Associate in Applied Science (AAS): Justice Studies Degree Overview

Oct 21, 2019

An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Justice Studies can provide students with an overview of the criminal justice system. Graduates often go on to pursue careers in law enforcement.

Essential Information

Although AAS in Justice Studies programs are very similar to criminal justice programs, they're often more interdisciplinary. Students examine areas like social justice, criminal justice and law enforcement, and they may be able to choose an area of concentration through a specialty certificate. All students must complete fieldwork before graduation, such as in internship, which could entail hands-on experience working with trained law-enforcement officers.

These programs are usually completed within two years at a community college or a technical school. Some programs are available online. In order to apply, prospective students must have a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Associate in Applied Science in Justice Studies

Certain AAS programs offer certificate specializations, such as homeland security and legal processes, so students can further study what they're interested in. In AAS in Justice Studies programs, students develop communication, listening, investigative and analytical skills. Possible courses include:

  • Criminal law
  • Criminology
  • Criminal procedure
  • Police function
  • Juvenile justice procedures
  • Public speaking

Popular Career Options

Depending on the courses completed during the program, a graduate can seek employment in a number of justice-related careers. Communication, listening, investigative and analytical skills can be used in possible job titles such as:

  • Police officer
  • Corrections officer
  • Border patrol officer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects demand for correctional officers and jailers will decrease by 7% over the 2018-2028 decade, and demand for police and sheriff's patrol officers will increase by 5% over that period of time. According to the BLS, correctional officers and jailers were paid a median annual salary of $44,330 in 2018, and police and sheriff's patrol officers earned a median annual salary of $61,380 that year.

Continuing Education Information

For various entry-level positions, graduates may be required to complete additional training through law enforcement agencies, such as police academy training. Professionals in the field can continue to study justice studies and criminal justice at the bachelor's degree level, which could prepare them for more advanced career prospects, including roles as correctional treatment specialists, probation officers or federal agents. At the graduate level, bachelor's degree holders may enroll in master's and doctoral programs in justice studies, which could qualify them for leadership roles in the field or for research-based academic positions.

AAS programs in justice studies provide an overview of the fields of justice and law enforcement. When students graduate, they are qualified to enter police academies or transfer to bachelor's degree programs.

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