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Best Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice
Top Online Degree Programs 2020

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Best Online Associates Criminal Justice

An associates degree program often gives students a foundation in a topic of interest and the general education requirements to transfer to a four year degree program if that is their path. An associates degree in criminal justice is no different. Programs that focus on criminal justice often allow students to take classes in such topics as community relations, criminal law, and law enforcement. This may be in addition to choosing a related specialization or otherwise. Some programs offer students the ability to concentrate on topics such as corrections, forensics, and law enforcement. One of the most rewarding elements of many associate’s degree programs include a hands on learning component. This can include an internship, a practicum that takes students into a real-world setting, or another experience that offers opportunities for experiential learning. 

The beauty of achieving an associates degree in criminal justice is that there are many programs that offer flexible learning options, including a myriad of online programs. Online learning is often flexible enough to enable students the option of working while completing their coursework. Many programs are so convenient that students are able to participate from anywhere in the world. A graduate of a criminal justice associates degree program has many options if they want to begin a career in the field upon completion. Some options include becoming a correctional officer, firefighter, gaming surveillance officer, among many others. Many people use this degree as a foundation for further study at a four year institution of higher learning. So, if you are in the market for the best online criminal justice associates degree, you have come to the right place. Below you will see that we have ranked 25 programs based on the following metric:

  • Cost
  • Reputation
  • Success Rate of Students

1

Penn State World Campus
Pittsburg, KS

The Penn State World Campus offers an associates in science degree program in criminal justice that can be completed entirely online. Students in the program will undergo intensive curriculum geared towards a variety of topics that are pertinent to the criminal justice field. The course delivery is online and as a result offers a great deal of flexibility. The entire course of study is 64 credit hours in length. The program gives students an understanding of both the adult and juvenile criminal justice system with historical backing. Students will also learn about the policy end of the discipline and also study behavioral science, bias, gender and ethnicity, among many others topics that are relevant to the field. This program is an excellent foundation for students who are interested in transferring into the Penn State bachelors of science in criminal justice program. 

 Degree Type: AS in Criminal Justice

2

LeTourneau University
Longview, TX

LeTourneau University offers an associates in science degree program in criminal justice that is delivered entirely online. This program is accelerated and, therefore, each class is divided into three five week segments. This enables students to focus on less subjects at one time and create a course sequence that works for their schedules. Students will gain a foundation and a broad understanding of the criminal justice field. Some of the classes they will take include: homeland security, justice and human rights, criminal law, terrorism and counter terrorism. All online students begin each class on Mondays and Sunday night is when assignments are due. This program gives participants the opportunity to graduate with career options, or use this as the groundwork for an eventual bachelors degree program. Many graduates go on to become police officers, homeland security specialists, among other related professions. 

 Degree Type: AS in Criminal Justice

3

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global
Marion, IN

Indiana Wesleyan University offers an associates of science degree program in criminal justice that is delivered entirely online, though students have options to take classes in person. This course of study is made up of 60 credit hours in total, which includes coursework in liberal arts and criminal justice. All of the coursework can be completed in as little as 26 months. They offer a cohort model, meaning students will enter with the peers that they will work through the program with. This gives them many opportunities for collaboration and mutual support. The faculty of the program are experts in the field that also hold academic credentials. All of the  classes convene online one night every week. There are 27 credit hours required for general education classes, which include: written communication, biblical studies, arts and humanities, oral communication, among others. Indiana Wesleyan is a christian university, and they offer a faith based approach to criminal justice. 

 Degree Type: AS in Criminal Justice

4

Northwest Iowa Community College

Northwest Iowa Community College offers an associates in arts degree program in criminal justice that is delivered primarily online. They also have the option of taking one class per week on campus and the rest of the coursework is done online. The entire program is made up of four semesters. Students have the option of participating in their coursework  with full or part time status. This program is an excellent foundation for a transition to a psychology of criminal justice major at a four year institution. Full time students have access to financial aid options at Northwest Iowa. They must undergo a minimum of 60 credit hours to complete the entire course of study. This must come with a GPA that is no lower than a 2.0 in order for them to succeed. The required courses include: ethics in criminal justice, criminal investigation, introduction to criminal justice, introduction to corrections, criminal law, and criminology. 

