Best Online Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

Program Options, Degree Requirements & Learning Outcomes

For those interested in working in a career where protecting the innocent and ensuring justice is paramount, an associate degree in criminal justice may be an ideal degree to pursue. With a criminal justice degree, students will learn how the criminal justice system operates and achieve an understanding of the principles concerning crime, the courts and correctional policy. Graduates will have an exciting range of careers available to them, ranging from police officer to court administrator. Read on to learn more about getting an online associate degree in criminal justice.

2017’s Best Online Criminal Justice Associate Degrees

With so many online schools and programs to choose from, it can be difficult to know which schools are considered top choices for criminal justice programs. That’s why we have found the best academic options for students by analyzing factors such as class size, institutional financial aid opportunities, and acceptance rates at schools across the country. Explore our list of 2017’s top schools that offer online learning options for criminal justice students below.

1 Kansas City Kansas Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
22%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
20%
Ranking SCORE 99.80
Read more

Criminal justice specialists who want to improve their professional skills may enroll in the Associate of Applied Science in Corrections at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Options open to students are in corrections and police science. In addition to these two year programs, the school offers an option to earn a one-year certificate in corrections or police science. There is a basic skills and a math general education admissions requirement. First time students must also take the COMPASS exam. Sample classes include criminology, probation and parole, juvenile delinquency and justice, world terrorism, criminal procedure and criminal investigation. About 39 of the 64 credits needed to graduate are in the police science or corrections field.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
2 Chemeketa Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
12%
Ranking SCORE 97.87
Read more

Aspiring law enforcement professionals can earn a certificate or associate degree in the field at Chemeketa Community College to get started with their careers. Some associate programs are specifically designed to be transfer options for those who wish to earn a four-year degree. A Career Pathways roadmap is available on the school’s website to help students determine which program is best suited for their career goals. Students attending online courses do so through CCC’s eLearn online course management system, where they communicate with instructors and peers, access course materials and submit assignments.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
3 College of the Ouachitas
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
24%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
23%
Ranking SCORE 97.35
Read more

College of the Ouachitas is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice is administered through the Allied Health Science division. There's an option to complete the school's one year criminal justice certificate program then transfer into the associate program. Comprising the 60 to 61 credit associate program are more than 20 degree focused and general education courses. Prerequisites in police organization and management, sociology, reading and writing offer a rounded curriculum. Career counseling, academic advising and student support services are available to assist students with class scheduling and job searches.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Tallahassee Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
13%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
33%
Ranking SCORE 97.13
Read more

About 75 percent of Tallahassee Community College graduates pursue advanced degrees at four-year schools in Florida. The Associate of Science in Criminal Justice Technology degree is one of the many degree programs offered at the school. Political science, psychology, law and sociology are the four fields that instructors cover during the criminal justice portion of the training. Program length is 60 credits and students can expect to learn topics such as an overview of the court system, justice administration, contemporary criminal justice issues, probation and parole and juvenile justice. If students want training that is more narrowly defined in law and corrections, they could earn a public safety certificate.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
5 Fayetteville Technical Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
7%
Ranking SCORE 96.69
Read more

Aspiring law enforcement officers can earn a diploma, certificate or degree in criminal justice at Fayetteville Technical Community College. The programs are available completely online, along with programs in about 30 other web-based programs. Distance education students access their course materials and instructors online, providing the flexibility they need to complete their education. Special services are available for active military and veterans and a corporate and continuing education program is available for those looking to increase skills in their current field. The school has more than 200 programs of study with the support of counseling services, a student learning center and a variety of clubs and organizations.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
6 Forsyth Technical Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
14%
Ranking SCORE 96.64
Read more

A certificate or associate degree in criminal justice from Forsyth Tech teaches students about the judicial processes at the local, state and federal level, preparing graduates for a career in the field. It also includes a 16-week spring internship, giving students the hands-on experience they need to secure a job after graduation. This and many other programs are available online, with the flexibility to view lectures and communicate with instructors and peers at any time of the day. The college offers a total of 69 associate degrees, 29 of which are available completely online.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
7 Coastal Carolina Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
25%
Ranking SCORE 96.36
Read more

