Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in West Virginia
West Virginia combines traits of the Southern United States and the East Coast, creating a complex set of criminal justice issues that demand specialized knowledge and training. This is one reason to earn an associate in criminal justice in West Virginia. As a new student, you may have the chance to learn about West Virginia laws, culture, and community expectations.
In fact, completing your education now may give you the chance to be part of a new age of West Virginia criminal justice. As is the case in almost every other state, West Virginia has increased its spending and corrections at a rate much higher than its increase in educational spending (The ET, 2016).
However, West Virginia is one of the few states to immediately address this problem and come up with a plan. In coming years, legislators hope to implement plans that boost education spending, decrease the prison population, and create a cycle that leads to fewer criminal offenses.
There are many West Virginia schools that can help you earn a criminal justice associate degree. Compare options below, then contact local and online criminal justice programs to get started.
Criminal Justice Associate Programs in West Virginia
West Virginia has an extremely strong criminal justice system with room for dozens of professional roles. That is why so many schools have both general criminal justice programs and specialized training programs for selected career paths.
Some of the options you may find in your school search include legal office assistant, counter-terrorism studies, paralegal, safety technology, computer forensics, and police science.
Several schools have corrections degrees, an option that may require courses like:
- Criminal Law
- Social Deviance
- Criminal Procedures and Evidence
- Correctional Management
- American Correctional Systems
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Substance Abuse
You may find that an associate degree meets your needs if you want to start working right away or you want to get a strong general education before taking your education to the Bachelor’s degree level.
Average West Virginia degree timeframes and tuition rates are listed below:
- Timeframe: 2 to 2.5 years
- Credits: 60 to 69 credits
- Average tuition cost per year: $3,801 (College Board, 2016)
Take as much time as you need comparing in-person and online schools, exploring course options, and evaluating learning outcomes. Talking to admissions advisors and course instructors may assist you in selecting the ideal school for your learning style.
In addition, you may want to talk to a financial aid advisor to find out about loan, scholarship, and grant programs. One local option is the West Virginia Troopers Association, which awards annual scholarships to associate degree students pursuing law enforcement degrees.
You can find scholarships from many organizations with the CriminalJusticePrograms.com scholarships list.
What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Degree in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, there are quite a few factors that go into your job outlook. Currently, this state does not have specific job outlook data available. However, the rural, mountainous communities of this state may be underserved by local law enforcement agencies. This often occurs because it is difficult for employers to keep employees in such remote areas. Consider applying for jobs in high-need areas.
The salary you claim depends on the amount of risk in your job, the hours you work, the budget of your employing agency, and your level of experience. Bailiffs, who enjoy fairly steady work hours in courtroom settings, currently claim an average income of $28,140 per year in West Virginia (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). The statewide average salary for a correctional officer is $33,450 (BLS, 2016). Those who become patrol officers report a mean income of $41,020 per year (BLS, 2016).
Now that you know more about the benefits of this degree, it’s time to find a West Virginia criminal justice associate degree that works for you.
Discover different programs below and get more information from West Virginia schools.
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