Online Criminal Justice Associates Degree

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If you are interested in making your corner of the world a safer place; if you are interested in creating conditions that prevent crime from happening in the first place; or if you are interested in the root causes of crime, then a career in criminal justice may be just what you are looking for. Upon graduation, with an Online Criminal Justice Associates Degree, students have a multitude of opportunities in the criminal justice field. The criminal justice system has three main components:

  • Law enforcement
  • The court system
  • Corrections.

Each component has its own intricacies, and as a Criminal Justice major, you will learn how to navigate them all. You can’t deny the fact that it is important to prepare yourself for the working world with academic credentials. The key advantages of an Online Criminal Justice Associates Degree will include a higher starting salary, more rapid advancement, and more advanced skills, all of which provide an advantage in the job market. Your career goals will determine the amount of education that is required. To prepare for a job in the Criminal Justice field, you can acquire a certificate, an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree or even a Doctorate. An Online Criminal Justice Associates Degree can take up to two years to complete. You will learn fundamental Criminal Justice skills and an introduction to liberal arts and the sciences. Associate’s Degree programs will provide the basic technical skills that can help you start your career in local or state law enforcement.

Best Online Criminal Justice
Associates Degree

At the end of almost every episode of the classic TV show Hawaii Five-O (1968-1980), Steve McGarrett, (played by the veteran actor Jack Lord) turned to Detective Sergeant Danny Williams and said, “Book him Danno.” That phrase alone has motivated countless students to study for an Online Criminal Justice Associate’s Degree.

There has certainly been a recent interest in learning about the criminal justice system. This, in turn, has sparked the creation of innumerable college and university programs. We’ve researched many of these programs and created a list of the best colleges and universities for criminal justice. Our focus was on the institutions offering an Online Criminal Justice Associate’s Degree. And our methodology included elements such as tuition, program quality, graduation rates, program reputation and many other criteria. Find out more about our methodology. (Link to methodology pop up)

Here is our list of the best Online Criminal Justice Associate’s Degree programs: *

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

Find Online Criminal Justice Associates
Degree Near Me

With so many institutions offering Online Criminal Justice Associates Degree programs, you no longer have to worry about finding a college or university near you. Now, the university comes to you by way of the Internet.

Once again, we have done most of the work for you by providing the list below. If you are searching for a local institution, just enter the location and we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our list below to find a criminal justice degree in your preferred geographic area.

(Link to local colleges based on KWs)

What to Expect from the Online Criminal Justice
Associates Degree Program?

Areas of Specialization for Online Criminal Justice
Associates Degree Program

After your first introductory classes you may decide that an area of specialization is right for you. You may want to dig deeper into the areas that interest you the most Some online programs will let you earn your degree with a certificate concentrating in the following areas:

Area of SpecializationDescription
ParalegalAssist attorneys during the litigation process, during depositions and document “discovery,” and through trial and post-trial issues.
Police OfficerProvide security and safety to the general public.
Corrections OfficerWork with inmates in a variety of prisons and jails.
Probation OfficerHelp criminals meet the court’s requirements to obtain early release by
Security OfficerPatrol and secure corporate, university and hospital campuses.
Evidence Tech
(also called Crime Scene Technicians)
Secure evidence at the scene of the crime.
Insurance InvestigatorInvestigate fraudulent insurance claims.
Youth Detention CounselorWork with troubled youth caught up in the criminal justice system.
Victim AdvocacyAssist victims as they work through the confusion of the criminal justice system in search of restitution for wrongs done to them.
Cyber Security InvestigatorInvestigate computer crimes such as hacking.

Why should I do an Online Criminal Justice
Associates Degree?

Free Courses for Online Criminal Justice
Associates Degree

There are many free online criminal justice courses, but finding a completely free, legitimate degree is harder. However, a free online criminal justice certificate can definitely get you started in the right direction if you want to pursue a degree in that field.

The arrival of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and other free online courses has radically changed the way higher education courses are delivered, and criminal justice is no different. There is a myriad of free introductory and advanced courses in criminal justice. Online classes for criminal justice include history, policy, theory, and ethics and by starting to study these topics, the student will get a better understanding of what criminal justice is all about.

Here are three sources for free online courses in Criminal Justice:


They list courses by Coursera, EdX, University of Leeds, University of York

Coursera – Hot Topics in Criminal Justice

An American MOOC provider. They offer free online courses, many of them led by top colleges or companies like Google. Learners can access all course materials and there’s a small fee for a certificate of completion.

“As a way of thinking about dealing with these problems, this course examines two over-arching issues: What should we do with people who have committed crime, and how should we identify who they are?”

edX – The Psychology of Criminal Justice

An American (MOOC) provider created by Harvard and MIT. It hosts online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide student body, including some courses at no charge.

“Learn how behavioral science can improve our criminal justice system.”

How to get into the Online Criminal Justice
Associates Degree program?

Like most Associate Degree programs, an online associate in criminal justice also has admission requirements. To be admitted to an online criminal justice degree program, here are requirements:

  • Students must have a GPA of at least 2.0 from their High School coursework
  • Some colleges and universities require ACT or SAT scores
  • Online application to the program
  • Some institutions require supporting documentation such as a resume and recommendation letters

Every college and university will have different admission requirements, which is independent of the program the student is admitted to.

How long does it take to complete the Online Criminal
Justice Associates Degree?

Accelerated Programs for Online Criminal
Justice Associates Degree

Accreditation for Online Criminal
Justice Associates Degree

Difference Between Criminal Justice
and Criminology

The differences between Criminology and Criminal Justice can be subtle. The career paths in both fields can sometimes overlap. For example, a detective can work both in the Criminal Justice system and as a Criminologist. Graduates of criminal justice programs will often pursue careers in law enforcement, while criminologists may get jobs as investigators and analysts within the criminal justice system.

To put it another way, Criminal Justice studies the operations of the law enforcement system. Criminology focuses on the sociological and psychological behaviors of criminals to determine why they commit crimes.

Career paths in criminal justice include:

  • Police officers
  • Correctional officers
  • Wardens
  • Detectives

Career paths in criminology include:

  • Police officer
  • Corporate security specialist
  • DEA agent
  • INS agent
  • ATF agent
  • Homeland Security agent
  • CIA agent
  • Victim advocate
  • Researcher

How to Pay for an Online Criminal Justice
Associates Degree?

FAQs about Online Criminal Justice
Associates Degree Programs

How to get a Criminal Justice degree?

What college has the best Criminal Justice program?

How much is Criminal Justice college?

What can an associate’s degree in criminal justice do?

Can you get a Criminal Justice degree online?

How long does it take to get a Criminal Justice degree?

 Is Criminology and Criminal Justice the same?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after Online Criminal
Justice Associates Degree

Once you have an associate’s degree in criminal justice, the careers you can pursue include Paralegal, Police Officer, Corrections Officer, Probation Officer, Security Officer, Evidence Tech (also called Crime Scene Technicians), Insurance Investigator, Youth Detention Counselor, Victim Advocacy, Cyber Security Investigator.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries do vary greatly depending on location, years of experience, and several other factors. Numerous paths are available in the field of criminal justice. Some common career possibilities include the following:

Job TitleSalary
Private Detectives & Investigators$53,320
Police & Sheriff’s Officers$65,540
Probation Officers$55,690
Corrections Officers$47,440

Certifications and Licensing for Online Criminal
Justice Associates Degree

Additional Resources for Online Criminal
Justice Associates Degree


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners. | Page last updated: Dec 2023.