Why Should I Go Into Criminal Justice?
Massachusetts, as part of New England, has an extremely strong criminal justice system that has spearheaded innovative changes in recent decades. Programs that originate in Massachusetts are often used as the basis for criminal justice reform in other states. With an Associate's degree, Massachusetts graduates can do their part to maintain order, oversee change, and improve outcomes in their communities.
Through ongoing change and research, Massachusetts makes steady progress on its criminal justice goals. State legislators are investigating ways to rely less on the prison system, which has become overcrowded in recent years (WCVB, 2016).
They hope to achieve this by reducing recidivism rates and turning to rehabilitative measures over punitive measures. These efforts rely the cooperation of corrections, policing, and court professionals.
There's no better time than right now to look into your education options. Discover criminal justice Associate's degree options by contacting Massachusetts schools below.
Criminal Justice Associate's Programs in Massachusetts
Associate's degree programs are offered at many Massachusetts institutions, particularly technical schools and community colleges. This means that there are some variations in tuition costs, credit requirements, and financial aid options.
Statewide averages for completing an AA or AS in Criminal Justice are listed below:
- Timeframe: 2 to 2.5 years
- Credits: 60 to 66 credits
- Average tuition cost per year: $5,616 (College Board, 2016)
You may study a wide variety of subjects as an Associate's degree student, given the many job titles covered by this industry. A general criminal justice degree can expose you to various areas of criminal justice, while other Associate's degree programs may offer more specialized preparation for a specific career path.
Some of the programs offered at Massachusetts schools include computer forensics, peace and world order, paralegal studies, criminal justice administration, and forensic science.
Schools vary significantly in teaching styles and learning outcomes, so the majority of your research should focus on finding a school with learning goals that fit your career path. Comparing curricular requirements is another way to narrow your list of schools.
For example, the curriculum for a computer forensics program may include courses like:
- Principles of Internet and Information Security
- Computer Forensics
- Advanced Computer Forensics
- Information Security and Assurance
- Digital Forensics
- Evidence and Court Procedures
- Cyber Crime
If you are not geographically close to any schools or you have a work schedule that makes course scheduling difficult, consider earning your criminal justice Associate's degree online. While you may still need to complete an in-person internship, the majority of your coursework may be available online. Blended programs combine the benefits of in-person and online degrees.
Regardless of which school you attend, you may be able to limit your out-of-pocket expenses by making full use of your financial aid options. Scholarships and grants do not require repayment, making them a popular option. The Massachusetts Police Association is one local scholarship source to consider.
What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Degree in Massachusetts?
As you get close to completing your degree, you may want to start your job search. Networking and getting practical experience as a student may help you secure opportunities before you graduate, easing your transition into this industry. Through at least 2022, job openings in various criminal justice careers are expected to trend upward.
Between 2012 and 2022, demand for police patrol officers may increase 7% (O*Net, 2016). Similarly, job openings for police detectives may jump 6% (O*Net, 2016). O*Net predicts a 7% boost in security guard job openings through 2022 (2016).
Salaries in Massachusetts tend to be on the higher end of the scale, as is the case with many other New England states. Police patrol officers bring in an average of $64,250 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). Police detectives tend to earn slightly more, with an average income of $81,740 annually (BLS, 2016). Massachusetts security guards report a mean salary of $30,320 per year (BLS, 2016).
Earning an in-person or online Associate's degree in criminal justice may give you the confidence and skills you need to start the next phase of your career. Make your move now by requesting information from Massachusetts schools below.
Online programs may not be available in all areas
Featured Schools Accepting Students from Across the US:
Online programs may not be available in all areas
Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts in Homeland Security
Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies
Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology
Associate of Applied Science in Legal Support and Services
Associate of Applied Science in Public Safety and Security