Home Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in California

Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in California

When you decide to become a criminal justice professional in California, you can feel good about your decision to protect the people in your community, ensure that suspects are treated fairly and legally, and uphold the rights of victims. With California’s size and huge population, there are hundreds of agencies that employ criminal justice professionals. Depending on your area of study and which parts of criminal justice interest you, you may be able to contribute to this industry in a number of ways.

In particular, the need for highly trained corrections and prison professionals may be growing in California. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, California’s mentally ill prison population continues to increase, and has grown by 33 percent in the last three years. Correctional officers who work with these inmates must have special knowledge of their mental health needs and how to work with them without escalating situations.

Ready to explore criminal justice careers in California?

Use our list of schools below to contact associate degree programs in California.

Criminal Justice Associate’s Programs in California

When you start looking for the right criminal justice program for you, you can begin by comparing program options. Luckily, California has many two-year schools that have Associate’s degree programs.

In addition to a general criminal justice degree, you may pursue an associate-level education in fields like law enforcement, administration of justice, court reporting, corrections, and paralegal studies. There are some similarities between all those programs, but you may want to compare curricular requirements to discover the best option for you.

If you decide to become a court reporter, your curriculum may include classes like:

  • Court Reporting Theory
  • Speed and Critical Reading
  • Vocabulary Development
  • Real-Time Basic Dictionary Building
  • Court and Deposition Procedures
  • Certified Shorthand
  • Real-Time and Computer-Aided Legal Dictionary Building
  • Principles and Procedures of the Justice System

Overall, earning a criminal justice associate degree may be considerably less time time-consuming and costly than a bachelor’s degree.

According to figured posted by the US Department of Education, the average tuition cost for students enrolled in criminal justice programs per year is $20,831 with an average two year total program cost of $41,662.

In addition to your standard classroom courses, be aware that you may need to get field experience before you graduate. A semester-long internship at a local law enforcement agency may give you the chance to build professional connections, test your skills in the workplace, and further narrow your career goals.

Scholarships may be an excellent way to fund your education and help you demonstrate your dedication to this field to potential employers. You may look for grants and scholarships through your school and through the government. The Peace Officers Research Association of California awards annual scholarships to students pursuing careers in law enforcement.

What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Degree in California?

Across California, the job outlook for AA criminal justice graduates is fairly stable. However, keep in mind that California is an extremely large state, so each area may have greater demand for certain fields than others.

On average, job openings for fire investigators are expected in increase 7% through 2026 (O*Net, 2017). Police patrol officers may experience a 7% boost in demand by 2026 (O*Net, 2017). Job openings for police detectives may jump 5% during this time (O*Net, 2017).

Average salaries in California are generally higher than average salaries in many other states.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salaries earned in 2017 are as follows:


Career Path

Annual California Salary

Fire Investigators


Detectives and criminal investigators


Police and Sherriff’s Patrol Officers



If you want a career that can truly make a difference in society and improve the quality of life for California residents, criminal justice may be the ideal choice for you.

To consider your options and plan your education, request information on CA criminal justice associate degree options below.