 Degree Type: AA in Criminal Justice

5

Fox Valley Technical College

Fox Valley Technical College offers an associates in applied science degree program in criminal justice that is delivered entirely online. Students can take on this course of study with full or part time status. The program is made up of 63 credit hours. They will learn the underpinnings of the criminal justice discipline including topics such as criminal procedures, law enforcement, constitutional law, corrections, and juvenile law. Upon graduation, many students will go on to such entry level careers as public safety dispatcher, DNR warden, police officer, probation and parole officer, deputy sheriff, and corrections officer. Students will learn how to conduct complex investigations, analyze situation responses, apply communication skills within the criminal justice profession, among many others. All students must still pass background and fitness tests in order to enter a law enforcement profession. Many graduates immediately join the local police force and fire department. 

 Degree Type: AAS in Criminal Justice

6

Bismarck State College

Bismarck State College offers an associates in applied science program in criminal justice program that is explicitly geared towards students who are interested in transferring to a four year institution of higher learning upon completion. Students have the option of participating in this program entirely online, which offers a great deal of flexibility. This course of study stands out as it emphasizes human behavior from the standpoint of psychology and sociology. Students can participate in one of three concentrations including security, courts, law enforcement, and corrections. They ask prospective students to come in with a strong sense of self and self esteem, curiosity, ability to communicate, discretion, and initiative, among many other traits that will support students to excel in this field. Bismarck has partnerships with many postsecondary institutions of higher learning within the North Dakota system and beyond. 

Degree Type: AAS in Criminal Justice

7

Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, FL

Saint Leo University offers an associates in arts in criminal justice degree program that is delivered entirely online. Students will be able to identify the ways they can participate in making communities safer. The skills to join law enforcement agencies, including understanding the court system and the ways the law works, will be embedded into the curriculum. They pride themselves on being one of the most military friendly options, as noted in magazines such as Military Advanced Education. Saint Leo University is a catholic school that utilizes the beliefs celebrated in catholicism to create leaders who share this moral code of conduct. This program offers professional development opportunities including a myriad of hands-on learning experiences, like role playing in courtroom assignments, and field placements. This can include training with the Pasco Hernando Police Academy or an internship with the United States Secret Service. 

 Degree Type: AA in Criminal Justice

8

Campbell University
Buies Creek, NC

Campbell University offers an associates in arts in criminal justice program that can be completed online. This course of study offers a foundation in the field, including topics such as courts and procedures, criminology, correctional philosophies, ethics in government, criminal law, and more. The minimum amount of credit hours to complete the program is 62. Some of the core courses include: introduction to criminal justice, criminal law, correctional philosophies and issues, introduction to law enforcement, and more. Though the program is delivered online, students may be required to take a foundation class called Campbell seminar on campus. Campbell University is a christian school, and therefore, as part of their general education requirements, students will have to take an intro to christianity class. The online classes are delivered in an eight week format. The program is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 

 Degree Type: AA in Criminal Justice

9

Concordia University-Wisconsin
Mequon, WI

Concordia University Wisconsin offers an associates in arts degree program in criminal justice management that is delivered through their department of justice and public policy. This program is delivered in a convenient and flexible online format. Graduates of the program can achieve employment in careers such as criminal investigator, judicial law clerk, and bailiff. There are many scholarship opportunities for students in the program. The required core courses in the program include: constitutional law, college writing, forensic investigation, business statistics, and heritage of faith among others. Some of the required major classes include: criminal justice liability law, procedural criminal law, juvenile justice theory, public finance and budgeting, among others. The majority of the faculty members in this program work in the field of criminal justice. This course of study has a heavy emphasis on ethics and the way it applies to the field. 

 Degree Type: AA in Management of Criminal Justice

10

Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College offers an associates in applied science program in the administration of justice studies which is delivered entirely online. This program is interdisciplinary in its approach and is designed to cater to students who want to transfer to four year institutions upon graduation. The entire program is made up of 62-68 credit hours. Students will learn how to professionally assess situations, solve complex problems, develop exemplary communication skills that are applicable to the career path, collaborate with a variety of organizations and agencies, practice standards that are professional and appropriate to the field. Graduates of the program can easily gain entry level employment upon completion of the program or enter a four year degree program that is relevant. Many graduates have gone on to become bailiffs, criminal investigators and special agents, correctional officers and jailors, judicial law clerks, police detectives, and police patrol officers, among many others. 

