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What is an Associate’s Degree?

The Entry Level of College
In its most simple form, an associate degree is an award signifying the completion of study in a given degree program. There are several degree programs and literally hundreds of colleges and universities to choose from. You can get an associate of science or an associate of arts in anything from general studies to criminal justice. This type of degree is almost always considered a two year degree, although it can be accomplished in more or less time.

Career Opportunities for Criminal Justice
From 2006 to 2016, opportunities for employment in criminal justice are expected to see over a 17% increase. This is excellent news for those of you who either have a degree in criminal justice or plan to obtain one. Criminal justice majors can be employed as police officers, federal agents, detectives and criminal investigators to name a few.

You Can Get the Edge
First and foremost, you must research the degree program and school that you wish to attend. Hiding among the myriad of establishments that offer accredited degree programs are diploma mills and unaccredited institutions that will accept your money in return for a useless piece of paper. Accredited programs in criminal justice can be taken on campus, online or a combination of both. Phoenix University and Kaplan College are two of the top online schools for degrees such as criminal justice. Whether you attend school online or on campus is up to each individual. The important thing is getting your foot in the door with an associates degree in criminal justice.

More Jobs, More Money
Many federal, state and local law enforcement agencies require at least an associates degree in order to be considered for employment. The ones that do not have such a requirement almost always offer increased pay and incentives for criminal justice degree holders. There really is no good reason not to get one. An associate degree will make you more competitive and provide a higher salary base.

Target Your Career Path
Ensure that your degree of choice will align with the current requirements and demands of the criminal justice field. As technology advances and procedures change, so do the requirements of employers. In the demanding field of criminal justice, professional must ensure that they stay current. Not every college or university is created equal. Some institutions update their course material and degree requirements frequently, while others do not. Acquiring an undergraduate degree such as an associate degree in criminal justice is the beginning of ongoing employment opportunities and increased pay. The benefits gained will prove their worth far beyond the two years it takes to become a criminal justice major.

Check out our Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs for 2015

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