Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Associate Degree

If you're looking for a career that allows you to make a difference while protecting public safety and upholding laws, our online Criminal Justice Associate Degree can help you prepare for the job you want today. You'll learn the foundations of justice, criminology and law through flexible online classes you can complete from home, on your schedule.

  • Can prepare students for entry-level criminal justice jobs like police officer, corrections officer, court clerk, and more. 
  • College-level classes cover foundational knowledge in criminal law, criminology, police studies, community corrections, crime scene investigation, crisis intervention, police management, and more to help you succeed in the criminal justice field.
  • Earn 71 college credits that can be transferred to Penn Foster's Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree if you choose to further your education. Credits may also be transferrable to other higher education institutions.
  • Our online programs are flexible enough for you to finish them at a pace that works for you, based on how much time you can dedicate to your coursework each week.
Self Paced

Save up to $600 Ends 6/25/2024

First Semester


$2,199 Save $600


$69/month, Start for as low as $20

1-800-471-3232 (9AM - 9PM ET)

female criminal justice professional in front of courthouse.

What You Will Learn

  1. How the history of the legal system and law impact criminal justice today, including learning about the legal system in the United States, the origins and history of the law, the development of common law, statutory law, constitutional law and more.
  2. How to understand the substantive and procedural operations of the criminal justice system with focus on the prosecutorial, judicial, and defense functions.
  3. How to understand and apply the principles of criminal responsibility and the requirement of culpable mental states, the various defenses used to negate or to mitigate criminal liability, victims' interaction with the criminal justice system, and the prevailing theories and philosophies for criminal punishment including restitution, retribution, rehabilitation.
  4. How modern policing works including the management and organizational components in the modern police organization and the various methods and theories of policing, including reactive, proactive, problem-solving, community policing.
Full Program Goal & Outcomes

Career Outcomes

Police Officer







Corrections Officer





Our online Criminal Justice Associate Degree can help prepare graduates for a variety of jobs in the legal and criminal justice field including police officer, corrections officer, bailiff, court clerk, and more.

State Licensing Requirements

Associate Degrees from Penn Foster College are awarded under licensing from the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. See the State Licensing page for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Criminal Justice Curriculum

  • 4 Semesters
  • 71 Credits

Estimated completion time per semester:

  • Fast track = 4 months
  • Average time = 9 months

With Penn Foster, you can learn at whatever pace works best for you. Some learners will be more comfortable moving faster, and dedicating more time, and the fast track estimate will apply to them. The average track will apply to most learners who can dedicate a few hours per week to completing their coursework. The estimated completion times per semester are based on completion times for learners enrolled in this program from November 2020 - October 2021, excluding withdrawals.

In our Criminal Justice Associate Degree courses, you'll learn the foundational criminal justice concepts that are used everyday in law enforcement. Your online courses include:

  • Criminal Law
  • Police Studies
  • Crime Scene Investigation Basics
  • Criminology


Non-US residents: This is a United States-based institution with course materials that are geared toward US job and labor standards. Learners from outside of the US may find that some information and materials will differ from the current standards of their country. Please note, the materials for this program are in English and use the Imperial unit of measurement, not the metric system.

Show Full Curriculum

Criminal Justice Student Success Stories

Penn Foster’s Criminal Justice Associate Degree can help prepare you for the first step in your criminal justice or legal career. This program has helped recent graduates find new jobs while learning at their own pace. Learn more about Penn Foster graduates' experiences and how Penn Foster worked for them.
View Student Success Stories
quote icon

Katrina E.

Penn Foster Graduate, 2023

“I am working to complete my bachelors. I completed my associates and was able to land another position with a salary increase.”

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Criminal Justice Associate Degree Tuition

Take the first steps toward a new career with our Criminal Justice Associate Degree Program. Simply choose from one of our low-cost customized payment plans below and get started today!   

Option 1: Pay semester in full

Save up to $600 Ends 6/25/2024

First Semester


$2,199 Save $600

  • Best price. Best value.
  • Pay the full cost today
  • No monthly payments
Enroll Now

Option 2: Monthly Auto Pay Plan

First Semester


  • Pay $69 per month
  • Start for $20 down
  • All major credit and debit cards accepted
Enroll Now

Option 3: Monthly Mail Pay Plan

First semester


  • Pay $69 per month
  • Start for $39 down
  • Mail your payments
Enroll Now

California residents please click here for Required California Disclosures.

Need more info or ready to enroll?

Looking for more information on transfer credits, military benefits, or our refund policy? Find this information and more about tuition and enrollment here.

Tuition & Payment Options

We're here to help. Call 1-800-471-3232 (9AM - 9PM ET)

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Our Proven Criminal Justice Learning Model

Empowering students to reach their professional goals


  • Start anytime 
  • No exam due dates 
  • Self-paced 


  • Digital study guides 
  • Self-check quizzes 
  • Webinars and discussion boards 


  • 24/7 access to online resources
  • Online student community 
  • Dedicated Learner Center


  • Expert faculty 
  • Dedicated student services 
  • Robust learning resources

Related Programs


How long does it take to earn a criminal justice associate degree?

The length of time it can take to complete a criminal justice associate degree can vary. In a traditional school setting, you'll study for at least two years. However, with a self-paced, online degree program in criminal justice like the one offered at Penn Foster, you can finish the program in the time frame that works best for you and your schedule.

What can you do with an associate degree in criminal justice?

Earning an associate degree in criminal justice can prepare you for a variety of entry-level legal and law enforcement jobs. Job opportunities for graduates can include roles as police officers, corrections officers, court bailiffs or clerks, paralegals, and more. For those interested in pursuing a job as a police officer, it's important to note that, depending on your state or county, you may be required to earn further certifications and complete studies at a local police academy before qualifying for the job. By earning an associate degree in criminal justice, you can prepare to meet any prerequisites for a police academy as well as have a head start on understanding the ins and outs of criminal justice before applying.

What will I learn while earning an associate degree in criminal justice?

In your online criminal justice degree program, you'll learn the foundational skills and knowledge relevant to working in law and law enforcement. An associate-level criminal justice curriculum should cover some fundamental topics like criminal law, criminology, police management, and even crime scene investigation basics. You'll also take general education classes in English, psychology, and more to round out your education.

What is the average salary for someone with a criminal justice associate degree?

The average salary for someone with an associate degree in criminal justice can vary depending on the job you pursue. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, corrections officers can earn a national average salary of $49,610 per year while a police officer can earn $69,160 per year.* Your potential salary can also vary based on education, work experience, where you work, and even the state in which you live.

Can you earn a criminal justice degree online?

Yes! With an accredited, online college you can earn a degree in criminal justice that can help you prepare for a career in the field. Through Penn Foster's Criminal Justice Associate Degree, you'll learn the important concepts and theories that have shaped the law and law enforcement.