Associate Degree in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement

Earning an associate's degree in criminal justice with a concentration in law enforcement could prepare you to become a police officer. Learn the classes offered in these programs and the employment outlook. Schools offering Law Enforcement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Prerequisites for an Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice?

You need at least a high school diploma to apply to associate's degree programs in criminal justice. Some admissions committees may also ask you to submit standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and high school transcripts. You could prepare for this degree program by taking classes in psychology, sociology, legal studies or history. Additionally, work experience in law enforcement could be beneficial preparation.

Prerequisites High school diploma or GED, ACT or SAT scores, letter(s) of recommendation; work experience in law enforcement environment is preferable
Online Availability Online programs are available
Common Courses Law enforcement theory, private security, homeland security, criminal justice history, drugs and society
Career Outlook 2014-2024* 4% (police officers and detectives)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Find This Degree Online?

Associate's degree programs in criminal justice with a concentration in law enforcement can be found online as well as on university and college campuses. Online programs may administer classes through real-time, chat-based interactions or through discussion forums and email. Degree programs in both formats can usually be completed in 1-2 years.

What Can I Expect from the Curriculum?

Within a criminal justice associate's degree program, you could specialize in law enforcement. You might learn about criminal justice history, law enforcement theory and law enforcement institutions. Most associate's degree programs also incorporate general education courses into the curriculum. The follow are examples of classes you could take:

  • Juvenile justice systems
  • Police investigation
  • Private security
  • Corrections facilities
  • Behavioral science and psychology
  • Drugs and society
  • Parole protocols
  • Homeland security

What Is the Job Market Like?

One common career for criminal justice majors is police officer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an expected employment growth rate of 4% between 2014 and 2024 for police officers and detectives. The opportunities for employment will vary based on government budgets, but prospects are expected to be favorable overall -- especially for those with experience and a bachelor's degree. The BLS reported a median annual salary of $60,270 for police and detectives in May 2015.

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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