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The 25 Best Associates in Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs

BCR_32_CriminalJustice_Assoc_badgeA career in criminal justice can be one of the most challenging but rewarding you’re going to encounter. It’s also among the most stable, recession-proof careers in the country. We need the law, and we need the people who know how to enforce it in a legal, ethical, and just manner. But all that requires a lot of training, both in the field and the classroom. An associate’s is ideal for those interested in an entry-level position in the public or private sector, or for current working professionals in the field looking to advance their careers. (Alternatively, the associate degree can also be applied to a bachelor’s.)

Featured Associates in Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs

Efficient, practical, and relatively cheap, an associate degree will teach you both the most up-to-date academic work on crime – from causation, to prevention strategy – and the essential skills required for employment in the real world. Below are our top 25 options.

Methodology:

  • Affordability (1/3): the average out-of-state tuition per credit hour
  • Completion Time (1/3): minimum amount of course work required for certification
  • Academic Reputation (1/3): the rank of the school’s parent institution according to US News

1. West Hills Community College District

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West Hills Community College District offers 4 related degrees: an AA and AS in Administrative Justice with a concentration in Law enforcement, and an AA and AS in Administrative Justice with a concentration in Correctional Science. Each degree consists of 18 credits in the major, in addition to electives and general education requirements. The Law Enforcement track requires the following courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Principles & Procedure of the Criminal Justice System, Written Criminal Justice Communications, Human & Community Relations in Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, and Criminal Evidence. Likewise, the Correctional Science includes Introduction to Corrections, Control and Supervision in Corrections, Correctional Interviewing and Counseling, Legal Aspects of Corrections, Written Criminal Justice Communications, and Criminal Law. Upon graduation, all students will have a full knowledge of constitutional rights accorded to accused individuals, be able to complete various types of reports, and understand the effects of imprisonment, probation, and parole.

2. Surry Community College

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Surry Community College offers an associate’s in Criminal Justice Technology that consists of 65 credits. Major course requirements include Criminology, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Ethics and Communications Relations, Race and Ethnic Relations, and Investigative Principles, among others. Students also have the opportunity to specialize their degree through embedded electives in the curriculum. In particular, students will focus on local, state, and federal law enforcement, judicial processes, corrections, and security service, and the criminal justice system’s role within society. All course work is delivered through Moodle and available online 24/7. Online students also have access to an online bookstore and e-library, for their convenience. Students with previous academic credit or life/professional experience may able to transfer credits into the program, accelerating course work, which typically takes two years.

3. Trident Technical College

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Trident Technical College offers an AAS in Criminal Justice that consists of 66 credits. Major courses include Criminal Law, Criminal Investigations, Ethics in Criminal Justice, Correctional Systems, Police Administration, Correctional Systems, and Criminology, among others. In addition, students have the opportunity to tailor their degrees according to professional needs and interests through a wide variety of elective options, with classes like Constitutional Law, Crisis Intervention, Police Community Relations, White Collar Crimes Investigation, and internships/work experiences. Taking classes on a full-time basis, students can complete the degree in 2 years. The school also offers 4 Criminal Justice certificates: Law Enforcement, Corrections, Crime Scene Investigation, and Emergency Management and Protection. There are related associate options in Homeland Security Management and Paralegal Studies, for those interested.

4. Baker College

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Baker College offers an AAS in Criminal Justice that consists of 102 total credits – 70 major, 32 general education. Major courses include 9-1-1 Telecommunications, Correctional Facilities, Criminology, Principles of Policing, Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice, Abnormal Psychology, Legal Issues in Corrections, Client Relations, field experiences, and more. In particular, students explore the philosophy of crime and justice, and how justice, duty, and societal issues are related. Further, students gain an understanding of the correlation and cooperation of police, corrections, and the courts in American criminal justice. In addition to teaching students the essential technical and professional skills they’ll need to succeed in their careers, Baker graduates will also have developed and honed communication, analytical, and critical-thinking skills that are essential to criminal justice work. The school provides a variety of career development resources, including resume building, job search direction, interview prep, and more.

5. North Central State College

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North Central State College offers an AAS degree in Criminal Justice that consists of 64 credits. Major courses include Family Violence, Juvenile Delinquency, Criminal Investigations, Introduction to Corrections, Criminal & Constitutional Law, Criminology, Private Security, Community Based Corrections, and more. Students also take a practicum and seminar to gain real-world experience, and have the opportunity to take embedded electives to tailor the curriculum to their professional needs and interests. Students are able to complete the degree in just 2 years. Upon graduation, students are prepared to: apply core criminal justice concepts like juvenile justice, criminology, constitutional law, corrections, private security, and U.S. Judicial and Criminal Justice systems to solve and defend logical arguments and applications in the field; understand and demonstrate criminal justice ethics; and effectively communicate policy and practice.

