Jobs with Associate Degree in Criminal Justice (Hiring Guide)

Jobs with Associate Degree in Criminal Justice (Hiring Guide)

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Brian Humenuk | Author | COPJOT


Updated on October 20, 2023
4 minute read


An associate degree in criminal justice is an excellent accomplishment and can be rewarded with an entry-level position in the work field.

The criminal justice industry is competitive, especially regarding full-time jobs that pay well and have solid benefits. While a bachelor's or master's degree is the standard route for many, not everyone has the time or resources to commit to a four-year program.

The good news is that an associate degree in criminal justice can open doors to a wide range of exciting career opportunities. In this article, we'll explore some of the most promising jobs in criminal justice with an associate degree.  

Let’s dive into the Different jobs in criminal justice with an associate degree

Correctional Officer

Correctional officers play a crucial role in maintaining safety within correctional facilities. With an associate degree in criminal justice, you can qualify for positions as a correctional officer in local, state, or federal prisons.

Your responsibilities may include supervising inmates, ensuring security, and implementing rehabilitation programs.

The demand for correctional officers is expected to remain steady, making this a viable career option for those with an associate degree.

Like law enforcement, the corrections field is large. Correctional officers can work in both the local, county state and federal systems. Jobs in this field can include both uniform guard and plain clothes investigations.

A good starting point for an individual looking to get into he corrections field might start with the juvenile justice system which would most likely be a county or state job.

Many individuals become corrections officers using it as a stepping stone to get into law enforcement. This can be a smart option especially if the state pension time is transferrable. 

Police Dispatcher

A police dispatcher is often the first point of contact for individuals seeking help during emergencies. These professionals work with law enforcement agencies, coordinating responses to 911 calls and dispatching officers as needed.

With an associate degree in criminal justice, you can gain the knowledge and skills required to excel in this vital role, assisting in public safety and emergency response efforts.

Becoming a dispatcher with a police department can lead to becoming a full or part time sworn police officer.

Private Security Officer

Private security officers protect people and property in a variety of settings, including retail, corporate, and industrial facilities.

These positions often require a strong understanding of security protocols and emergency response procedures, making an associate degree in criminal justice a valuable asset for aspiring security professionals. Job opportunities in the private security sector are diverse and can offer career growth prospects.

Loss Prevention, asset protection associate or supervisor

Loss Prevention is a large field in the retail sector where individuals are responsible for the protection of merchandise and property that is privately held.

Loss Prevention Officers can be responsible for the detection and apprehension of shoplifters as well as being a deterrent to theft.

An associate degree in criminal justice coupled with some experience in this CJ niche field could land you a supervisory role or even a management position within a large retail company.

Police Officer

In many police departments around the United States, an associate's degree will qualify you as having attained the minimum standard for testing or appointment.

This is especially true when it comes to police departments that do not have a problem with hiring and retention of their sworn employees. For police departments that do have problems with hiring and or retention an associate's degree or no degree would be the minimum qualification in order to test or be appointed.

To be a police officer you should have at minimum an associate degree where the completed coursework provides you with a good foundation of the criminal justice system including the history of policing, investigations, community policing, race gender and crime, and cybercrime to name a few.

PRO TIP: Many police departments employ individuals as part-time, reserve, or cadet officers in order to gauge how well a person will fit as a future full-time police officer or sheriff's deputy.

Seek employment with an agency on a part-time basis to give yourself the ability to learn and prove yourself over time which can lead to a full time position. 

Probation Officer or Associate Probation Officer

Probation officers work with individuals who have been arrested and have entered the local court system.

Becoming a probation officer usually takes more than just an associate degree. Work experience and or an internship is a plus to landing one of these jobs.

With an associate degree in criminal justice, you can qualify for entry-level positions as a probation officer, but you will need to build your resume with work experience, quality references and be an excellent test taker.

PRO TIP: Attaining an associate degree in criminal justice is just the start of a rewarding career. The field is competitive. You should build a solid work history full of experience along with membership with committess that show leadership.

Build your resume with the thought of going into an interview or possibly an oral board interview where you are going to want to talk about the steps you have already taken to show that you have build your character, integrity and leadership abilities.

Private Investigator

A private investigator, often referred to as a PI or private detective, is a professional who is hired to conduct investigations on behalf of individuals, businesses, or organizations.

Private investigators work in various areas, and their responsibilities can vary widely depending on the nature of the case and the client's specific needs. Here's an overview of what a private investigator is and what they typically do:

Surveillance: Private investigators often conduct surveillance to gather information about an individual's activities. This can be for personal matters, such as suspected infidelity, or for legal cases, like workers' compensation fraud.

Background Checks: PIs can conduct background checks on individuals or companies, which may include criminal history, financial records, employment history, and more.

Locating People: Private investigators are skilled at finding individuals who may be missing, evading law enforcement, or simply difficult to locate.

Witness Interviews: PIs can interview witnesses and gather statements for legal cases.

Process Serving: Private investigators may serve legal documents like subpoenas, summons, and complaints.

Remember the field of criminal justice is vast, and there are numerous positions that require the knowledge and skills that an associate degree can provide.

Depending on your career goals you should consider continuing on in your education and build a strong work history showing dependability, leadership, character, and integrity.

About the Author

Brian Humenuk isn't just an entrepreneur in eCommerce, he is also an informed leader whose experience provides followers and visitors with a look into current and past police issues making headlines in the United States.

Brian has earned three degrees in Criminal Justice with the last, a Masters of Science in Criminal Justice Administration.

Brian extends his training, education, and experience to the officers just now getting into the field so that they may become more informed police officers and stay clear of police misconduct and corruption. 

You can find out more about Brian and the COPJOT story on the ABOUT US page.

Affiliate Disclosure

COPJOT is supported by its audience. If you make a purchase through links on this site I may earn a small affiliate commission. Enough to buy myself a small coffee and I want to thank you in advance. 

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