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Associate’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in South Dakota
(found programs from 7 schools)


Why Should I Go Into Criminal Justice?

With one of the largest reservations in the United States and several other reservations located in its borders, South Dakota's criminal justice system is made up of federal, state, local, and legally independent agencies.

Professionals in the past have struggled to fully meet the standards of all of these agencies without interfering with anyone's rights, presenting an opportunity for those interested in tribal justice to pursue different career paths. A South Dakota criminal justice Associate's degree may give you insight into this state's needs in policing, corrections, and other areas.

A significant area of need in South Dakota is its correctional facilities. A national report looked at each state's criminal justice spending and found that South Dakota's corrections budget has increased more than five times faster than its education budget (Politic365, 2016).

Explore various career options and training paths by contacting South Dakota criminal justice schools.

Criminal Justice Associate's Programs in South Dakota

Since an Associate's degree is considerably shorter than a Bachelor's degree, not to mention smaller in scope, it is typically offered at community colleges and technical schools.

Your school choice may be influenced by the career path you're interested in and which type of program you'd like to enroll in. South Dakota schools offer paralegal and law enforcement degrees in addition to criminal justice degrees.

If you need a degree that fits in your current schedule or offers a different area of concentration, online criminal justice schools may have options for you. If you go the online route, it is recommended that you volunteer or secure an internship at a local criminal justice agency. This helps you start to establish your professional network.

While earning your degree, you may take courses related to theory, practical training, and ethics.

The courses listed below are often required in law enforcement programs:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal Law and Procedures
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Juvenile Methods
  • Mechanics of Arrest and Physical Training
  • Accident Investigations
  • Collection and Preservation of Evidence
  • Patrol Procedures
  • Advanced Issues in Policing
  • Corrections
  • Technology in Law Enforcement

Graduation requirements and degree expenses are set on a school-by-school basis, which is one reason it's so important to compare South Dakota programs.

The average requirements for a South Dakota AA or AAS in Criminal Justice are listed below:

  • Timeframe: 2 to 2.5 years
  • Credits: 63 to 69 credits
  • Average tuition cost per year: $6,138 (College Board, 2016)

Many South Dakota government agencies, private employers, and nonprofit organizations offer scholarship funds to qualified students. In addition to our list of criminal justice scholarships, look into applying for grants like those awarded by the South Dakota Sheriffs' Association.

What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Degree in South Dakota?

Since many criminal justice careers do not require licensure, you may want to start applying for jobs shortly before you graduate with your criminal justice Associate degree. If you have strong references, relevant volunteer or internship experience, and a solid academic history, you may secure a position and be able to start working right after graduation.

Some graduates go into animal control positions. Job openings for animal control officers are expected to grow 3% through 2022 (O*Net, 2016). The average salary for a South Dakota animal control officer is $28,280 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).

At a prison or jail, you may apply for correctional officer positions. The average salary for a South Dakota correctional officer is $35,560 per year (BLS, 2016). Demand for correctional officers may increase 3% between 2012 and 2022 (O*Net, 2016).

Though you may need to attend the local police academy to become a police officer, this career path may offer lots of room for advancement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average salary of $44,070 for police patrol officers in South Dakota (2016). From 2012 through 2022, job openings may see a 4% boost (O*Net, 2016).

If you work well under pressure, believe in justice for all, and are ready to put in some hard work, the field of criminal justice may need you.

Use the list of schools below to contact South Dakota Associate's in criminal justice 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

Traditional On Campus Programs:

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South Dakota

Mount Marty College (Yankton, SD)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Arts - Criminal Justice
National American University (Rapid City, SD / Sioux Falls, SD)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Criminal Justice, Associate of Applied Science - Paralegal Studies
Sinte Gleska University (Mission, SD)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Arts - Human Services
Southeast Technical Institute (Sioux Falls, SD)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Law Enforcement Science
Western Dakota Tech (Rapid City, SD)
Programs Offered:

Associate of Applied Science - Paralegal/Legal Assistant, Associate of Science - Law Enforcement


In addition to the campus based programs, there are numerous online programs available for many of the common Criminal Justice degree types (Associate, Bachelors, Masters, PhD) and specialties. Please feel free to use the links on the left-hand side of this page to explore some of the online degree programs available. Thanks for visiting!