correctional facilities, private security firms, police stations or government agencies. For example, you could apply for the following jobs:
- Corrections officer
- Hearings and release officer
- Special investigations agent
- Victim representative
- Private investigator
- Transportation Security Administration officer
- Case officer
- Corrections crew leader
Can I Continue My Education?
An associate degree program in criminal justice or corrections could prepare you for a bachelor's degree program in a related field. Such programs typically take four years to finish, although some of the credits earned in an associate program may transfer to a bachelor's program. By earning a bachelor's in this field, you would further your criminal justice knowledge and training. After completing your undergraduate education, you could go on to pursue a graduate degree.