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Community Colleges with Criminal Justice Programs: How to Choose

Criminal justice degree programs prepare students for a variety of careers in the legal system and law enforcement. Many community colleges offer options for students interested in studying this subject.

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Community colleges offer associate's degree and certificate programs designed to lead to entry-level positions in the criminal justice field or transfer to higher degree programs. Some associate's degree programs award occupational degrees that prepare graduates to directly enter state and local law enforcement or entry-level positions in security and corrections.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Corrections Admin
  • Corrections, Probation, and Parole
  • Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
  • Criminal Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Juvenile Corrections
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Police Science and Law Enforcement
  • Securities Services Mgmt
  • Security and Theft Prevention Services

10 Community Colleges with Criminal Justice Programs

Here's a list of some of the top schools offering criminal justice programs:

College/University Institution Type Location Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Anne Arundel Community College 2-year, Public Arnold, Maryland Associate, certificate In district: $4,464 in state: $7,374 out of state: $12,024
Wytheville Community College 2-year, Public Wytheville, Virginia Associate, certificate In state: $4,380 out of state: $10,218
Community College of Aurora 2-year, Public Aurora, Colorado Associate, certificate In state:$3,538, out of state: $13,256
Umpqua Community College 2-year, Public Roseburg, Oregon Associate's In state: $4,678 out of state: $8,901
Florida Keys Community College 2-year, Public Key West, Florida Associate's In state: $3,276 out of state: $10,726
Southwestern Illinois College 2-year, Public Belleville, Illinois Associate, certificate In district: $3,420 in state: $12,120 out of state: $15,750
Gateway Community and Technical College 2-year, Public Florence, Kentucky Associate, certificate In state: $3,704 out of state: $12,536
Santa Fe Community College 2-year, Public Santa Fe, New Mexico Associate, certificate In district: $1,494 in state: $1,854 out of state: $3,249
Kellogg Community College 2-year, Public Battle Creek, Michigan Associate In district: $3,488 in state: $5,402 out of state: $7,556
Quincy College 2-year, Public Quincy, Massachusetts Associate $5,524

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

Considerations for a criminal justice program include whether or not the school has an affiliation with a law enforcement entity.

  • Students who are interested in criminal justice may consider whether they will ultimately need a 4-year degree, and if so, whether the community college program they choose is transferable.
  • Some schools have direct affiliations with local police agencies and act as functional police academies for prospective peace officers, which may be helpful to students looking to gain hands-on experience.

Certificate in Criminal Justice

Some programs may require coursework in psychology, sociology and communication. In addition to criminal justice certificate programs, some schools offer specialized certificate programs in addiction studies, homeland security and emergency management.

Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice

General education coursework is often required. Additionally, many programs offer - and some require - the completion of an internship with a criminal justice-related organization.

Certificate and associate's programs in criminal justice are widely available. Students may want to factor whether or not their credits will be transferable to a 4-year program and if the school they're attending has an affiliation with a police agency.

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