Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018

This list ranks the 10 best value online associate’s degree programs in criminal justice for 2018.

Top Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Online Associates Degrees - Top Degree Programs-01

  • #1 – Ashworth College
  • #2 – Indiana Wesleyan University
  • #3 – Florida Tech
  • #4 – Post University
  • #5 – Columbia College
  • #6 – Liberty University
  • #7 – Saint Leo University
  • #8 – Bay State College
  • #9 – Campbellsville University
  • #10 – Southern New Hampshire University

Earning a criminal justice associate degree online prepares individuals for careers in corrections, law enforcement, and security. Upon completing an online associate’s in criminal justice, some students enter the workforce, while others go on to earn a bachelor’s in criminal justice. Online programs offer flexibility for students balancing family and work obligations. The online format is ideal for those who want to earn a degree but have limited time for travel and on-campus commitments, or just can’t make it to class at a scheduled time.

For those looking to enter a career as a police officer or detective, an associate’s in criminal justice is often required. Entry-level careers may require an associate’s degree, while mid-level positions demand a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Extensive on-the-job training may also be required. And, if you are uncertain at this point of your career path, earning an associate’s degree will provide options as you navigate the criminal justice field.

Ranking the Top Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice Programs

The schools for this list were compiled from 20 associate’s in criminal justice online programs that can be completed in two years or less and have received regional or national accreditation. We ranked the schools according to raw affordability. More methodology information and sources used can be found at the bottom of this page.

#10 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

Southern New Hampshire University - Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
Southern New Hampshire University’s online associate’s in criminal justice is a top-ranked program.

Undergraduate Tuition: $31,136

Southern New Hampshire University offers an accredited online associate’s in criminal justice degree designed for working students. Courses may be completed entirely online and at flexible times. In fact, students gain 24/7 access to class materials and lectures. Transfer credit options are also available. Students may be eligible to transfer up to 45 credits toward their associate degree. Also, the school offers online bachelor’s in criminal justice programs and provides a seamless transition from the online associate’s in criminal justice to the online bachelor’s program. Some of the courses offered include ethics and the criminal justice leader, juvenile justice system, research methods for criminal justice, and writing for the criminal justice profession. The school and its online criminal justice programs are accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the institution as the 86th best regional university in the North and the 83rd best value school.

#9 – Campbellsville University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Campbellsville, Kentucky

Website

Campbellsville University - Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
Campbellsville University has a 60-credit online associate’s in criminal justice that takes two years to complete.

Undergraduate Tuition: $24,596

Designed by experienced faculty members at Campbellsville University, the online associate’s in criminal justice is a 60-credit hour program that fits the flexibility needs of working students. The program can be completed in just two years and offers a variety of courses that explores contemporary topics in criminal justice and police operations. Courses are delivered online and include court processes and procedures, criminal investigations, criminology, general psychology, introduction to criminal justice system, and introduction to sociology. The university is accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 106th best regional university in the South. Access to an online bachelor’s in criminal justice administration is also available at Campbellsville.

#8 – Bay State College

Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Bay State College - Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
Bay State College’s online associate’s in criminal justice is accredited and ranked.

Undergraduate Tuition: $22,320

Bay State College is a proprietary institution that has been awarded accreditation and rankings with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. The school offers an online associate’s in criminal justice degree that is designed to transfer into one of three Bay State bachelor’s in criminal justice programs. Each online course runs eight weeks in length and includes contemporary topics found in the field of criminal justice. These courses include civil rights and liberties, criminal investigation and procedure, function of police in modern society, introduction to criminal justice, and juvenile justice. Two minors are also offered so that students may tailor their degree toward an area of interest like psychology or sociology. The institution is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Also, U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution as a top regional college in the North.

#7 – Saint Leo University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Saint Leo, Florida

Website

Saint Leo University - Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online associate in criminal justice program at Saint Leo University is for working students.

Undergraduate Tuition: $21,440

The School of Education and Social Services at Saint Leo University offers an A.A. in Criminal Justice degree program designed for individuals with busy daytime schedules. The program is offered in a flexible learning format with classes delivered entirely online. A total of 60 credits are required to complete the degree, with 24 credits required in the criminal justice discipline. Some of the courses offered include criminal investigation, criminal justice ethics, introduction to crime scene investigation, introduction to homeland defense, and survey of the criminal justice system. For those interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree program, the school offers access to three bachelor’s in criminal justice programs that can also be completed online. Saint Leo is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 61st best regional university in the South and 23rd best value school.

