Why Should I Go Into Criminal Justice?
The state of Pennsylvania has a diverse set of criminal justice needs that reflect its location, which puts it in proximity of the Midwest, New England, and the East Coast. The challenges and dangers in this state reflect a blend of these areas, and criminal justice professionals must be ready to respond to these situations.
As is the case in many states, Pennsylvania has struggled in recent years with its correctional spending. A recent report from Penn Live indicates that Pennsylvania spends more money on its prisons than on its public colleges (2016). For the criminal justice industry, this means that the state has a growing need for correctional officers and those who can address the systemic issues in criminal justice.
The future of criminal justice is being determined every day by those who choose to build careers in this industry.
If you're ready to find out what may be waiting for you in this field, contact schools below to learn more about getting a Pennsylvania criminal justice Associate's degree.
Criminal Justice Associate's Programs in Pennsylvania
While exploring the list of Pennsylvania schools below, you may come across in-person degree programs and online programs. In-person programs give students the chance to engage with others face-to-face, and they may provide accountability for students who have difficulty motivating themselves. Online programs offer much more flexibility to working students and those who keep atypical schedules.
In addition to criminal justice Associate's degree programs, your search may turn up programs that focus on one area of study. Options available at Pennsylvania schools include emergency management, public safety, paralegal studies, legal office assistant, computer forensics, police technology, and court reporting.
If you choose one of these options, you may enjoy the benefits of a curriculum that addresses the specific needs of a career path.
As an example, consider the courses below that are often required in court reporting programs:
- Court Reporting Orientation
- Machine Shorthand Theory
- Court Transcription
- Machine Shorthand Companion
- Jury Charge
- Question and Answer
- Business Law
The amount of time you spend in school depends on which institution you choose and which program of study you follow. Overall, Associate's degree programs are about half the length of Bachelor's degree programs. Specialized programs may be slightly longer, due to the internship and elective requirements of certain areas of study.
Pennsylvania state averages are listed here:
- Timeframe: 2 to 3 years
- Credits: 63 to 75 credits
- Average tuition cost per year: $4,927 (College Board, 2016)
By exhausting your financial aid opportunities, you may have a positive impact on your educational spending. Check out our list of criminal justice scholarships to find those that are intended for Associate's degree students. You can also look into local groups like the Pennsylvania American Legion, which awards the Robert W. Valimont Plan Scholarship.
What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Degree in Pennsylvania?
When you are ready to start putting your training to work, you can look into criminal justice Associate degree jobs. These jobs are generally entry-level positions that involve direct engagement with community members, inmates, or victims of crime.
For that reason, be ready to work your way up through the ranks. New hires may be assigned overnight, weekend, and holiday shifts. You may have more influence over your schedule as you gain seniority.
As an animal control officer, you can work for counties throughout Pennsylvania. Job openings for Pennsylvania animal control officers may increase 9% by 2022 (O*Net, 2016). The average income for an animal control officer is $45,390 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).
Correctional officers in state and county facilities currently earn an average of $49,830 annually (BLS, 2016). Through 2022, O*Net anticipates a 2% boost in job openings (2016).
Those who use their Associate's in criminal justice to become a police patrol officer may earn a mean annual salary of $63,480 (BLS, 2016). A 3% increase in job openings is predicted between 2012 and 2022 (O*Net, 2016).
The right education may open doors for you and put you in a position to contribute to a field you are passionate about.
If you are ready to get your Associate's degree in criminal justice, use the list of schools below to contact Pennsylvania programs.
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 Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology
Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science
Associate of Applied Science in Legal Support and Services
Associate of Applied Science in Public Safety and Security
Traditional On Campus Programs:
Criminal Justice-Associate of Specialized Business - Wyomissing, PA
Paralegal - Associate in Specialized Business
Criminal Justice - Associate in Specialized Business - Allentown, PA
Criminal Justice - Associate in Specialized Business - Lewisburg, PA