Get a fast start in criminal justice with an associate degree
- Program length: as few as 16 months
- 100% online classes you can take right at home
- Transfer up to 45 approved credits
- Rolling admissions: start your degree when it’s right for you
- Pathways into bachelor’s degree options, with concentrations in Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Management and Leadership
Criminal justice associate degree classes & curriculum details
This associate degree program is designed to give graduates the credentials and capabilities needed to gain entry-level positions at the local and state level. With a well-rounded approach to working within the public safety sector, graduates are employable in many different career areas.
All classes are delivered online.
|Associate of Science in Criminal Justice||16||60|
Program availability varies by location
All courses, 34.00 semester credit hours, are required.
General Education Requirements
Students enrolled in this associate degree must complete a minimum of 24.00 semester credit hours in general education distributed among the following disciplines. Refer to the General Education section of the catalog for specific information about courses within each discipline. 9.00 Semester Credit Hours in Communications 6.00 Semester Credit Hours in Humanities (must include 3 semester credit hours of cultural diversity) 3.00 Semester Credit Hours in Mathematics 3.00 Semester Credit Hours in Science 3.00 Semester Credit Hours in Social and Behavioral Sciences
Personal and Professional Development Courses
2.00 semester credit hours are required.
Criminal Justice program enrollment prerequisites
Prerequisites to enroll in the Herzing University Criminal Justice associate degree program include:
- Completion of a U.S. high school diploma, GED or equivalent
- Meet and interview with a Herzing admissions advisor
- Complete an enrollment application
- Students seeking to enroll in the associate degree program will be required to meet special employment criteria prior to being admitted. For specific requirements please check with the Admissions Office.
What can I do with an associate degree in criminal justice?
Earning an associate degree can help you better qualify for many different types of job opportunities in criminal justice, including:
- Criminal Profiler
- Private Security
- Police Officer
- Border Patrol Agent
- Correctional Officer or Bailiff
Education requirements will vary by employer, with some requiring only a high school diploma, some college coursework or a degree.
Continuing your education with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can help you better qualify for jobs at federal agencies or advance to a higher level of responsibility in your current position.
Because career paths vary so widely, our criminal justice curriculum covers many different topics so you’re prepared well no matter what job you pursue. We exist to provide you an educational path towards the career you’ve always wanted.
Frequently Asked Questions
With an associate degree in criminal justice, you may be eligible for a variety of jobs, including security guards and first-line supervisors of protective service workers. These jobs are found in a variety of industries, including travel, gambling, and investigation and security services.
According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), security guards earned an average salary of $34,360 per year ($16.52 per hour).*
With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you can be eligible for jobs such as first-line supervisor of correctional officer, first-line supervisor, police officer, or detective. The BLS reports the median annual wage for police and detectives was $67,290 per year in May 2020.
Course subjects and topics in our bachelor’s degree program include:
- Criminal Investigation, which provides an overview of the investigative process and current issues.
- Criminal Law, which covers key components of criminal law and its enforcement. It also includes an overview of the criminal law process, defenses, and jurisdiction of the courts.
- Ethics in Law Enforcement, which reviews public administration and ethical issues involved with public service.
- Evidence Forensics, which covers the law model and types and current rules of evidence acquisition.
- Introduction to Homeland Security, which details the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and its strategies and initiatives, as well as legal issues related to homeland security.
- Risk Assessment, which helps students learn how to assess and identify threats, analyze targets, and implement approaches to risk assessment.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every job is different and educational requirements will vary by employer. Some will only require a high school diploma, while others (particularly federal agencies) may require an associate or bachelor’s degree.
You may be able to qualify for entry-level jobs without a degree, but advancing your career in criminal justice may become more difficult without any formal college-level education.
We strive for a balance of enriching and challenging—but not overwhelming. Our faculty, staff, and student support team is highly accessible and accommodating to help you succeed in your studies and graduate with a degree.
Our goal is to best prepare you for success in your work, and that’s what drives the development of our criminal justice curriculums.
Yes, you can earn your associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online. Look for a regionally accredited university like Herzing that has a well-rounded curriculum and experienced faculty and staff. Universities that offer student advisors and online support can help prepare you for academic success.
Once you have your associate or bachelor’s degree, you can also pursue additional training or education to help increase your earning potential and further your career.
Criminology is the study of crime, including its causes, consequences and costs. Criminology students study the behavior patterns, backgrounds, and sociological trends of criminals.
Criminal justice is a social science that seeks to identify and explain criminal behavior, as well as how society deals with crime. Criminal justice majors focus more on the legal and correctional systems, the deterrence of crimes, and ethics codes of behavior. Students in a criminal justice program often study a variety of topics including legal studies, psychology, public administration, and sociology.
Though they are different, both criminologists and criminal justice professionals work in the criminal justice sector to lessen crime and improve society.
Yes, absolutely. A degree in criminal justice can help prepare you for a variety of jobs, from law enforcement to public service. The field continues to expand, offering people more career opportunities. In addition, a criminal justice degree provides a strong base of knowledge for future learning, if you choose to pursue additional learning, such as a law degree or a master’s of business administration (MBA) degree.
If you enjoy learning about the law, possess a strong sense of responsibility, and would like to help serve your community, a criminal justice degree may be a great fit. Learn more about our criminal justice degree program today!
You are typically not required to earn a degree to enroll in police academy and work as a police officer. A high school diploma is often the minimal required formal education, with a required background check. Some agencies may require a bachelor’s degree or a certain number of credit hours, especially at the federal level.
According to a 2017 study from the National Police Foundation, about one third (30.2 percent) of police officers in the U.S. hold a four-year college degree. Just over half (51.8 percent) hold a two-year degree, and 5.4 percent hold a graduate degree.
While you may not need a degree for your first entry-level job as a police officer, if you plan to continue advancing your career in criminal justice, earning an associate or bachelor’s degree is a good idea.
Associate of Science in Criminal Justice Degree Programs
Showing 1 programs for the Online campus
This program provides students with comprehensive academic knowledge of criminology, law enforcement, corrections, and the criminal justice system as well as the skills and techniques used in these disciplines. This degree can also provide advancement opportunities for law enforcement personnel requiring an associate degree when applying for or advancing within the profession. (Some states, including but not limited to Minnesota, require additional certification, licensing, and/or training academy completion to be eligible for employment in a law enforcement capacity.)
Ready to get started?
Contact us to request more information
Accreditation & Disclosures
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.