#6 – Liberty University

Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

Liberty University - Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
Liberty University’s online associate’s in criminal justice is a stepping stone toward the online bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $21,292

Liberty University’s associate’s in criminal justice online program is designed for working adults who want to earn a criminal justice degree entirely online. The program consists of 60 total hours, of which 15 hours must be taken through Liberty University. Transfer credit is accepted, and access to Liberty’s online bachelor’s in criminal justice is convenient for those who complete the online associate’s degree. Classes cover contemporary topics in criminal justice like criminal justice research and writing, criminal law, criminology, introduction to criminal justice, and the judicial process. Liberty University is an accredited, private institution. The school has also received rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as a top national university. For those interested in pursuing an online bachelor’s or online graduate criminal justice program at Liberty, these programs are also ranked.

#5 – Columbia College

Associate’s Online in Criminal Justice Administration

Columbia, Missouri

Website

Columbia College - Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
Columbia College offers an online associate’s in criminal justice administration.

Undergraduate Tuition: $20,936

The online associate’s in criminal justice administration degree at Columbia College is a comprehensive two-year program designed for busy and working students. Two specialization options are offered so that students may integrate the interdisciplinary studies and perspectives of sociology or psychology. The program consists of 60 semester hours with nine semester hours of major area electives. These electives provide students the opportunity to tailor their degree in areas of interest, such as political science or psychology. Some of the required courses include criminal law, criminal procedures, drug abuse and crime control, ethics and morality in criminal justice, introduction to criminal justice administration, and police in a democratic society. Columbia is a private, nonprofit institution that has received both accreditation and rankings with major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

#4 – Post University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Waterbury, Connecticut

Website

Post University - Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
Post University’s online associate’s in criminal justice program offers internship opportunities.

Undergraduate Tuition: $16,510

Post University’s online associate’s in criminal justice program offers affordability, convenience, and one-on-one support from professional faculty. The degree may be earned entirely online and covers courses appropriate for those entering a career in criminal justice. Small class sizes allow students the opportunity to participate in online discussions and connect with their instructors. All classes are delivered online and include criminal law, introduction to criminal justice, introduction to law enforcement, and introduction to security. Although not required, students do have the choice of completing an internship in their geographic location. Previous internship opportunities include working with the FBI, local and municipal police departments, or nonprofits that serve as diversionary programs through court services. Post has received rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the North.

#3 – Florida Tech

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Melbourne, Florida

Website

Florida Tech - Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
Florida Tech’s online associate’s in criminal justice is 100% online.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,240

Florida Tech offers an online associate’s in criminal justice that combines liberal arts curriculum with studies in criminology, criminal law, and criminal investigation. This 100% online degree serves as a stepping stone toward a bachelor’s in criminal justice, which can also be completed at Florida Tech. Students take all courses online, and topics covered include correctional systems, criminal investigations, delinquency and prevention, introduction to criminal justice, and introduction to law and the legal system. The institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Florida Tech’s rankings include #151 among best national universities and #68 out of 1,200 best online bachelor’s programs.

#2 – Indiana Wesleyan University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Marion, Indiana

Website

Indiana Wesleyan - Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
Indiana Wesleyan University offers an online associate’s degree in criminal justice that’s ideal for working students.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,791

Indiana Wesleyan University offers an online associate’s in criminal justice degree that is open to working students. The program is designed to provide a fundamental basis for students who want to continue their education to complete a bachelor’s in criminal justice. Courses offered in the online associate’s program apply toward the 120 credit hour bachelor’s degree requirement. Some of these courses include criminal procedures, criminology, homeland security, introduction to corrections, and research and writing. The school and program are accredited and have received recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks Indiana Wesleyan as the 29th best regional university in the Midwest and 64th best value school.

#1 – Ashworth College

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Norcross, Georgia

Website

Ashworth College - Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
Ashworth College is the #1 most affordable school to offer online associate’s in criminal justice degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $3,897

Ashworth College is the #1 most affordable school on our list to offer an online associate’s in criminal justice degree. The program can be completed entirely online and is designed for busy and working students. Some of the topics explored in the courses include corrections, criminal law, criminal procedure, introduction to criminal justice, juvenile justice, and report writing. Students learn at their own pace, and the degree may be earned in as little as six months, depending on the number of classes you take at one time. The program is also set up to serve as a foundation toward an online bachelor’s in criminal justice degree. Ashworth has received accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission – an accrediting body listed by the U.S. Department of Education. The school also offers the most affordable online associate’s in criminal justice program on our list.

What is the most important aspect of an associate’s in criminal justice online degree program?

Accreditation is one of the most important considerations for prospective students searching for an online criminal justice program. Accreditation is the stamp of approval that ensures a school and its programs adhere to state guidelines and offer quality instruction. Colleges and universities receive accreditation that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. A school that has received this recognition has passed an extensive review of the institution’s educational programs and student services.

