Best Online Associate in Criminal Justice

Best Online Associate in Criminal Justice

Find top-ranked online associate in administration of justice degree programs to help develop students problem-solving skills, refine communication techniques, learn strategies for community engagement, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • The associate degree in criminal justice is an affordable way to get started on your college education. The typical associate degree will take about two years to complete.

  • Many community colleges and two-year schools offer both traditional and online degree programs for students pursuing their associate degree in criminal justice.

  • Earning an online associate degree in criminal justice can prepare you for a variety of entry level jobs in your field. Many students also continue into a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice or a related area.

Featured Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Justice Degrees

As an associate in the criminal justice or administration of justice, you’ll gain the training and knowledge required to enter a career in the criminal justice field in an area such as law enforcement, court administration, or corrections. The online associate degree is a great way for working law enforcement and corrections professionals to advance in their careers.

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This roughly 60-credit degree provides students with the foundational and job-specific knowledge needed to enter the workforce as police officers, security guards, paralegals, victim advocates, and sheriff patrol officers. Though it may be possible to become a police officer with a high school diploma, earning a criminal justice associate degree can improve your chances of advancing to a leadership role in law enforcement. The online associate degree can also allow you to advance into other areas of the criminal justice field just as private sector security and Homeland Security.

You may be required to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field in order to advance into certain leadership roles. The associate degree in the administration of justice is an affordable first step on the way to a four-year criminal justice program.

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Whether you earn your associate degree in criminal justice online or on-campus, this 60-credit degree typically takes about two years to complete. Some schools offer an accelerated option where prospective students can earn an online associate degree in criminal justice in as little as 18 months.

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The typical associate-level criminal justice program will include both general education courses and core courses in subjects specific to criminal law. Criminal justice students will typically also take courses in areas such as corrections, Constitutional law and juvenile justice.

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Learn more about how to major in criminal justice.

Best Online Associate in Criminal Justice Degree Programs

An associate degree is a great way for many to start their educational journey, but you may want to also consider an online bachelor’s in criminal justice.

25 Best Online Associate in Criminal Justice Degree Programs

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    4K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminology And Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  3. #3

    Blinn College

    Brenham , TX

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    11%

    Student body

    13K

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Criminal Justice Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    AA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  4. #4

    Lone Star College System

    The Woodlands , TX

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    48K

    Online Degrees

    AA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    9K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #6

    St. Petersburg College

    St. Petersburg , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    17K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #7

    Monroe Community College

    Rochester , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    8K

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Criminal Justice

    Concentrations

    • Institutional Corrections
    • Required Credits: 60-62
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Hybrid
    AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  8. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    24%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    820/16

    Online Degrees

    AS in Associate Of Science

    Concentrations

    • Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 64
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #9

    MacCormac College

    Chicago , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #10

    Central Texas College

    Killeen , TX

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    7K

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Criminal Justice

    Concentrations

    • Corrections Specialization
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  11. #11

    Point University

    West Point , GA

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    995/19

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Social Science

    Concentrations

    • Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  12. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    4K

    Online Degrees

    AA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  13. Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    6K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  14. #14

    Madonna University

    Livonia , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/20

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    4K

    Online Degrees

    AA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  16. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    15K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  17. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    24%

    Student body

    3K

    Online Degrees

    AA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  18. #20

    Campbellsville University

    Campbellsville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    8K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 62
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  19. #21

    Keiser University

    Fort Lauderdale , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    29K

    Online Degrees

    AA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  20. #22

    University of the Cumberlands

    Williamsburg , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  21. Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    2K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  22. #24

    North Greenville University

    Tigerville , SC

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/21

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  23. #25

    Camden County College

    Blackwood , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    6K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Hybrid
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Online Criminal Justice Programs Looking for You

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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities-educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students

Whether you’re just getting started on your college search, you’re looking for survival tips on your way to a bachelor’s degree, or you’re preparing for the transition into grad school, we’ve got guides, how to’s and tons of other valuable resources to keep you moving forward in your educational journey.