Why Continue Your Education With A Criminal Justice Degree?

Why Continue Your Education With A Criminal Justice Degree?

witness swearing on bible in courtroom
witness swearing on bible in courtroom

Some people finish high school and know exactly what they want to do. However, many people don't recognize what path they want to follow until they get out into the workforce and gain some experience. That path often requires further education. If this description fits you and you are interested in pursuing a meaningful career that upholds justice, and promotes safety and the protection of communities, then a criminal justice degree could be right for you.

An Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice degree from the Central Christian College of Kansas (CCCK) can serve as a bridge to higher education and enable entry into a variety of positions and related fields. Getting a criminal justice degree online is particularly beneficial.

Go Beyond the Basics and Gain Skills that Will Help You Succeed

Proper training for an officer must certainly include the necessary physical skills. This sort of training happens at a police academy and is further reinforced on the job. However, being a successful police officer goes beyond physical training to encompass a more philosophical understanding of why people behave the way they do. 

As part of the criminal justice degree program at Central Christian College of Kansas (CCCK), the school embraces the redemptive role of the police in society as well as God's call to offer communal justice. This ideal is also inspired by the school's affiliation with the Free Methodist Church, whose founder emphasized social justice and consciousness.

The criminal justice classes at CCCK are  designed to help students become more thoughtful and caring, as well as staying committed to human rights and social justice. It follows a holistic developmental model to help students achieve what CCCK calls “the Core Four”: Through heart, soul, mind and strength, the desire is that students maintain a productive, Christ-centered lifestyle. Those who pursue an associates degree in criminal justice at CCCK will learn professional skills associated with criminal justice and the personal viewpoints and dispositions required to become successful agents of justice in a global community. In this spirit, criminal justice degree graduates can move forward and pursue careers where they can make a difference in their communities. 

Criminal Justice Professor Susan Nitsch explains what a student can expect to learn when taking a criminal law course at CCCK: "By taking a Criminal Justice course with CCCK, a student will gain a greater understanding of the importance of human rights, and how the international community values those rights, and seeks to protect them. Not only will students learn about the American justice system, but we will explore other justice systems of the world and gain a greater understanding of the importance and dignity which our system affords its citizens."

criminal justice in the courtroom

What are the requirements for a Criminal Justice Degree at CCCK?

To gain entrance into the criminal justice degree program at CCCK requires prospective applicants to have graduated from high school with a minimum GPA of 2.0 or earned a GED. For those applicants who have previous college degree credits, the credits can be easily transferred, allowing students to obtain their degree faster than the typical 24 months for the associate of arts in criminal justice program. Similarly, students who have military or previous policing experience are also awarded credits towards their degree.

What Kind of Courses are in a Criminal Justice Degree Program?

Students who pursue a degree in Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice gain practical knowledge that allows them to understand the field, helps them to better fill their current role, and serves as a springboard to career growth.

CCCK students get introduced to a variety of relevant topics including:

Criminal justice

Corrections 

Law Enforcement

The court system

Social Psychology 

Criminology Courses.

These courses are all taught by instructors with real-world policing experience.

With the course Introduction to Criminal Justice, students start with the basics as the course focuses on the formal crime control process in the United States. Students examine the agencies and processes involved in administering justice: the police, prosecutor, courts, and correctional systems. In CCCK’s Criminology course, students learn about the motivation and psychology of criminals, crime as a form of deviant behavior, nature and extent of crime, past and present theories, evaluation of prevention, control, and treatment programs.

Upon completing the associates degree in criminal justice at CCCK, students can:

  • Summarize the historical development of criminal justice systems and the role of justice in America and the global community.

  • Describe the influences and behaviors related to the administration of justice and how each is affected by worldview and culture.

  • Identify an ethical framework that recognizes the interplay of personal faith, natural law, and public policy.

  • Choose appropriate procedures associated with law enforcement administration and the prevention, detection, and regulation of crime and criminal behavior.

A criminal justice degree opens the door to many different roles and careers including law enforcement, social work, criminology, forensics, and public safety.

Specific jobs that graduates are then eligible for (note, some may require additional experience and /or further education) include:

Police Detective

Police Officer

Crime Scene Investigator

Criminal Case Worker

Private Investigator

At CCCK, courses are taught by degreed faculty who have field experience and can offer meaningful insights and guidance. They can also make it easier to enter and or progress in the profession. The combination of book knowledge and street experience empowers the professors  to create a rich and meaningful experience. 

CCCK students find this particularly valuable, as many of them who are part of the online criminal justice degree program work in some function with a police department or are high school graduates who want to join the police force or become security officers, deputies, or corrections/jail officers. Students can take what they've learned in their online classes and apply them to their current jobs.

One former student of the online criminal justice degree program at CCCK said, "I was able to better identify some new trends that international criminals are using to launder and transport large sums of currency across borders due to their International Policing.” Another student noted, "I was able to recognize and seize counterfeit notes and hidden bills between transfers which saved the company and Federal Mints huge losses."

So, the real-world knowledge gained by graduates of the criminal justice degree program helps them progress in their careers, earn higher salaries, and make a difference in their communities. Combined with professional experience, the degree opens windows for a variety of options in the criminal justice field. Plus, more and more police departments seek new members who have a two-year degree. In terms of advancement in law enforcement, a degree is becoming increasingly desirable in order to reach upper ranks. Surveyed law enforcement agencies required associate or bachelor degrees for:

  • Police chiefs (44.1%)

  • Command staff (36.5%)

  • Lieutenants (28.1%)

  • Sergeants (20.5%)

pursuing an online criminal justice degree

What are the benefits of pursuing an Online Criminal Justice Degree?

Students pursuing a degree online tend to be older students with busy lives. The online criminal justice degree program at CCCK is designed with this in mind.

At CCCK, there are no mandatory login times, so students can complete coursework whenever and wherever it’s convenient for them. Students simply take a brief timeout from their regular lives rather than dropping everything to be on campus or log in at a specific time.

At CCCK, the online criminal justice degree moves at a brisk yet reasonable pace. Students take only one course at a time with each running for six weeks. The schedule simplifies learning for online students and enables them to put forth their best effort without worrying about or neglecting their home and or work responsibilities. 

This flexibility is essential for Danny Hackler, a student at CCCK’s criminal justice degree program. Hackler is a full-time police officer, has two part-time jobs, is married, and has three children. “I dedicate three days a week to school, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I do my assignments start to finish without any interruptions normally after 8pm when my family is sleeping.”

Hackler is inspired to push through as he is confident that a criminal justice degree will help him reach his dream of one day becoming police chief. His other motivation is to be an inspiration to his children. 

Like Hackler, many of the students who are returning to school to obtain an online degree have families and are working. Their budgets, understandably, may be tight. CCCK, which was ranked the twelfth most affordable online criminal justice program by BestDegreePrograms.org, recognizes this challenge. Financial aid and military aid are available for students. In addition, enrollment advisors offer private financial consultations to help students devise a plan to manage tuition. To hold prices down, CCCK waives transcript and application fees and offers free transfer credit evaluations. This allows students to determine how many credits they will need to graduate and the associated cost to obtain the online criminal justice degree.

At CCCK, the online criminal justice degree program helps prepare students to advance in their careers, expand their job opportunities, and increase their salary potential. Those looking to be part of a police force can particularly benefit from a criminal justice degree. 

Find out more about the online associates degree in criminal justice. If you need more program information, simply complete this form for a brochure. Get ready to make a positive difference in your community with a career in criminal justice.