6. American Intercontinental University

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American Intercontinental University offers an AS in Criminal Justice that consists of 90 total credits, 27 of which are dedicated to the major. Among major classes include Foundations of Criminal Justice Systems, Theories of Crime Causation, Introduction to Criminal Law, Introduction to Law Enforcement, Introduction to the American Court System, and Foundations of Corrections. With an emphasis on scheduling flexibility, AIU offers entry dates throughout the year, and students are able to complete the degree in as little as 18 months. Further, for students who have earned previous academic credit or have relevant life experience, AIU’s intellipathTM program allows students to waive course material they already know, which may further accelerate the degree. In particular, graduates will learn the structure and function of the criminal justice components (including law enforcement, the courts, corrections and the juvenile justice system), basic crime-fighting strategies, and enforcement and correctional practices and procedures.

7. Holyoke Community College

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Holyoke Community College offers an AS and AA in Criminal Justice, plus a AS with an Academy track. The AS consists of 64 credits, while the AA consists of 60 credits. Some example classes include Ethics in Criminal Justice, Constitutional Law, Law Enforcement, Criminalistics, Crime Analysis & Intelligence, Police Community Relations, Criminal Evidence and Procedures, Civil Rights and Liability in Criminal Justice, and more. The Academy track is for students who have already completed work at a policing academy and consists of 64, 12-15 of which will be added from previous academy credits. For those interested, HCC also offers a certificate in Crime Scene Investigation and career specializations in Homeland Security, Fingerprint Training, Private Security and Investigations, Victim Advocacy, Criminal Justice Technology, and Crime Analysis.

8. Bryan University

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Bryan University offers an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice that covers a wide range of essential subjects: criminal law, case report writing, security, criminal investigation, legal ethics, and criminology. In particular, Bryan’s program focuses on the law enforcement side, preparing students to for a career in the field, and providing an in-depth study of the organization of the American legal system. Further, all professors are experienced professionals who teach to real-world experience and practical tips. For interested students, Bryan also offers a related diploma in Security and Investigation, which focuses on security, case report writing, and legal ethics, among other subjects. (This degree is ideal for students who aren’t seeking a career in the field, but rather in an office or administrative setting.)

9. California Coast University

9 California Coast
California Coast University offers an AS in Criminal Justice that consists of 60 credits – 6 core courses, 10 general education, and 4 electives. Major courses include Introduction to Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Investigation, Procedures in the Justice System, Terrorism, and Forensic Science. From there, students have the opportunity to choose from 20 general electives to tailor the curriculum to their professional needs and interests. With an emphasis on flexibility, all courses are self-paced in order to accommodate students’ busy schedules, and there are entry dates throughout the year. Students with prior credit or relevant life experience may eligible to transfer credits in, accelerating course work. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to: identify and discuss the various theories related to the causes of crime; analyze the relationship between drug abuse, social problems and crime; understand juvenile justice, criminal investigation, terrorism, and forensic science; and more.

10. Saint Leo University

12. Saint Leo
Saint Leo University offers an AA in Criminal Justice that consists of 60 total credits, 24 of which are dedicated to the major. These requirements include Survey of the Criminal Justice System, Introduction to Homeland Defense, Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation, Substantive Criminal Law, Law of Criminal Procedure, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Justice Ethics, and Introduction to Law and the Legal System, among others. All students benefit from an online learning environment that is collaborative and intimate, and real-time information about class schedules, grades, financial aid, policies and documents, and tuition and payment. Each student also receives a personal academic advisor, professional tutoring, library access, and technical support. Further, Saint Leo provides 24/7 access to a wide range of career services. Note that, as a Catholic university, religious components are incorporated throughout the curriculum.

11 (tied). Liberty University

15. Liberty University
Liberty University offers an AA in Criminal Justice that consists of 60 total credits, 21 of which are dedicated to the major. Those courses include Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Research & Writing, Corrections, Judicial Process, Criminology, and Criminal Law. Students are able to complete course work in just two years, and students with previous academic credit or relevant life experience may take advantage of Liberty’s generous transfer policy of up to 45 credits, significantly accelerating degree completion time. For those interested in combining online work with traditional face-to-face classroom experience, Liberty also offers intensive classes on campus. Note that, as a Christian university, religious components are incorporated throughout the curriculum.