 Degree Type: AAS in Administration of Justice Studies

11

Iowa Central Community College

Iowa Central Community College offers an associates in applied science program in criminal justice that is delivered entirely online. Students in the program will learn all of the top notch skills to be prepared for a career in the field including: investigation, collecting evidence, supervising inmates, correctional counseling, hunting regulation enforcement, court services administration, among many more. Some entry careers students will be qualified for include: correctional officer, ballistics specialist, polygraph examiner, parole officer, fingerprint specialist, domestic counselor, among many others. Students will be well poised to transfer to a four year degree program in a related field following graduation. This program is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. The entire program can be completed in a two year period. The class requirements include: intro to biology, intro to corrections, criminology, and cyber crime.  

 Degree Type: AAS in Criminal Justice

12

Truckee Meadows Community College
Reno, NV

Truckee Meadows Community College offers an associates of arts degree in criminal justice that is delivered entirely online. This is considered one of the best online criminal justice associates degree programs. It was created with students in mind who want to transfer to a four year bachelor’s degree pathway upon completion. Students in the program will gain a foundation in the field of criminal justice that will offer them the skills to achieve a rewarding career down the line. In order to graduate successfully, students are required to complete 15 units from the colleges, as well as maintain a GPA that is no lower than a 2.0. The general education required classes include: humanities, mathematics, english, diversity,  fine arts, among several others. Some of the degree core courses include introduction to administrative justice, criminal law and procedure, and introduction to corrections, among many others. 

 Degree Type: AA in Criminal Justice

13

Arkansas State University-Newport
Jonesboro, AR

Arkansas State University in Newport offers students an associates in science degree program that offers coursework online. This is considered one of the best online criminal justice associates degree programs, even though students have the option of taking some of their classes in person. This program is especially designed for students who are interested in achieving a career in private security, advanced corrections, or law enforcement. This program prides itself on its transferability, as they make it easy for many students to matriculate into a four year related bachelors program following completion of this associates. The program was named after Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford who was killed in the line of duty. They pride themselves on meeting the needs of students from diverse backgrounds. Students should be able to complete the program in two years. The total credit hours of the entire course of study is 60. 

 Degree Type: AS in Criminal Justice

14

University of Maine at Fort Kent
Fort Kent, ME

The University of Maine at Fort Kent offers an associates of arts in general studies with a criminal justice concentration. This is considered one of the best online criminal justice associates degree programs for a number of reasons. There are many careers related to law enforcement, and this program does its best to expose students to all of them and give them the skills to understand what is best for their unique goals. All students will learn how to conduct complex research, analyse situations effectively, make critically informed decisions, develop communication skills that will support their careers in many capacities, and understand impact and relationships from an ethical standpoint. Some of the criminal justice course requirements include: criminology, constitutional law, introduction to forensics science, principles of investigation, introduction to criminal justice, criminalistics, among others. Coursework assessment comes in many shapes and sizes including written quizzes, oral assignments, and exams. 

Degree Type: AA in Criminal Justice

15

Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Clarion, PA

Clarion University of Pennsylvania offers one of the best online criminal justice associates degree programs. Through Clarion Online, there are many course and program options, including this one, that are delivered within the online format. This program offers a solid interdisciplinary approach to the field utilizing five critical areas including: juvenile justice, criminal justice education, corrections, law adjudication, and policing. Some additional aspects of the curriculum include gaining a foundation in concepts such as human behavior, policing trends, and understanding of treatment and rehabilitation. Students will be prepared to enter the field of criminal justice upon graduation or move into a four year degree program. In fact, Clarion offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice that is an easy transfer for those who are interested in continuing at the same institution. Students will have access to many resources through Clarion, including a variety of financial aid options. 

Degree Type: AS in Criminal Justice

16

Surry Community College

Surry Community College offers an associates in applied science program in criminal justice technology that is delivered entirely online. This program is designed to train students to effectively work within the field of criminal justice while emphasizing technology. The curriculum focuses on state, local, and federal judicial processes, corrections, security service, and law enforcement. Students will explore the role law enforcement plays in communities. Other topics pertinent to the field that will be addressed include in depth communications, much of which includes the use of technology and computers, counseling, and governmental concepts. In addition, other focal points in the curriculum include criminology, criminal and constitutional law, ethics, investigative principles, and community relations. Following completion of the program, students will have to pass successfully the commission’s comprehensive certification examination to work in the field. Many people want to go on to become loss prevention specialists, probation officers, state troopers, among many others. 

