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A.A., Criminal Justice

Our Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum* with a Criminal Justice concentration offers you foundational knowledge in English, mathematics, science, and history while providing specialized Criminal Justice bilingual courses that explore topics ranging from children, juveniles, and adults in the criminal justice system to past and present criminal law procedures with flexible Criminal Justice courses designed for recent graduates and students working full time. This associate in arts criminal justice concentration will help advance your career, even when looking for jobs where a degree is not required. This major, with classes that work for adult learners, will prepare you for employment in various areas of law enforcement, corrections, or private security, as will provide you with an excellent foundation toward a bachelor’s degree.

*The general education core for this degree complies with guidelines of the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI)

Associates in Criminal Justice Curriculum

During your time getting a criminal justice associate, you’ll gain a foundational education in criminal justice. Below are just a few of the topics you can be expected to find when pursuing a criminal justice degree: 


An introduction to the study of crime and justice. Creates a foundation for new students who are interested in the field. Students are introduced to a variety of historical and contemporary accounts along with historical research on the study of criminal behavior.

Forensic Science 

In the practice of criminal investigation, having a strong background in forensics is essential to attaining a career in criminal justice. Students learn how to define specialized fields of forensic science, collect evidence at crime scenes, examine forensic evidence such as weapons and footprints, and examine bloodstains. 

Court Systems 

In this course students focusing on an AA in Criminal Justice study the court system and the legal issues, you can commonly find in the system. These Criminal Justice courses follow the entire process of a trial, including jurisdiction, policies, and court procedures. 


In this Criminal Justice class, you will study ethics as they pertain to crime, law, and justice. These course discussions will allow you to explore concepts that are essential to understanding ethics in criminology, such as morality, ethics, values, moral frameworks, and inevitable dilemmas. 

What Can You do with an Associate in Criminal Justice? 

Many law enforcement degrees not requiring a bachelor’s degree. This means that the two-year Associate’s in Art Criminal Justice degree is a great opportunity or adult learners to start a career in law enforcement, or you can use this degree as a jumping-off point to get a bachelor’s, master, or Ph.D. in Criminal Justice:

Police Officer 

Sworn to protect their communities, police officers respond to emergency calls and complaints. They patrol assigned areas to make sure the community is safe. They also provide evidence and testimony for criminal court proceedings. 


A paralegal, or legal assistant, supports attorneys with day-to-day matters in and out of the courtroom. The paralegal can have a wide variety of jobs, depending on the law firm and the expertise of the paralegal, such as writing legal reports, collecting documents, preparing civil documents, or interviewing witnesses. 

Security Manager 

As the leader of a security team, you are responsible for both your team’s and your employers’ needs. In this job, you will have to train new security guards, conduct regular security inspections, write security reports, and research new security technologies using skills learned from your Associate’s in Arts Criminal Justice degree. 

Social Service Assistant 

Aiding other professionals, a social service assistant helps clients get the community resources they are looking for. Working along with other social workers, psychologists, and others, a social service assistant is part of a greater community of professionals who help people in need. 

Crime Scene Technician

Also known as a forensic science technician, a CST collects and analyzes evidence at crime scenes. Along with working at a crime scene, they do further analysis inside a laboratory. Recording observations at the crime scene, taking photos of the crime scene, and collecting evidence make these technicians essential to solving a crime. 

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List of Classes and Credit Hours for AA Criminal Justice

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