Associate of Arts Degree
An associate of arts is a more traditional criminal justice degree that gives you a broader training not just in law enforcement, but in other liberal arts areas that will “fill out” your educational resume and make you a good candidate for a bachelors or even masters degree later on. It costs more than the applied science degree and it takes a minimum of two years if you attend school full time, but an associate of arts in criminal justice offers a bigger payoff down the road.
A full associates degree trains you in current techniques for solving crimes, how to navigate the American court system, criminology and all the online communication techniques now used in law enforcement. You will learn how to detect crime, interview suspects and victims, prepare good quality records and even how to deal with the public. Many of these programs include internships that will give you hands on experience in the police or legal arenas. The aim is to get you ready for a rewarding career where you can serve the public.
– Click to a list of schools offering associate’s degrees in criminal justice online
– List of online homeland security degree schools
Happily, there tend to be fewer degrees to choose from at the associate of arts level. Top criminal justice specialties offered include:
- Juvenile Justice
- Forensic Psychology
- Law Enforcement
- Cyber Crime
- Crime Scene Investigation
You will generally need a good grade point average at a high school or community college to get accepted into an AA degree in criminal justice, but you will also be required to take either the SAT or ACT test, and usually write an admission essay and provide letters of recommendation. Once you get in, your courses will include anything from college math to abnormal psychology, tactical firearms skills, emergency responder techniques in law enforcement to sobriety testing.
The Associate of Arts degree in criminal justice will make it possible for you to get a higher level job as a police officer, bailiff, narcotics officer, secret service agent or customs agent. Private companies may hire you as a loss prevention expert or private security agent. Importantly, your degree will give you a background in understanding relationships between citizens, the police and the court system.