Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in Washington
The expansive layout of Washington includes independent tribal nations, remote and hard-to-access rural communities, and one of the country’s largest and most densely populated cities. The laws and standards created by Washington legislators must appropriately address the criminal needs of all of these areas without giving unfair advantages to one part of the state.
If you are new to criminal justice or you would like to earn your first postsecondary degree, there are many advantages to choosing a criminal justice associate degree.
Washington administrators have recently made it a priority to overhaul the juvenile justice system (Seattle Times, 2016). In doing so, they hope to help juvenile offenders avoid incarceration. This is due to the fact that incarceration does not appear to have any effect on the overall goals of the juvenile justice system.
With the proper education, you may contribute to Washington criminal justice on a local or statewide level. Use our list of Washington criminal justice associate degree programs to find schools that interest you.
Criminal Justice Associate Programs in Washington
Of course, you may get a clear and objective view of the criminal justice field as a whole with a criminal justice associate program. However, if you are dedicated to working in a specific setting or career path, you may be interested in other degree options in Washington.
At Washington community colleges and technical schools, programs like fire investigation, forensic and private investigation, legal assistant, paralegal, and law enforcement are available.
The chart below, which lays out average Washington school expectations, indicates that you may spend two or more years earning your degree:
- Timeframe: 2 to 3 years
- Credits: 60 to 70 credits
- Average tuition cost per year: $4,149 (College Board, 2016)
For that reason, it’s essential to choose a school that fits in well with your career goals and plans. You may want to talk to program instructors, compare course descriptions, and explore learning outcomes.
Classes that are often included in criminal justice curricula in Washington include:
- American Corrections System
- Juvenile Justice System
- Criminal Law
- Principles of Criminal Investigation
- Ethics in Criminal Justice
Do not forget the value of field experience in criminal justice. Associate in criminal justice programs may require or recommend internships. Enrolling in an internship course in your final year of school may give you work experience in your chosen specialty, help you build connections with local employers, and make you feel more confident in criminal justice settings.
Although associate programs tend to be far less expensive than Bachelor’s degree programs, you may still consider financial aid options to further reduce your obligations. Through the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs, you may apply for merit-based scholarships each year.
What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Degree in Washington?
Because of the diversity of communities in Washington, job outlook statistics vary quite a bit from region to region. As a general rule, job growth predictions are fairly similar to national averages. As is the case in many other states, you may find that demand in Seattle and other urban areas is greater than demand in rural or suburban areas.
Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net anticipates a 3% increase in job openings for Washington bailiffs (2016). Washington’s need for correctional officers may grow 4% at the same time (O*Net, 2016). A 3% increase in patrol officer job openings is predicted by the year 2022 (O*Net, 2016).
One advantage of working in Washington is its higher-than-average salary ranges. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, bailiffs earn an average of $47,700 per year (2016). Those who work as correctional officers report an average salary of $50,270 (BLS, 2016). Patrol officers report a mean income of $74,170 annually (BLS, 2016). Experience and seniority are significant factors in associate degree in criminal justice jobs, so it’s important to put in the required hours and learn as much as possible in your early years of work.
From small mountainous communities to the busy streets of Seattle, every part of Washington needs a solid criminal justice system.
Explore local opportunities in this industry by getting in touch with Washington criminal justice programs.
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