11 (tied). Northampton Community College

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Northampton Community College offers an AAS in Criminal Justice that consists of 63-64 credits. Major course requirements include American Legal System, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice Ethics, Criminology, Criminal Law, Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice, among others. For full-time students taking 15-16 credits per semester, the degree can be completed in or under 2 years. In particular, the program is designed to place graduates in police departments, prisons, or community correction and treatment centers, in addition to federal agencies. NCC’s active career services department also does it all it can to help discover employment opportunities for students. Upon graduation, NCC students will be prepared to: understand psychological and sociological theories of crime causation; know the functions, duties and roles of law enforcement officers throughout the criminal justice system; practice ethical behavior; and think critically and communicate effectively.

13 (tied). Troy University

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Troy University offers a General Studies associate’s with a concentration in Criminal Justice. Some example classes include Survey of Law Enforcement, Survey of Corrections, Criminal Justice Administration, Psychology for Criminal Justice Officials, Foundations of Emergency Management, Juvenile Justice, Criminology, Correctional Systems and Practices, and more. Students with previous academic credit may be able to transfer course work in, accelerating degree completion time. Utilizing the Blackboard educational platform, Troy students benefit from a highly collaborative, intimate learning environment with chatrooms and discussion boards, plus access to course material and tech support 24/7. Further, with an emphasis on maximum flexibility, Troy’s online classes are asynchronous, allowing students to complete work according to their own schedules and at their own pace.

15. Bryant and Stratton College

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Bryant and Stratton College offers an AAS in Criminal Justice Studies that consists of 60 total credits. Major courses are as follows: Intro to Criminal Justice, Criminology, Policing, Corrections, Criminal Courts, Criminal Law, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Procedure, and a capstone course. Upon completion of the degree, all students will have mastered essential real-world skills like preparing investigative case notes, juvenile treatment plans, and research services; have an understanding of contemporary crime causation theories; and an understanding of the role technology plays in crime, plus an ability to use the most cutting-edge technology to fight crime. The college’s online learning experience stresses collaboration, and includes 24/7 access to course work, chat room and discussion board access, online tutoring, and more.

16. Penn Foster College

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Penn Foster College offers a Criminal Justice Associate degree that consists of 73 credits. Major course requirements include Criminology, Police Studies, Criminal Law, Ethics in Criminal Justice, Criminal Procedures, Criminalistics, Multicultural Law Enforcement, and more. From there, students have the opportunity to take a wide variety of embedded major electives to tailor the curriculum according to professional needs and interests. In particular, Penn Foster’s curriculum covers: the nature of crime, law, and criminal justice; theories of crime causation; and operational procedures of courts and corrections. For students’ maximum schedule flexibility, all courses are self-paced, and tuition is paid on a monthly basis. Penn Foster’s partnership with Career Cruising also gives students access to a wide range of career services, like resume building, local job postings, and employment guides.

17 (tied). Miami Jacobs Career College

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Miami Jacobs Career College offers an Associate of Applied Business in Criminal Justice that consists of 96 total credits, 76 of which are devoted to the major. Those required courses include Criminology, Writing for Criminal Justice, Substance Abuse, Police Operations & Administration, Terrorism & Counterterrorism, Document Processing, Criminal Investigation and Evidence, and more. In addition, with the added business component, students take courses in management principles and business communication. All students are also required to complete an externship and seminar in order to gain real-world experience. Miami-Jacobs provides a variety of resources at no additional cost, including personalized academic advising and tutoring services, plus lifetime career services, which cover career portfolios, workshops, resume building, and interview prep.

17 (tied). Rasmussen College

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Rasmussen College offers an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice that consists of 91 total credits – 59 major and core, 32 general education. Major requirements include Criminology: Motives for Criminal Deviance, Policing in America, Field Communications in Criminal Justice, Applied Criminal Procedures, Domestic Violence, Drugs and Crime, Ethics in Criminal Justice, Critical Thinking and Evidence-Based Practices in Criminal Justice, and a capstone course, among others. Rasmussen places a special emphasis on flexibility, and students have a number of options. Most notable is the Flex Path track, which allows students to save time and money through combining faculty-led and self-paced courses. There are also blended delivery formats and an accelerated bachelor’s degree that can be completed in as little as 18 months (the same amount of time as the standard associate’s degree is typically completed). In addition, students have the opportunity to complete the Leadership and Management specialization.

