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Sal Villa, who earned his associate degree in criminal justice in 2019, using a laptop while sitting with his family.

Criminal Justice Associate Degree Online

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Register By: October 21 Classes Start: October 23

Earn a Criminal Justice Associate Degree

  • $330/credit (60 credits)
  • Transfer up to 45 credits toward your associate degree
  • Get up to 12 credits for law enforcement training
  • Instructors with real-world experience
  • Continue on to earn your BS and MS in Criminal Justice
  • No application fee or SAT/ACT scores required

Criminal Justice Associate Degree Program Overview

Gain a better understanding of law enforcement with an Associate of Science (AS) in Criminal Justice degree online at Southern New Hampshire University. You'll have an array of courses to choose from, allowing you to obtain a thorough overview of the American justice system, criminal law, social science and more, expanding your opportunities when you graduate.

Our criminal justice associate degree was created with a real-world perspective. Expanding the boundaries of a traditional criminal justice program, you’ll be exposed to current criminology theories and emerging national and global trends.

Our AS in Criminal Justice program is suited for both experienced criminal justice professionals who want to upgrade their skill set and those seeking entry-level professional positions in the field.

Learn how to:

  • Explore career possibilities and responsibilities in criminal justice
  • Collect and convey information to diverse audiences within the profession and community
  • Examine laws, regulations and best practices to inform decision-making

Get credit for law enforcement training: If you have completed basic police, corrections or probation and parole academy training, you may receive up to 12 credits toward your criminal justice degree at SNHU.

Career Outlook

One reason you may want to earn your criminal justice associate degree is that many law enforcement positions don’t require a bachelor’s degree.

Since on-the-job experience is critical to advancing in most criminal justice fields, earning an associate degree to get your career started makes sense – just as you may want to return for a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree as you advance and job requirements change.

The associate degree in criminal justice was designed to help you prepare for entry-level jobs in many fields including:

  • Business security
  • Corrections
  • Court administration
  • Dispute resolution
  • Law enforcement
  • Victim advocacy

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a number of positions are expected to see growth through 2031, particularly social and human service assistants (12%).1

Joseph Medina in uniform with the text Joseph Medina"I attribute my education with my promotion and have seen, firsthand, the continued career opportunities that are now attainable as a result of earning my degree," said Joseph Medina, who was promoted to citywide mobile sergeant with the Boston School Police Department after getting an associate degree from SNHU. Medina, who earned his associate degree in criminal justice in 2017, went on to complete his bachelor's degree in the same subject in 2019.

Not only did his education help Medina professionally, but it also made a big impact on his personal life.

"The promotion has enabled me to better provide for me and my son," he said. "My degree has made my son realize the importance of education and has motivated him to want to go to college.”

A bump in pay is oftentimes another reason students feel an associate degree is worth earning. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2021 median weekly earnings for all full-time workers were 16% higher for those who've earned an associate degree over those with a high school diploma.1

Not only could your pay increase, but the unemployment rate drops significantly for associate degree holders in comparison to high school graduates.1

Note: Law enforcement positions may involve additional training and eligibility requirements.

Start Your Journey Toward an Online Criminal Justice Degree


In our criminal justice associate degree program, you'll find your classes are mostly an even split of general education courses and classes for your major – and you'll discover how well they can all work together.

For instance, both sets of courses can help you develop such in-demand skills as:

  • Communication
  • Cultural awareness
  • Research literacy
  • Statistical analysis

The criminal justice curriculum introduces you to a spectrum of ideas, theories and practices related to the criminal justice system in the United States. Designed to give you a strong foundation, the coursework can provide you with core principles to help you start or advance your career. Some of these key courses you’ll be able to explore are:

  • Cultural Awareness in Criminal Justice
  • Communication Skills for Criminal Justice
  • Discretion in Criminal Justice

You'll learn from instructors who have been gaining hands-on experience in the field – firsthand knowledge they want to pass on to you. Our criminal justice faculty have worked for major law enforcement agencies, including:

  • Atlanta Police Department
  • Chicago Police Department
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Homeland Security
  • Houston Police Department
  • Miami Police Department
  • New York Police Department (NYPD)

And so have our students. Joseph Medina earned a promotion with the Boston School Police Department after completing his associate degree coursework in 2017.

"I feel that through my education I learned more about the other agencies that I interact with, such as the court system and the corrections system," Medina said. "I also learned a great deal about how a lot of the principles and tactics utilized in modern policing came to be."

With over 7,500 students at Southern New Hampshire University also studying criminal justice, you'll be in good company – especially if you decide to continue your education after earning your associate degree.

Your coursework throughout your criminal justice associate degree can seamlessly transfer into the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice online degree program. Aside from building off the hands-on curriculum you've become familiar with, you also have the option to add one of 7 concentrations to your program:

  • Corrections
  • Criminology and Crime Analysis
  • Homeland Security & Counterterrorism
  • Human Services & Advocacy
  • Police Administration & Operations
  • Security Management
  • Substance Abuse

Concentrations allow you to develop additional expertise in a specific area – which may give you the opportunity to get ahead in the workplace.

Beyond a bachelor's, you have the opportunity to earn a master's in criminal justice with concentration options of public safety administration and advanced counterterrorism.

Another benefit of earning your criminal justice associate degree online at SNHU is that your program includes 12 free elective credits. These are ideal for transfer students who may have changed majors and want to keep the credits they've earned, as well as for students who are interested in further criminal justice study beyond the program requirements.

Tuition & Fees

As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.

We also offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Online Undergraduate Programs Per Course Per Credit Hour Annual Cost for 30 credits 
Degree/Certificates $990 $330 $9,900
Degree/Certificates (U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)* $693 $231 $6,930

Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional Costs No Application Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions

University Accreditation

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.

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