Our legal and criminal justice system is a vital ecosystem of specialists who ensure not only the security of our communities, but also the rights of citizens and individuals. It’s a steadily growing field always in need of skilled professionals who value integrity and justice.

About Salem’s Criminal Justice Associate Degree

With an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice, you can develop the foundational knowledge you need to pursue a job as a police officer, corrections officer, and other entry-level criminal justice roles. We’ve designed this program to teach you what you need to know to take the first step into the criminal justice field or prepare for further study with our bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program. You can choose to take it entirely on-campus in Salem, West Virginia, or through our convenient, fully online program option.

We incorporate a wider, globalized view into our criminal justice program that will allow you to explore diverse perspectives on politics, justice systems, and the challenges of crime. Our program faculty prioritize teaching not just the concepts, but the critical thinking and ethical decision-making skills you will need as your criminal justice career advances.

What Can I Do With an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice?

The Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice degree is aimed at either readying you for a bachelor’s degree track or stepping right into the field of law and protective service. Graduates can apply for entry-level positions as a:

  • Police Officer
  • Correctional Officer
  • Bailiff
  • Private Detective or Investigator
  • Security Guard
  • Gambling Surveillance Officer

What Will I Learn in Salem’s Associate Degree in Criminal Justice Program?

With the Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice program, our goal is to prepare you to make a positive impact in the areas of protective services, law enforcement, corrections, crime prevention, general security, and more. It’s about more than the techniques and the fundamental concepts. It’s about looking at the history and context that surrounds our modern judicial system and challenging you to think about how it works from every perspective.

Graduates will demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and skills in constitutional and criminal law and the foundations of citizens’ rights
  • Knowledge and skills in criminal investigations, the procedures of modern investigations, and the trial process
  • Knowledge and understanding of current challenges and areas of focus in criminal justice, including crisis intervention, domestic violence, and terrorism
  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities for employment in the field of criminal justice or for admission to bachelor’s degree programs

What Criminal Justice Classes Will I Take?

The Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program requires the completion of 60 semester credits — with at least 24 general education credits and at least 15 credits from the Criminal Justice core, which includes:

  • CJU205 Criminal Law
  • CJU210 Criminal Evidence and Constitutional Procedure
  • CJU230 Criminal Investigation and Forensics
  • CJU233 Crisis Intervention
  • CJU242 Domestic Violence
  • CJU270 Terrorism
  • CJU405 Constitutional Law
  • CJU408 Criminal Justice Research and Statistics
  • CJU440 Ethics in Criminal Justice

All hours earned in a Salem associate degree track can be applied to requirements of our bachelor’s degree track.

How Long Will It Take to Get My Criminal Justice Associate Degree?

On average, a full-time student can earn their associate degree in criminal justice in about approximately 20 months. However, we recognize every student is different, with different circumstances. It’d be best to contact one of our admissions advisors to discuss your specific questions and goals.

Why Should I Choose Salem University?

Since 1888, Salem University has built upon our tradition of accessible, affordable higher education by constantly innovating and looking to the future. We aim to develop lifelong learners who embrace problem-solving with a global perspective. We offer:

  • Accelerated undergraduate and graduate programs of study with continuous enrollment via distance education or on-campus
  • A unique one-course-a-month format that allows students to focus on a single subject at time and build their knowledge in a way that feels natural
  • Online courses are structured to work within the constraints of full-time employment, allowing you to earn your degree with minimum disruption to your busy schedule
  • Supportive faculty and staff who serve as thought leaders and mentors
  • A beautiful 100-acre campus situated in the Smoky Mountains where programs of study are available for campus residents and commuter students

Admission to Salem is open to all qualified applicants regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or ability/disability. Anyone wishing to attend Salem can obtain the necessary application from the Office of Admissions or online here. The completed application should be submitted to the Office of Admissions at the earliest possible date. The University admits students on a rolling, monthly start basis. Acceptance is within the discretion of Salem University; some programs have additional admissions requirements.

Take the Next Step

If you’re interested in getting started on your Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice degree from Salem University, now is a great time to request more information or, better yet, chat with us live.