Criminal Justice Bachelor’s vs. Associate’s Degree: Which is Better?

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Criminal Justice is an excellent field of study if you have career aspirations in the areas of law and criminology. Those interested will need to start by getting their education, in the form of a degree from a reputable criminal justice school or college.

Before you enroll in a program, it’s vital to consider whether an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree program is better.  There’s no simple answer that one is superior in all cases, and depending on the career your are aspiring for, one degree will like make more sense than the other.

The associate’s degree is the more basic choice compared to a bachelor’s. Most people prefer to have this degree as it helps them start a quick career in the criminal justice field. An associate’s degree can be obtained in a short period of time (about two years’ time) compared to the bachelor’s degree that requires four years time to complete.  With an associate’s degree one can look into a careers such as police officer, which for many is the first and preferred career option. (Read our article on becoming a police officer for more details). Having the associate’s degree will not be sufficient enough for a person to get a job immediately. If the person wants to become a police officer then the person has to pass civil service test and also have to pass the physical and metal trainings that are offered in the police academy. And in case your interest lies somewhere other than the police department, you can join as an assistant to private investigators or law enforcement officers, as explained in this post.

A Bachelor’s degree needs four years to complete as it offers in-depth knowledge about the criminal justice field to students. With this degree, an individual can opt for some of the prestigious jobs like CIA or FBI agent. One can also join as police officer, forensic doctor or a private investigator.  As the course is an elaborate one, it offers lots of options to the students in the criminal justice field.  One can also enroll in the law school if one has the Bachelor’s degree and is aspiring to become a renowned lawyer.

An associate’s degree would definitely be the cheaper one and helps in starting career fast but with a Bachelor’s degree one will have lots of options open and can stand in a crowd. Finally, for some career paths that are research-intensive or highly sensitive in nature, an advanced degree may be necessary.

About the author: Nicole is the author for She also writes for a website which offers a solution that allows travelers to save on both economy and business class flights to any international destination.

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