Associate's in Criminal Justice Administration: Degree Overview

If you dream of a career in criminal justice, an associate's degree in the field can give you the real-world business skills and knowledge of the legal system you'll need to get started. Learn more about these programs and what students can choose to do after they finish.

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Essential Information

Associate's degree programs in criminal justice administration focus on the executive principles of criminal justice. These two-year programs also provide students with training in the practical aspects of this field, such as self-defense, arrest tactics, and firearms safety, and develop students' interpersonal communication skills. Generally, a high school diploma or GED is required for admission.

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 Administration

A criminal justice administration associate's degree program provides instruction in investigations, juvenile delinquency, and related fields. Through lecture- and discussion-based coursework, students also learn about the historical context and modern practices of policing and corrections, criminal procedures, and evidence collection. Course titles might include:

  • Law enforcement
  • Criminal justice system
  • Behavioral science
  • Police systems
  • Court systems and practices
  • Local laws

Popular Career Options

Graduates are prepared to seek employment in police departments, courts, security firms, and similar organizations. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that graduates seeking positions within a federal agency must hold a bachelor's degree ( Some common career titles include:

  • Police officer
  • Security coordinator
  • County clerk
  • Jailer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, police and sheriff's patrol officers are expected to see a 5% increase in employment from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the BLS reported that these professionals earned a median annual salary of $58,320.

Also according to the BLS, correctional officers and jailers are expected to see a 4% increase in employment from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $40,530.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates may join the workforce immediately, or they may choose to advance their education. An associate's degree can lay the groundwork for a bachelor's degree program in criminal justice, law enforcement, or a related field. Those who want to work in law enforcement may be required to complete additional training beyond these formal degrees. After gaining professional experience, workers can advance to management positions.

To summarize, associate's degree programs in criminal justice administration combine studies in business and the law in order to provide a basis for further studies as well as prepare graduates for law enforcement or corrections careers.

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