Degree Type: AAS in Criminal Justice Technology 

17

Genesee Community College

Genesee Community College offers multiple options as far as criminal justice is concerned. They have an associates in arts and an associates in applied science program in criminal justice. Both are on the list as the best online criminal justice associates degree. They are also both delivered entirely online. In addition, they have a criminal justice certificate program. All students will be required to complete a series of general education classes and also a myriad of criminal justice classes. Genesee is saving students thousands of dollars per year by offering programs such as this one. In other words, students are able to get their foundational requirements out of the way at an affordable rate here prior to transferring to a four year institution of higher learning. They have partnerships with a long list of four year institutions of higher learning including: Argosy College, Niagara University, Roberts Wesleyan, and many schools within the SUNY system. 

 Degree Type: AA or AAS in Criminal Justice

18

Hodges University
Naples, FL

Through the Nichols School of Professional Studies Hodges University offers one of the best online criminal justice associates degree programs. Students can choose to undergo this course of study entirely online or in a blended format. There are also options to take an accelerated path, leading students to the finish line as fast as possible. Students will be able to gain a large scale understanding of the criminal justice field while engaging in a variety of topics like criminal investigation, mental illness, conflict resolution, substance abuse, and a variety of related topics. Courses may include subjects such as counter-terrorism, forensics, crime theory, and criminal investigation. Hodges University not only offers two year programs, but also a variety of bachelors degrees and beyond. Therefore, students can have the opportunity to advance their studies right where they are if they would like to continue in the same institution. 

 Degree Type: Associate’s in Criminal Justice

19

Craven Community College

Craven Community College offers an associates degree in criminal justice technology. This course of study can be accomplished entirely online, though students can choose to take classes on campus if they prefer more face-to-face time. The topics emphasized in the coursework include: juvenile justice, criminology, criminal justice systems, investigative principles, criminal and constitutional law, ethics, among others. Other topics pertinent to the coursework include: technology and computers as they relate to the criminal justice system, complex communication skills, counseling, and governmental topics. Students in the program will be prepared for entry level employment upon program completion if they are interested. Some career options include deputy sheriff, police officer, loss prevention specialist, and state trooper. Students in this program are given many resources to support them to succeed and be well on their academic journey. This includes online literary resources and even counseling opportunities. There  are a broad range of financial aid offerings that students can apply for. 

 Degree Type: Associate’s in Criminal Justice Technology

20

Southeastern Illinois College

Southeastern Illinois College offers an associates in applied science degree program in criminal justice. Students will gain complex skills to prepare them for a rewarding career in criminal justice. Students will learn how to engage fully in the related disciplines in order to effectively be an active member of the force of criminal justice professionals. Some of the topics include the principles, methodologies and theories behind interventions in a variety of topics, definitions of probable cause as they relate to arrests, understanding the way the law impacts statements and confessions, and describing the legal definitions necessary for having a full understanding of the field. The entire course of study requires a minimum of 62 credit hours. The second year of the program dives deeper into more complex issues including basic software applications, police administration and policing in America, among other related advanced coursework. 

Degree Type: AAS in Criminal Justice

21

Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, NH

Southern New Hampshire University offers an associates degree program in criminal justice that can be completed entirely online. The entire course of study is made up of 60 credit hours. Southern New Hampshire is considered to be a very transfer friendly institution, and they allow students to transfer in up to 45 previously earned credits to go towards their associates degree. Students can gain up to 12 credits if they have participated in law force training. The faculty in the program are law enforcement experts that bring to the table real world experience that is unique and valuable to prospective professionals in law enforcement. Another perk about studying at this institution is that they offer four year and advanced degrees as well, meaning students can continue on with their academic journeys beyond their associates degrees, without having to transfer schools. 

 Degree Type: AS in Criminal Justice

22

North Central Missouri College

North Central Missouri College offers an associates degree in applied science in criminal justice that can be completed entirely online. This is a two year program with a clear trajectory and curriculum outline. Students will be required to complete 15 credit hours of general education coursework and 48-56 credit hours of related core coursework. This is a career focused program, meaning students will be able to enter the workforce upon graduation with a path that they have trained for. Some of the classes students will be required to participate in include: criminology, procedural law, criminal law, general sociology, criminal evidence, business math, and constitutional aspects of criminal justice. There are two versions of this program, one that is dual credit/ transfer credit and one in developmental studies. The developmental studies track is for students who have previous coursework that they would like to apply to their program. 

