Associate of Specialized Business (ASB) programs in criminal justice are offered through some schools, but Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Science programs are more readily available. Students in these programs learn how criminals are processed through the legal system, which includes studying law enforcement, court processes and corrections. Programs also give students the opportunity to explore how crime affects communities and the theories behind correctional methods. In total, they usually take two years to complete.
Most associate's degree programs in criminal justice are designed to qualify students to directly enter the workforce upon graduation. Associate's degree graduates who aspire to work in law enforcement might need to complete additional internal training, such as attending a police academy, before beginning work. Beyond the associate's degree level, students can enroll in bachelor's or master's degree programs in criminal justice.
Associate's in Specialized Business in Criminal Justice
Programs generally include a hands-on portion that allows students to practice the skills they've learned in the program, such as crime scene investigation, interrogation and report writing, in a real-world setting. Subjects covered in a program may include:
- Court procedures
- Constitutional law
- Juvenile law
- Drug and gang crimes
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a criminal justice associate's degree program are prepared for entry-level work in law enforcement, corrections or security. Individuals may find work in court houses, sheriff's departments, police forces and prisons. Possible job titles include:
- Corrections officer
- Security guard
- Court clerk
- Police officer
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and detectives were projected to see a 4% increase in employment opportunities from 2014-2024, which is slower than average. The median annual wages for police and sheriff's patrol officers were $58,320 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Individuals who wish to work in probation or correctional treatment will typically need a bachelor's degree, though a master's degree could be preferred in some cases and could supplement work experience in the field. Professionals in these fields may also be required to undergo additional training through their employer or a government agency. A master's degree in criminal justice can lead to management and leadership positions in a variety of related fields, including corrections, law enforcement or social services, as well as positions in government organizations.
Once you earn an ASB in criminal justice, you have the knowledge of crime and the legal expertise you need for entry-level law enforcement jobs.