The criminal justice technology curriculum at Coastal Carolina Community College teaches students about criminal and constitutional law, ethics, criminology and the system’s role within society. Students who choose to take online courses receive the same curriculum as on-campus students. While the courses are accessible entirely online, many exams are proctored, requiring students to visit campus or take the test at an approved testing facility. The Learning Resource Center provides online help, video tutorials and access to research databases for online students, helping to set them up for success.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
8 Wayne Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 96.27
Read more

Wayne Community College’s small class sizes enable its criminal justice technology students to get the personalized attention they need to get on the right path to a career in the field. Students can earn the degree online, along with a degree in education, office administration, accounting and several other fields. WCC also has diploma and certificate programs available online. An online learner survival guide gives students tips on time management, motivation and study skills. Online study resources are also available, helping students to be successful in an unstructured environment.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
9 Holmes Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
37%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
25%
Ranking SCORE 96.04
Read more

Part of the Mississippi Virtual Community College, Holmes Community College offers a number of online and virtual courses and programs. Students attend class by accessing course materials via the Canvas online learning system. They can work at their convenience, watching lectures and submitting assignments at any time, so long as they meet instructor-set deadlines. In addition, the Community College Network offers interactive video courses that links HCC to other community colleges and two state universities to offer conference-style courses. A self-assessment helps students determine if they're a good candidate for online learning opportunities.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
10 Fox Valley Technical College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
12%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
38%
Ranking SCORE 95.92
Read more

Fox Valley Technical College has six in-person locations and a number of flexible learning options for the non-traditional student. Its online courses and programs require a stronger commitment by the student to ensure they are on track and up-to-date on all requirements. Students pursuing a career in public safety can take some courses online, however hands-on training is typically required for those going into these fields. FVTC prepares its graduates for careers in the technical fields and offers more than 200 associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships. The school also has a career development resource to help new and future students help in determining their career path.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Tyler Junior College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
17%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
15%
Ranking SCORE 95.79
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
12 Arizona Western College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
20%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 95.73
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
13 Guilford Technical Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
10%
Ranking SCORE 95.56
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
14 Contra Costa College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
24%
Ranking SCORE 95.28
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
15 Stanly Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
25%
Ranking SCORE 95.26
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
16 Central Georgia Technical College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
31%
Ranking SCORE 95.13
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
17 Mesa Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
25%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
12%
Ranking SCORE 95.02
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
18 Dawson Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
60%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
35%
Ranking SCORE 94.92
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
19 Ogeechee Technical College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
29%
Ranking SCORE 94.87
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
20 East Mississippi Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
27%
Ranking SCORE 94.77
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
21 Eastern Arizona College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
22%
Ranking SCORE 94.53
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
22 Solano Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
4%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
23%
Ranking SCORE 94.19
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
23 Hutchinson Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
59%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
29%
Ranking SCORE 94.15
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
24 East Arkansas Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
12%
Ranking SCORE 94.11
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
25 Southwestern Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
32%
Ranking SCORE 94.04
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
26 Truckee Meadows Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
22%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
21%
Ranking SCORE 94.00
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
27 Jefferson College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
12%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
24%
Ranking SCORE 93.96
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
28 College of Southern Idaho
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
46%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 93.91
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
29 Rio Salado College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
4%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
17%
Ranking SCORE 93.89
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
30 San Antonio College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
7%
Ranking SCORE 93.79
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
31 Itawamba Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
52%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
26%
Ranking SCORE 93.63
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
32 Louisiana State University-Eunice
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
10%
Ranking SCORE 93.60
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
33 Prince George's Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
6%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
6%
Ranking SCORE 93.59
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
34 Albany Technical College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
41%
Ranking SCORE 93.49
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
35 Yavapai College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
17%
Ranking SCORE 93.26
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
36 Southside Virginia Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
35%
Ranking SCORE 93.19
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
37 Beaufort County Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 93.04
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
38 Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
20%
Ranking SCORE 93.01
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
39 Ivy Tech Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
9%
Ranking SCORE 92.85
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
40 Rio Hondo College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
19%
Ranking SCORE 92.73
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
41 Amarillo College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
17%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
15%
Ranking SCORE 92.67
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
42 Montgomery County Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
16%
Ranking SCORE 92.61
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
43 Bluegrass Community and Technical College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 92.52
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
44 Barton County Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
71%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
30%
Ranking SCORE 92.35
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
45 Northeast Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
38%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
43%
Ranking SCORE 92.31
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
46 Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
20%
Ranking SCORE 92.30
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
47 Phoenix College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
13%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
11%
Ranking SCORE 92.21
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
48 Rhodes State College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
19%
Ranking SCORE 92.20
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
49 Maysville Community and Technical College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
30%
Ranking SCORE 92.09
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
50 Southwest Virginia Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
58%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
32%
Ranking SCORE 92.08
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes

