Associate's Degrees for Criminology Careers

For an entry-level criminology job, an associate's degree is often the best choice. While some agencies and organizations require that applicants have a full bachelor's degree to be eligible for hiring, many accept the two-year associate's degree. For many people, it makes no sense to go for the traditional four-year degree when an associate's degree in criminology will do just fine. Not only will they be able to start their careers two years earlier and start earning nice salaries, they'll also save tens of thousands of dollars by not paying for two additional years of education. It may be more prestigious to have a bachelor's degree, but in many cases, it doesn't make financial sense at all.

Generally speaking, anyone with a high school diploma or GED is eligible for an associate's degree program. Keep in mind, too, that the degree won't necessarily be in criminology. It could be in law enforcement, criminal justice, or several other related areas. If you're hoping to qualify for a specific position, make sure the program you choose satisfies their requirements.

Frankly, a person who earns an associate's degree in criminology or a related area learns just about as much about his or her chosen field as someone with a bachelor's degree. Most of the time, the savings come from cutting out general courses, such as history, literature, foreign languages, and so on. For the topic of criminology itself, many of the exact same courses are required of both two- and four-year degree seekers.

Another good reason to earn an associate's degree is to save money on a bachelor's by transferring. This is done by earning the associate's at a community college that is very inexpensive and then transferring to a four-year school to apply the credits toward a bachelor's. (If you pursue this route, always make sure the four-year college will accept your credits from the two-year college. As long as the community college is accredited, this shouldn't be a problem. But, always check to make sure ahead of time.) Either way, it's a great option with huge financial benefits.

Last Updated: 06/03/2014

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