19 (tied). Lincoln College

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Lincoln College offers an AS in Criminal Justice that consists of 62 credits. Major requirements include Corrections, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedures, an elective, and a seminar, among others. In particular, Lincoln emphasizes practical and theoretical application of criminal justice that also stresses the practice of ethical behavior in the line of work. Upon completion of the degree, students will be able to: demonstrate a knowledge of issues, theories, concepts, and policies in criminal justice; analyze adult and juvenile cases; identify the differences in state and federal courts; describe the correlation between law enforcement, courts, and correctional systems; and more. Students working on a full-time basis will be able complete the degree in two years.

19 (tied). Columbia Southern University

22. Columbia Southern University
Columbia Southern University offers an AS in Criminal Justice that consists of 60 credits – 21 general education, 18 major, and 21 elective. Major requirements include Theory & Practices of Law Enforcement, Theory & Practices of Corrections, Juvenile Delinquency, Criminology, Judicial Process, and Criminal Law. Upon graduation, CSU students will be able to: evaluate the three main components of a Criminal Justice system; have an understanding of contemporary crime causation theory as it relates to psychology, socioeconomic concerns; and more. Most students complete the degree in 3 years, and CSU offers a wide variety of resources for career development. For those interested, the school also offers a BS in Criminal Justice (with an optional Arson Investigation specialization), MS in Criminal Justice Administration, and MPA Criminal Justice Administration.

21 (tied). Regent University

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Regent University offers an AA in Criminal Justice that consists of 64 credits – 9 general education, 15 Criminal Justice. Major course requirements are as follows: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminology, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Law, and Theories of Criminal Justice. With an emphasis on flexibility, Regent online students work on the Blackboard educational platform, which supports a highly collaborative, intimate learning environment through chat rooms, discussion boards, and other materials available 24/7. Courses deliver over accelerated 8-week formats, and students can expect to complete the degree in as little as 2 years. Other Regent resources include technical support, an online library, and advising. Note that, as a Christian university, religious components will be incorporated into the curriculum.

21 (tied). Grantham University

Grantham University
Grantham University offers an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice that consists of 61 total credits- 40 program and core, 21 elective. Major requirements include Introduction to Criminal Justice, Introduction to Criminology, Police Systems & Practices, Correction Systems & Practices, and Juvenile Justice. Grantham emphasizes flexibility in its online programs, and is particularly fit for individuals with significant extra-academic or other responsibilities, like active duty military, veterans, military spouses, military personnel, high school graduates, government employees, first responders, law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS professionals. Upon completion of the program, all graduates will be able to: understand and explain some contemporary crime causation theories; analyze historical and current police functions, issues, and responses to crime; and understand the organizational structure and procedures of the criminal justice system.

23. Harrison College

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Harrison College offers an AAS in Criminal Justice with the opportunity to specialize in one of five areas: law enforcement, corrections, courts, private security, and youth services. (Students are not required to graduate with a specialization.) Some example courses include Criminal Justice Math, Criminology, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice Ethics, Substantive Criminal Law, Criminal Investigations, Procedural Criminal Law, and more. Most students complete their degree in as little as two years. Harrison’s online course work is flexible and available 24/7, ideal for working professionals. Further, the school provides students with a wide variety of helpful resources like tech support, an online library, and student portal.

24. ITT Technical Institute

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ITT Technical Institute offers an AAS in Criminal Justice that consists of 96 credits – 24 general education, 56 major, and 16 technical. Major requirements include Criminal Law, Criminal Justice Organization and Administration, Criminology, Principles of Policing and Law Enforcement, Law Enforcement Reporting and Recording, Criminal Investigation, Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation, Essentials of Security, and a capstone course, among others. Courses deliver asynchronously to give students maximum flexibility and the ability to complete work according to their own schedules. Further, some classes are available in accelerated 6-week formats, for those interested. With classes ranging from 20-40 students, the learning environment is highly collaborative. In particular, ITT’s curriculum combines both a contemporary theoretical groundwork for crime and practical skill-building for real-world scenarios.

25. New Mexico Junior College

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New Mexico Junior College offers both an AA and AAS in Criminal Justice. The AA, composed of 64 credits, is a highly customizable degree, with all 24 credits of major electives. The AAS, consisting of 65-68 credits, breaks down as follows: 20-23 general education credits, 18 major, 27 major elective. Core major requirements include Introduction to Criminal Justice, Introduction to the Courts, Police and Society, Criminal Law, Introduction to Corrections, and Juvenile Justice & Delinquency. Online course work is completed via the Canvas educational platform, allowing course material to be accessible 24/7 and encouraging a collaborative, intimate learning environment. Students can expect to complete the degree in approximately 2 years, though students who have received prior academic credit in corrections or law enforcement may be eligible to transfer credits into the program, accelerating the degree.