Accreditation impacts the ability to transfer course credit. This is particularly important for individuals who plan to transfer to a bachelor’s programs in criminal justice once the associate’s degree is earned. Prior to enrollment, students should ensure the school offering the criminal justice program has earned regional or national accreditation.

What are my career options with an online associate’s in criminal justice?

A wide variety of jobs are available for individuals with an online associate’s in criminal justice degree. Careers in corrections, law enforcement, and security are possible with this two-year degree, although additional on-the-job training may be required.

Correctional officers supervise incarcerated individuals. Entry-level positions are open to those with a high school diploma or two-year degree. To move up the chain of command, additional training may be required. In some cases, a bachelor’s in criminal justice is necessary for management roles in the field.

Police officers and detectives generally have extensive on-the-job training or hold an associate’s in criminal justice. Federal agencies and police departments may require college coursework or a two-year associate’s in criminal justice degree. Often, to move into leadership law enforcement roles, experience and education are a must.

Private detectives and private investigators perform duties such as locating missing persons, verifying information, and collecting intelligence on groups of people or individuals. The educational requirement for these positions varies, although some agencies require an associate’s degree in a field like criminal justice. To advance in the field, a bachelor’s degree may be required.

Security guards are another career option with an online associate’s in criminal justice degree. Most security jobs require at a minimum a high school diploma, but some employers, especially government agencies, require postsecondary education. An online criminal justice associate’s degree provides an open door to management roles once on-the-job training and experience are earned. The same is true of gaming surveillance officers. These specialized security guards are trained to survey and monitor casinos for suspicious activity. It is common for casinos, especially big-name organizations, to require an associate’s in criminal justice degree for entry-level positions.

How long does it take to earn an associate’s in criminal justice online degree?

Most of the criminal justice associate’s degree online programs on our list require students to complete between sixty and sixty-five credits. While program duration varies, those on our list typically take two years or less. However, full-time students can expect to finish their associate’s degree in two years, while part-time students may finish their degree in three years or less.

How much does an associate’s in criminal justice online degree cost?

The cost of an online associate’s in criminal justice degree depends on various factors. We showcased in-state undergraduate tuition for the schools and programs on our list as state residency is the most important cost consideration. Students attending out-of-state schools will pay higher tuition than students attending in-state colleges or universities. Other important factors contributing to cost are technology fees. Technology fees generally apply to online students rather than those attending on-campus classes. These fees may vary from $100 per semester to $1,000 per year.

Per-credit costs vary for online criminal justice associate degree programs. The schools on our list range in annual undergraduate tuition from $3,897 to $31,136. Community colleges generally offer cheaper tuition, while universities and four-year colleges are more expensive.

How much can I earn in this field?

According to the United States Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for police and detectives was $61,600 in May of 2016. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $102,000. Detectives and criminal investigators earned the highest wages, while educational services at the state, local, and private level earned the lowest wages. Most uniformed officers, detectives, and agents work full-time, and paid overtime is a common aspect of the job. Union incentives are also common.

Employment for criminal justice careers, such as police officers and detectives, is expected to increase by 7 percent through the year 2026. The steady need for public safety should provide consistent job openings for police officers; however, the demand may vary by geographic location.

Other Colleges Offering an Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Penn Foster College

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Website

American Intercontinental University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Website

Kaplan University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Website

Colorado Christian University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Website

Rasmussen College

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Website

Columbia Southern University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Website

American Military University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Website

Remington College

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Website

Abraham Lincoln University

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Website

Surry Community College

Online Associate’s in Criminal Justice

Website

SOURCES

Tuition information was retrieved from The National Center for Education Statistics – College Navigator.

The earnings potential and projected job outlook information was collected from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the United States Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics.

METHODOLOGY

The methodology used for ranking the list of top 10 associate’s in criminal justice online degree programs includes accreditation, raw affordability, school recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report, and other stand-out opportunities included below. First, we examined accreditation and selected only schools and program that had received regional or national accreditation. We then gave value to the most affordable programs. We reviewed undergraduate, in-state tuition from the National Center for Education Statistics (College Navigator). We then gave credit value to schools and/or programs that had received recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. We also awarded value to programs with a standout feature, as stated above. Standout features were selected by staff and include a school with the option to transfer credits to an existing bachelor’s in criminal justice program or access to internship or externship opportunities.

OAD Staff
March 2018

Related online associate’s degree programs:

This concludes our ranking of the top 10 associate’s in criminal justice online degree programs of 2018.