Find the Right Online Associate Degree in Criminal Justice for You

There is a plethora of schools offering associate degrees in criminal justice, with many of the degrees offered online. With so many choices, it can be hard to figure out where to start a search for the right program. That’s where the following search tool comes in, allowing students to narrow down potential schools based on various characteristics, such as size, tuition and acceptance rate.

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What to Expect During Your Criminal Justice Associate Degree Program

Admission Process

As is true with many other associate degree programs, the admissions process for criminal justice is fairly straightforward. The steps needed in order to start working towards an online associate’s degree in criminal justice generally consist of the following:

Finish high school or get a GED

In order to be admitted, prospective students will need to submit proof that they graduated high school or earned their GED. This can usually be provided with a certified copy of the high school diploma, GED certificate or submission of official final high school transcript.

Take the necessary standardized tests

Some online associate degree programs do not require incoming students to take the SAT or ACT, but many do. Prospective students will need to determine if standardized test scores are required and if so, prepare to take the test. Always allow ample time for the test to be graded and scores to be sent to the online institution.

Demonstrate an interest in criminal justice or the law

This isn’t a hard and fast requirement, but it can be very helpful when applying to a criminal justice program. Admissions officers like to see students who are genuinely interested in their chosen field of study, and might improve the likelihood of acceptance.

Obtain the necessary technology for taking classes online

Access to internet connection and a computer with the necessary hardware and software for taking classes online is a must. Each school will have its own minimum hardware and software requirements, but generally speaking, students will need a computer with speakers (or ability to use headphones), CD/DVD ROM drive, microphone and/or webcam, and office productivity software, such as PowerPoint, Office and Excel.

Year 1 Milestones
Begin general education requirements

An associate degree program will include several general education courses that are not related to the student’s major. The general education requirements cover a variety of subjects, such as history, science, math and social science.

Complete core and remedial coursework

In order to ensure that students begin their core studies at roughly the same level, some programs will require incoming students to take assessment tests or provide transcripts that prove they are at a particular academic level. If they are not, they will take remedial courses during their first year.

Year 2 Milestones
Learn core criminal justice theories and concepts

The bulk of a student’s criminal justice studies will start at the beginning of their second year. Students can expect to take courses in areas such as criminal procedure, evidence, law enforcement and justice administration.

Take criminal justice electives

The criminal justice curriculum usually allows for students to choose which criminal justice courses they would like to take. This allows students to tailor their degree to more effectively suit their academic and professional needs. Most of the major electives are only available during a student’s second year.

Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of criminal justice

During their final semester, students will often be required to take a course that demonstrates they possess the wide range of knowledge expected, as well as have the ability to apply that knowledge. Depending on the class, students may be asked to complete a final project or paper.

Transfer & Graduation Requirements

One of the major selling points of an associate degree is the option to apply the credits earned to a future bachelor’s degree program. Depending on the four-year college or university, incoming students with an associate degree can get their bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in two additional years. Students who want to eventually transfer to a criminal justice bachelor’s program should keep the following requirements in mind.

Research potential transfer schools

Students should start their research early, as some schools have very particular requirements for transfer students, such as maximum credits that will be accepted and minimum GPA requirements. The specific policies of the schools a student will transfer to and get their bachelor’s degree from will shape the student’s course selection in the associate degree program.

Meet with an academic or transfer advisor

At the very least, students interested in transferring should consult with their academic advisor to get help on creating a course schedule that will make it easy to make the move. Consulting with a transfer advisor at the potential bachelor’s degree program is also a good idea.

Get the best grades possible in criminal justice courses

Most schools that accept transfer students have minimum GPA requirements. In addition to a higher GPA helping ensure acceptance, the better the GPA is, the more likely a student will qualify for merit-based financial aid. Having good grades in your major courses can help get a head start on your criminal justice bachelor’s program.

