Criminal justice programs introduce students to crime, criminal law, the role of law enforcement, current security problems and available security technologies. Additionally, students pursuing studies in loss prevention learn workplace safety procedures, emergency preparedness plans and theft prevention techniques. Such programs generally require two years to complete; some programs may have a broader selection of loss prevention-related courses than others.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and completed the SAT or ACT exam. Satisfactory prior coursework in math and English may also be necessary. Students desiring greater advancement potential may consider a bachelor's degree or certification.
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
Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice
Courses in English, math and sociology are included among general education requirements in a criminal justice associate's program. Core curriculum includes the following topics:
- Crime and delinquency
- Forensic science investigation
- Law enforcement
- Fire investigation
- Criminal courts
Career Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected an employment growth rate of 5% for security guards and gaming surveillance officers during the 2014-2024 time period.
A loss prevention specialist is generally employed by retail stores and shopping centers in order to prevent theft. According to January 2016 data from PayScale.com, loss prevention investigators earned a median salary of $47,674, while loss prevention managers earned a median annual wage of $45,593.
Bachelor's degrees are a common next step for criminal justice graduates; however, they are not usually necessary to obtain employment in the loss prevention field. Industry-developed certification is available from the Loss Prevention Foundation, although it is a relatively new process. Those who pass the certification test are considered LPQualified, and may use the LPQ designation following their names.
Associate of Science in Criminal Justice program graduates are eligible for work in many areas, including loss prevention and surveillance. Courses discuss subjects like emergency planning, the court system and fire investigation.