The course of an associate's degree in criminal justice offers a comprehensive understanding of the field, which makes it a valuable addition to a resume. This is because the more one understands about the criminal justice system, the better prepared one will be to defend oneself in court, and the better chance he or she has of receiving a fair trial from a judge or jury.
At the start of the program, students are given the opportunity to take a core course in criminal justice. This class introduces students to the nature of criminal justice and how it works. The student learns about the different types of crimes that are committed and the various theories and ways of solving them. He or she also gets to learn about the many different institutions that make up the criminal justice system, such as police departments, judicial systems, courts, prisons and corrections facilities.
In addition to this core course, students can choose to take an elective in law enforcement, correctional institution administration, private security, public safety or psychology. Students can choose to specialize in any one of these areas if they so desire. It is important for students to choose a specialization early in their studies. They should choose an elective that fits into their major. They may want to choose one area of study that interests them the most, but it may be necessary to choose another area just to fit the curriculum into their schedule.
Once students have taken their core courses and chose an elective that fits their major, they will have to choose a four-year bachelor's degree to finish their associate's degree. Most students take three years to complete their degrees and can complete their requirements in three years. However, some students take longer and graduate with four years of a bachelor's degree.
Students who have already obtained their bachelor's degree may choose to continue their studies at a community college or to transfer their credits over to another university. Students with more than two years of work experience may choose to transfer to a four-year university instead.
While the criminal justice field offers plenty of opportunities for advancement, it is always important for students to begin on the right foot. If students have taken the time to fully understand the nature of the field and its rules and regulations, they will have a greater chance of success in their careers.