Apply for admission to bachelor’s in criminal justice programs

The earlier the student starts their admissions application, the less stressful it will be. The application may require standardized test scores, essays and letters of recommendation, usually related to criminal justice experience. These can all take several months to put together, so it pays to start as early as possible.

Career Paths for Online Associate in Criminal Justice Grads

An associate degree in criminal justice can open a lot of career doors. In fact, the associate is an ideal degree because it meets the educational requirements for many jobs in the field. For example, many criminal justice jobs, such as police officer, correctional officer or legal assistant, usually just require a high school diploma or a limited amount of post-secondary credits. This means students with an associate degree could be at an advantage when looking for post graduate employment. Some of those potential employment options are explored here.

Browse Associate in Criminal Justice Careers
Police Officers

Police officers protect the general public and enforce criminal laws. They may also investigate crimes and gather evidence from a crime scene. Other duties of include testifying in court, executing search and arrest warrants, patrolling a given geographic area and responding to distress calls.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

4%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$60,270

Correctional Officers & Bailiffs

Correctional officers and bailiffs have the task of managing individuals who are under the custody of a court or correctional system. Correctional officers supervise individuals detained in jail or prison while bailiffs ensure the proper running of a courtroom, such as guarding judges and juries, enforcing courtroom rules and handling court documents.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

4%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$40,580

Paralegals & Legal Assistants

Paralegals and legal assistants provide administrative and legal support to lawyers and Judges. Some tasks include answering the telephone, drafting legal memos, correspondence and contracts, transcribing dictation, filing legal documents with the court, conducting legal research and reviewing client files.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

8%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$48,810

Private Detectives & Investigators

Private detectives and investigators search for various types of information on behalf of private clients. Often, the information sought is financial, criminal or very personal in nature. This information can be obtained by conducting surveillance of people or places, interviewing individuals, researching legal histories and collecting evidence.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

5%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$45,610

Fire Inspectors

A fire inspector examines buildings and plans to confirm they comply with applicable fire laws and regulations. In the course of a fire inspector’s duties, they can expect to review building plans, inspect buildings, provide fire safety education, test fire safety equipment and identify fire hazards.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

6%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$54,790

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2015)

Key Learning Objectives of an Online Associate in Criminal Justice

Associate in Criminal Justice

  • Basic understanding of the criminal justice system

    One of the most basic and fundamental areas of knowledge a criminal justice student will learn in an associate degree program is the criminal justice process. From the concept of probable cause before an arrest to the beyond a reasonable doubt standard in order to gain a criminal conviction, students will learn what takes place during these moments and everything else in between.

  • Intro to psychological underpinning of crime

    Why are people motivated to engage in criminal behavior? How can criminals be rehabilitated? Why do people become repeat offenders? Students who earn their associate degree in criminal justice will be able to provide an answer to these and similar questions. In addition to learning the “what,” students will also learn the “why.”

  • Think critically about crime & corrections

    By getting a degree in criminal justice, students will be able to analyze and apply facts, policies and statistics about crime. Students will not just be able to rehash theories and numbers, but apply those pieces of information to create or modify criminal policies in order to improve society.

2016’s Best Criminal Justice Online Associate Degrees

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
1 Central Georgia Technical College 99.80 79% 3 15:1 31%

Adults looking to enter careers in the public safety field major in the associate in criminal justice degree at Central Georgia Technical College. The 60 credit program prepares adults to work service jobs such as police officer, probation officer, homeland security specialist, correction officer and private investigator. Minimum requirements to enroll in the program include a high school diploma or equivalent and passing ACCUPLACER scores. Classes are on a semester system and emphasize practical application and criminal justice theory. Registration is completed with BannerWeb, an online portal. The student handbook and class schedules are also accessed online.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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2 College of the Ouachitas 99.77 85% 3 15:1 23%

College of the Ouachitas is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice is administered through the Allied Health Science division. There's an option to complete the school's one year criminal justice certificate program then transfer into the associate program. Comprising the 60 to 61 credit associate program are more than 20 degree focused and general education courses. Prerequisites in police organization and management, sociology, reading and writing offer a rounded curriculum. Career counseling, academic advising and student support services are available to assist students with class scheduling and job searches.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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3 Georgia Piedmont Technical College 99.70 83% 2 17:1 20%

