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Criminal Justice Technology Associate Degree

Criminal justice technology programs explore crimes, criminal behavior and the methods used for investigation and prevention. Learn about degree coursework and career prospects associated with this field of study.

What Is a Criminal Justice Technology Associate's Degree Program Like?

An associate's degree program in criminal justice technology can give you a solid foundation in the laws and penal codes enforced by local, state and federal government agencies. While opportunities are available to focus on the technical aspects of criminal justice, you also learn about law enforcement procedures, corrections and criminal acts.

These programs are offered by community colleges and technical schools around the U.S., and the credits you earn for your associate's degree can be applied to a four-year criminal justice bachelor's degree program. While rare, there are some online options. Internships can be valuable to your education, and some programs offer or require you to participate in real-world learning situations.

Essential Info Criminal justice or criminal justice technology programs available online and on campus; field experiences often encouraged
Common Course TopicsComputer forensics, criminology, corrections, cybercrime, homeland security
Career InfoMust be 21 or over and complete police academy training to become a police officer
Median Salary (2020)$67,290 (Police and Detectives)
Job Outlook (2019-2029) 5% growth (Police and Detectives)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Will I Learn About?

In addition to learning about cybercrime, copyright infringement and computer forensics, criminal justice technology courses cover topics in criminology, sociology and psychology. This helps you understand how criminals, law enforcement agents and victims fit into society.

Many criminal justice technology associate's degree programs also offer courses that address specific areas of corrections. You can take courses in juvenile justice, homeland security, terrorism, loss prevention and more. There are even programs that offer courses in investigative photography, organized crime, interrogation and counseling.

Is This Degree Enough to Start My Career?

Whether or not you pursue a degree beyond the associate's level depends on the type of job you're seeking. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a high school diploma is sufficient to get started in police work at some local and state agencies, but many require some college coursework. To work as a police officer, you must be at least 21 years of age and successfully complete police academy training. To work at a federal agency, a bachelor's degree is typically the minimum education requirement.