An Associate of Science (AS) in Criminal Justice Technology program prepares students for a variety of career options in the criminal justice field. While many AS degree programs in criminal justice technology rely upon seminar courses, some require students to complete interactive, hands-on assignments. Prior to enrollment students will need to earn a high school diploma or GED.
Associate of Science in Criminal Justice Technology
Students enrolled in a two-year AS in Criminal Justice Technology program gain a firm foundational understanding of the U.S. criminal justice system and court system. Once they gain a foundation in these basics, they can go on to choose electives in a particular field of interest, such as drug crimes, financial crimes, homeland security, computer-related crimes or firearm skills. A sampling of core courses, as well as potential elective courses, includes:
- Criminal justice
- Introduction to corrections
- Criminal law
- Principles of forensics
- Criminal procedure
- Report writing
Popular Career Options
The field of criminal justice is very broad and encompasses careers in the areas of forensic science, cyber crime, law enforcement, police operations and organized crime issues.
There are several entry-level career options available to graduates of a degree program in criminal justice technology. While many graduates do choose to pursue baccalaureate degrees, some obtain immediate roles that can include the following:
- Police officer
- Court officer
- Insurance claims investigator
- Crime scene technician
- Federal law enforcement officer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police and detectives could expect job growth of four percent, slower than the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the BLS reported, police and sheriff's patrol officers earned a median annual salary of $58,320.
Insurance claims adjusters, examiners and investigators, the BLS projected, may experience job growth of three percent from 2014-2024. These professionals earned a median of $62,980 as of May 2015. The BLS projected job growth of five percent for bailiffs, also known as court officers, from 2014-2024; as of May 2015 these professionals earned a median annual salary of $41,670.
Forensic science technicians (also called crime scene investigators), the BLS projected, could expect job growth of 27%, much faster than the average for all occupations, during the 2014-2024 decade. The BLS reported a May 2015 median annual salary of $56,320 for these technicians. Crime scene investigation is a popular field, and the BLS expects competition for these jobs to be stiff.
Graduates of a degree program in criminal justice technology often have the option to transfer their credits over to a baccalaureate degree program in the criminal justice field. Some options include a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science. Not all positions in the criminal justice field require applicants to hold a baccalaureate degree; some that do include federal prison correction officers and court counselors.
Students interested in learning about the U.S. criminal justice system as well as a more specific area, such as drug crime, financial crime or cyber crime, may seek a AS in Criminal Justice Technology to prepare for a variety of law enforcement, corrections or forensic science careers.