More than 100 programs of study are taught at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, including the criminal justice associate degree curriculum. Minimum credits required to graduate are 60. Courses are broken into five segments, namely criminal justice administration, crime scene, public safety, general studies and technical courses. Information covered in the courses prepares adults to pursue investigative, security, corrections and police administration careers. School transcripts, college entrance exam scores and personal identification like a driver's license are required admissions documents. Although attendance is not mandatory, structured admissions information sessions are held on DeKalb, South DeKalb and Newton campuses.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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4 Stanly Community College 99.53 73% 3 15:1 25%

At Stanly Community College, the associate criminal justice technology degree is taught in a classroom setting and online. Studies focus on criminal justice systems and operations at local, state and federal levels. Students gain knowledge about topics like constitutional law, juvenile justice, concepts of government and technology. Lab work starts during the second semester. Two to four major related courses are built into each semester. A key aim of the program is to provide students with the ability to understand modern criminal investigation techniques and criminology contemporary theories and to make ethical decisions. Moodle, WebAdvisor and campus email connect students, classmates and instructors.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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5 Wiregrass Georgia Technical College 99.50 92% 4 13:1 25%

Interest in police administration, corrections, investigations and homeland security combined with critical thinking, communications and decision making skills could help adults succeed in the Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology program at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. A minimum of 45 credits in occupational courses are part of the curriculum. Up to 15 credits in occupational electives like probation and parole, methods of criminal investigation and crime scene processing are also offered. Upon request, tutoring can be completed in person and online. It's possible to receive credits for previous related work and skills. Exemption testing is required and is available once a semester following new student registration. A total of 12 semester hours can be earned by passing eligible exemption tests.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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6 East Mississippi Community College 99.42 79% 3 12:1 27%

Credits in the East Mississippi Community College criminal justice associate degree are transferable to other accredited schools. Up to 35 credit hours are in general education classes. Juvenile law, police organization, law enforcement and corrections are core subjects that offer knowledge in law, organizational structure and correctional processes. Graduates who plan to continue their education and earn a four-year or a graduate degree in criminal justice can work with advisors at the college to select courses that best prepare them for more advanced courses of instruction. Students who elect to complete one or more classes online will log into Canvas, an eLearning portal.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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7 Tallahassee Community College 99.21 62% 2 24:1 33%

About 75 percent of Tallahassee Community College graduates pursue advanced degrees at four-year schools in Florida. The Associate of Science in Criminal Justice Technology degree is one of the 90 degree programs offered at the school. Political science, psychology, law and sociology are the four fields that instructors cover during the criminal justice portion of the training. Program length is 60 credits. Learning takeaways include overview of the court system, justice administration, contemporary criminal justice issues, probation and parole and juvenile justice. If students want training that is more narrowly defined in law and corrections, they could earn a public safety certificate.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth7
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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8 Guilford Technical Community College 99.15 7% 5 20:1 10%

Preferential registration allows students to enroll in Guilford Technical Community College classes nearly a month before the standard registration period opens. Operating under an open door policy, the college admits eligible students who are at least 18 years old. Program entrance exams or interviews may be required to get admitted into certain degree programs. Criminal justice technology majors are adults who want to work in criminal law, probations, corrections, investigations or public safety. Each of these fields is reviewed at the local, state and federal legal in class. Students can select one of three tracks to specialize in as they earn their degree. These three tracks are corrections, homeland security and law enforcement.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth6
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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9 Kansas City Kansas Community College 99.05 63% 4 13:1 20%

Criminal justice specialists who want to improve their professional skills may enroll in the Associate of Applied Science in Corrections at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Options open to students are in corrections and police science. In addition to these two years programs, the school offers an option to earn a one-year certificate in corrections or police science. There is a basic skills and a math general education admissions requirement. First time students must also take the COMPASS exam. Sample classes include criminology, probation and parole, juvenile delinquency and justice, world terrorism, criminal procedure and criminal investigation. About 39 of the 64 credits needed to graduate are in the police science or corrections field.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth6
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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10 Itawamba Community College 98.91 79% 3 19:1 26%

Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor prior to registering for upcoming classes, including classes that lead to a two year criminal justice degree. Although criminal justice classes are taught in a classroom setting, it's possible to complete the degree online. MyTribe and Canvas are two major portals used to house the program's syllabus, class schedules, instructor contact information and research material. Juvenile justice systems, criminal law, traffic violations, criminal justice organizations and corrections are types of topics that students learn about. These topics can help prepare students to enter private security, family services, probation and correctional counseling fields. Itawamba Community College has partnerships with six Mississippi colleges and universities that confer four year degrees.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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11 Columbus Technical College 98.85 85% 2 18:1 16%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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12 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale 98.68 85% 4 12:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth7
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance Rate48%
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13 Broward College 98.65 62% 3 27:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth6
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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14 Fayetteville Technical Community College 98.58 59% 6 20:1 7%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth7
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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15 Northwest Mississippi Community College 98.56 77% 3 23:1 18%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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16 Coastline Community College 98.28 7% 3 42:1 16%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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17 Bay Path University 98.26 94% 1 12:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate63%
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18 Albany Technical College 98.20 9% 1 18:1 41%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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19 El Paso Community College 98.18 64% 4 26:1 10%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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20 St Petersburg College 98.13 53% 6 22:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth8
  • # Online Programs5
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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21 Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus 97.94 33% 2 14:1 20%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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22 Tiffin University 97.84 78% 2 18:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth6
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate54%
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23 Tompkins Cortland Community College 97.83 82% 5 17:1 22%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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24 Clark State Community College 97.79 54% 4 14:1 9%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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25 Chaminade University of Honolulu 97.79 84% 1 11:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate85%
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26 East Arkansas Community College 97.76 61% 2 16:1 12%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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27 Mayland Community College 97.75 55% 1 14:1 34%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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28 State Fair Community College 97.75 77% 1 17:1 21%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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29 Northeast Community College 97.75 64% 2 17:1 43%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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30 Trident Technical College 97.75 82% 3 21:1 10%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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31 Maysville Community and Technical College 97.74 75% 1 11:1 30%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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32 Saint Leo University 97.73 64% 1 15:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth9
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate72%
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33 Roger Williams University 97.73 76% 2 15:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate77%
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34 Florida State College at Jacksonville 97.66 48% 4 22:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth9
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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35 Miami Dade College 97.65 59% 4 23:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth9
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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36 University of Great Falls 97.60 83% 2 13:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate65%
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37 Hutchinson Community College 97.59 47% 2 15:1 29%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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38 Davenport University 97.59 85% 3 14:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate93%
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39 Ashland Community and Technical College 97.59 76% 1 14:1 20%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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40 Bunker Hill Community College 97.59 55% 5 17:1 11%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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41 Central Texas College 97.56 38% 3 18:1 14%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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42 Baltimore City Community College 97.55 65% 2 17:1 5%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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43 Ivy Tech Community College 97.53 55% 3 19:1 9%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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44 Bethel University 97.52 75% 2 12:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate57%
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45 Eastern Florida State College 97.51 45% 3 24:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth6
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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46 Owensboro Community and Technical College 97.50 71% 1 13:1 30%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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47 Hopkinsville Community College 97.50 83% 1 19:1 19%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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48 York County Community College 97.50 66% 1 14:1 17%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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49 Goodwin College 97.44 91% 1 10:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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Additional Resources

The criminal justice field is broad, with a great deal of information to learn and understand. The following is a brief list of organizations that can help advance a prospective student’s criminal justice career.

American Criminal Justice Association – Lambda Alpha Epsilon

The ACJA-LAE is an organization open to both criminal justice professionals and students studying to work in the criminal justice field. The ACJA-LAE has numerous resources available to students, such as scholarships, academic competitions and career information.

American Society of Criminology

The ASC is an international organization with the broad task of increasing the practical and scholarly level of knowledge concerning crime, crime prevention and delinquency. Part of the ASC’s goals is to promote academic research in criminology.

National Criminal Intelligence Resource Center

The NCIRC is a hub of criminal justice resources designed to assist criminal justice professionals. The information contained at the NCIRC website can also be informative to criminal justice students by exposing them to key points in the criminal justice field.

National Criminal Justice Association

Because the NCJA is intended to represent government entities found at multiple levels, the association addresses current issues in crime and prevention on a broad scale.