 Degree Type: AAS in Criminal Justice

23

Lanier Technical College

Lanier Technical College offers a criminal justice technology associates in science degree program. This is one of the best online criminal justice associates degree programs. Students have the option of taking this program entirely online. This course of study offers a sequence of courses that gives students a healthy foundation for a career in criminal justice or further academic study in a similar pathway. Included in the program are trainings for opportunities in fields such as security, corrections, police administration, investigation, among others. Based on space and current availability, students can enroll each semester. The entire course of study is made up of 60 credit hours. The first semester consists primarily of general education classes like composition & rhetoric, intro to criminal justice, and occupational related electives. The third semester is when students begin to go deeper in their related core coursework and take classes such as ethics and cultural criminal justice. 

Degree Type: AS in Criminal Justice Technology 

24

Forsyth Tech Community College

Forsyth Tech Community College offers an associates in applied science criminal justice technology program. There are many aspects of this program that have added it to the list as one of the best online criminal justice associates degree pathways. The coursework is delivered in an entirely online format that makes it flexible and convenient. Additional conveniences are granted by this course of study including that fact that the admission cycle is every single semester, meaning students can matriculate when it is easy for them. Graduation of this program entitles students to be eligible to apply for careers in the field such as within the local, federal, and state agencies. There are no required prerequisites, although, they suggest prospective students have high school algebra II under their belts prior to matriculating into the program. They pride themselves on offering lab and real world experience that prepare students for rewarding careers. 

 Degree Type: AAS in Criminal Justice Technology 

25

Fisher College
Boston, MA

Fisher College offers an associates in science degree program in criminal justice that can be completed entirely online. This course of study offers a foundation in the many disciplines related to criminal justice that can prepare students for rewarding careers or further study. Emphasized are a variety of behavioral courses including within sociology and psychology. This is a very interdisciplinary course of study, and it is designed to give students a range of experience as they study, including many hands on learning opportunities. The program can be completed in two years and in the first year students will get their general education requirements out of the way and embark on more in depth coursework in their second and final year. The second year includes classes like: deviance and social control, corrections in america, law enforcement, principles and investigations, public speaking, and a humanities elective. 

Degree Type: AS in Criminal Justice

Why Should I Get a Criminal Justice Associate’s Online?

An online criminal justice associates degree can open many doors. There are several ways to go about this course of study, as some programs are more geared towards immediate employment upon graduation, while others prepare students to transfer to a four year degree pathway and to keep learning. If you find yourself googling criminal justice school near me, it is clear that you do not want to move for an academic program at this time. That’s ok. This does not have to limit the programs that you can undertake. These days there are a million and one associates degree in criminal justice online programs that you can participate in from anywhere in the world. So why not find something that interests you that does not have to be selected by the limitations of geography. Online criminal justice associates degree programs are sometimes used as an affordable option to start the bachelors process. Some students are interested in achieving a bachelor’s degree, but don’t want to pay for a four year institution of higher learning. Instead they start with a program that is at a community college, so they can pay community college prices. Also, in many cases, an associates degree program does not require standardized testing like an SAT score.

How Do I Choose an Online Criminal Justice Associate’s?

One thing that is important when looking at courses of study is that you find an accredited online criminal justice associates degree program that meets your unique needs. Programs that are accredited have been more thoroughly vetted, and therefore they are more respected in the field and also by other accredited institutions of higher learning. You might have a specialization in mind, which is good to know before finding a program. This way you are more likely to find a more perfect fit. Some students know that they want to go directly into the police force upon graduation. In this case, make sure there is a good success rate from alumni who have joined the police force upon program completion. Look at the curriculum and ensure they are emphasizing classes that dive into law related topics. This may include behavioral science, psychology, sociology, as well as the foundations of the criminal justice field. There are many ways to approach this quest. You might be the most interested in finding a course of study that emphasizes flexibility. In this case look for an online program that emphasizes asynchronous classes, meaning there are no specific log in times. Asynchronous learning allows you to complete your coursework at your absolute convenience.

How Much Can I Make with a Criminal Justice Associate’s?

A criminal justice associates degree salary is quite variable like many professions. The pay is determined by the actual position that you hold within the field. According to the data found on PayScale, associates in criminal justice salary are on average $14.50 per hour. This can go in many directions, however, as careers such as accounts payable clerk can make something near $20 per hour and a merchandiser can make something like $11. Remember these numbers are averages and are also adjusted based on cost of living in the region where the professional lives. There are many careers on this list that graduates of an associates degree in criminal justice have access to.

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