Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Florida
The criminal justice system in any state has lots of responsibilities to juggle at any given time. This is particularly true in the state of Florida, where officials must protect the growing aging population, support the booming tourism industry, and actively work to reduce crime in major metropolitan areas.
According to wired.com, Florida could start criminal-justice data revolution. The Florida Legislature has passed a bill that would bring unprecedented levels of transparency to the criminal justice system, an area that has been lacking not only for the state, but also for the entire country.
With much focus on race, and the criminal justice system in general, this quote really sums up the impact the state could have: “Florida’s effort to uniformly gather, analyze, and disseminate more data about race and the criminal justice system will likely increase the legitimacy of, and public trust in, the system,” says Ram Subramanian, editorial director of the Vera Institute for Justice.
Criminal Justice Associate Programs in Florida
Professionals at the associate degree level can contribute to this field in numerous ways, so it’s important to compare your FL criminal justice Associate degree options and choose the option that offers the best preparation for your chosen career path. For some students, this may mean enrolling in a general criminal justice program. For others, it may mean choosing a more specialized option.
Below, CriminalJusticePrograms.com speaks with Dr. Jamie Myers, Professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville in the School of Public Safety and Security. Dr. Myers describes how to achieve an associate degree in criminal justice technology and how to choose an online vs. on-site program.
Some other degree options available at Florida schools include forensic science, legal assisting, private investigation services, para-legal studies, crime scene technology, and homeland security.
As you can imagine, these wildly different fields have extremely varied curricular requirements. Before choosing a school, spend some time comparing required courses and looking into learning outcomes.
The courses included in your curriculum should directly relate to the work you plan on doing after you graduate.
In a private investigation services program, you may enroll in classes like:
- Interview and Statements
- Principles of Investigation
- Legal Investigation
- Investigative Report Writing
- Asset Protection and Undercover
- Fraud Investigation
- Insurance and Criminal Investigation
At minimum, an associate degree program must have at least 60 credits. However, to account for required courses and other expectations, some programs may be longer.
Florida AA or AS in Criminal Justice degree averages can be found below:
- Timeframe: 4 to 5 semesters
- Credits: 60 to 69 credits
- Average tuition cost per year: $3,232 (College Board, 2017-2018)
On top of the courses you must complete in the classroom, practical experience may be required in your associate in criminal justice program. Certain programs re-quire lab work, particularly those that rely on forensic evidence and crime scene investigation.
Internships are sometimes required and almost always recommended. If you live in a metropolitan area, you may have a greater selection of criminal justice agencies and organizations that take interns. Choose your internship well and put in your full effort, since the work you do in your internship may lead to future job opportunities.
Getting involved with local criminal justice organizations and associations may help you find financial aid opportunities. The Florida Sheriffs Association is just one local group with scholarships for criminal justice students.
What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Degree in Florida?
An associate degree in criminal justice should equip you for entry-level careers with essential skills, an overall understanding of the criminal justice industry, and specific knowledge related to any specialized degree options you choose. Additional training is often required, due to the specialized nature of criminal justice job openings.
For example, you may need to be trained on the specific statutes and laws of your county or community. If you go into policing, you may need to successfully complete your county’s police academy program before you begin working. Do research on the specific requirements of your county and career options prior to graduation to avoid de-lays.
If you work in fire science, you may inspect and analyze fires as a fire inspector. The average salary for a Florida fire inspector is $65,460 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Demand for fire inspectors may swell 13% by 2026 (O*Net, 2017).
Those who go into policing may work as police patrol officers, a field that may see a 13% increase in growth by 2026 (O*Net, 2017). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida patrol officers earn an average of $58,400 per year (2017). Those who investigate crimes as police detectives claim an average income of $89,400 per year (BLS, 2017).
Job openings for police detectives may jump 8% by 2026 (O*Net, 2017).
Whether you want to work in a resort town, a major metropolitan area, or a suburban community, the state of Florida relies on criminal justice professionals for the maintenance of a safe society.
Discover how you can use a criminal justice associate degree by getting in touch with Florida schools below.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia