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25 Best Associate in Criminal Justice Schools 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 4/1/2020

These are the 25 best schools for an associate degree in criminal justice based on alumni earnings and median debt. Santa Rosa Junior College comes in first, with graduates of their Administration of Justice program earning a median salary of $67,300 in their first year of employment. Graduates of third-ranked Oakland Community college had the lowest median debt of all the top schools with data available.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Santa Rosa (CA) (and 1 other) Santa Rosa (CA) (and 1 other) $8,174 Not Reported $67,300
#2 #2 Multiple Locations Multiple Locations $14,000 $23,128 $48,000
#3 #3 Bloomfield Hills (MI) (and 1 other) Bloomfield Hills (MI) (and 1 other) $4,472 $7,082 $43,800
#4 #4 Orange Beach (AL) Orange Beach (AL) $6,600 $11,434 $43,100
#5 #5 Lansing (MI) Lansing (MI) $9,830 $17,755 $42,100
#6 #6 Hillsboro (MO) Hillsboro (MO) $6,510 $9,000 $40,500
#7 #7 Brooklyn Park (MN) Brooklyn Park (MN) $4,433 $21,389 $39,700
#8 #8 Livonia (MI) Livonia (MI) $7,230 $8,658 $39,300
#9 #9 Rochester (MN) Rochester (MN) $5,639 $14,750 $39,000
#10 #10 Palm Desert (CA) Palm Desert (CA) $8,615 Not Reported $38,900
#11 #11 Lynchburg (VA) Lynchburg (VA) $11,700 $25,000 $38,600
#12 #12 Waterloo (IA) Waterloo (IA) $6,021 $15,337 $37,900
#13 #13 Bloomington (MN) Bloomington (MN) $5,791 $15,350 $37,700
#14 #14 Sault Ste Marie (MI) Sault Ste Marie (MI) $11,895 $24,928 $37,500
#15 #15 Blue Bell (PA) Blue Bell (PA) $14,970 $11,172 $37,300
#16 #16 Manchester (NH) Manchester (NH) $9,600 $15,291 $36,600
#17 #17 Blackwood (NJ) Blackwood (NJ) $4,440 $10,800 $36,400
#18 #18 Charles Town (WV) Charles Town (WV) $6,880 $23,234 $36,300
#19 #19 Minneapolis (MN) Minneapolis (MN) $5,396 $29,075 $36,300
#20 #20 Alexandria (MN) Alexandria (MN) $5,416 $12,000 $36,200
#21 #21 Holyoke (MA) Holyoke (MA) $9,846 $10,000 $36,000
#22 #22 Marion (OH) Marion (OH) $6,822 Not Reported $35,500
#23 #23 Salt Lake City (UT) Salt Lake City (UT) $12,206 $11,500 $35,200
#24 #24 Pewaukee (WI) Pewaukee (WI) $6,271 $14,704 $34,900
#25 #25 White Bear Lake (MN) White Bear Lake (MN) $5,435 $19,350 $34,900

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top colleges for an Associate in Criminal Justice degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

#1
Santa Rosa (CA) (and 1 other)
Median Salary $67,300
Median Debt Not Reported
Annual Tuition $8,174
Graduation Rate 35%
Student Reviews None (Add review)

Santa Rosa Junior College offers an Administration of Justice program at its main campus in Santa Rosa. This degree program provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue a career in law enforcement or criminal justice, focusing on practical, real-world applications in the field. Santa Rosa offers a two-year associate degree in addition to a Certificate in Law Enforcement, Corrections, or Children in the Justice System. Graduates of the associate degree can enter the workforce upon completion apply their knowledge and credits toward a four-year degree in law enforcement or criminal justice.

The associate degree in administration of justice can lead to a career as a police officer, deputy sheriff, corrections officer, or other law enforcement profession. Students at Santa Rosa Junior College learn and grow under the guidance of professors with real-world experience in law enforcement, including the roles of peace officer, corrections officer, and parole officer.

Visit Santa Rosa Junior College's website.

#2
Multiple Locations
Median Salary $48,000
Median Debt $23,128
Annual Tuition $14,000
Graduation Rate 27%

Herzing University offers an Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice that enables students to enter into a career immediately upon graduation or to further their education with a bachelor’s degree. The associate degree takes, on average, 20 months to complete, and the average duration for the bachelor’s degree is 32 months.

The associate degree program delivers most of its coursework online, though some courses are available at Herzing University’s main campus in Kenosha. This allows students to complete assignments and coursework when it is most convenient for them and gives them the opportunity to engage with their peers and professors face to face. On-campus learning also lets students complete practical, hands-on learning and projects. The criminal justice curriculum at Herzing University includes coursework in the legal system, corrections, forensics, and investigation, providing students a foundation in criminal justice.

Visit Herzing University's website.

#3
Bloomfield Hills (MI) (and 1 other)
Median Salary $43,800
Median Debt $7,082
Annual Tuition $4,472
Graduation Rate 11%

There is a wide range of criminal justice degree programs available at Oakland Community College. The college offers four associate degree options focused on different areas of the criminal justice field, including generalist, law enforcement, corrections, and police evidence technology.

The generalist specialization provides students with an education in police procedures and the legal system, which is applicable for a career in the police force or as a civil servant in the criminal justice sector. The law enforcement path provides knowledge of law, criminal investigations, and police procedures and administration, preparing students for work as a police officer or investigator. The corrections option allows students to focus their studies in the area of corrections, probation, parole, and the design and workings of different detention facilities. This specialization is ideal for a career as a corrections officer or a juvenile detention officer. The associate degree in police evidence technology teaches students the theory and practice of crime scene investigation and the collection and preservation of evidence. This track gives students the required knowledge and skills to become a crime scene investigator or evidence collection officer.

Visit Oakland Community College's website.

#4
Orange Beach (AL)
Median Salary $43,100
Median Debt $11,434
Annual Tuition $6,600
Graduation Rate 27%

Columbia Southern University’s Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice is designed to provide entry-level students the foundation and knowledge to pursue a career or further their education in the criminal justice field. The program is flexible, offering students the opportunity to learn and study according to their individual needs and preferences. Coursework is delivered entirely online, and students are not required to log in at set times.

The standard term enrollment allows students to complete courses at their own pace within each nine-week semester. The “Lifepace” option offers students complete control and freedom, with no term start or end dates. Students are encouraged to progress at their own pace, in as little as four weeks or as long as 18 weeks.

Visit Columbia Southern University's website.

#5
Lansing (MI)
Median Salary $42,100
Median Debt $17,755
Annual Tuition $9,830
Graduation Rate 18%

The Criminal Justice program at Lansing Community College is unique because it includes a diverse range of concentrations within its criminal justice program, allowing students to pursue the path that best suits their career goals. The college offers five associate degree paths and five certificate options with specialties in corrections, digital evidence, juvenile justice, and law enforcement. All concentrations are offered on campus, and students may complete coursework in person or online.

The criminal justice program at Lansing Community College educates and qualifies students for jobs across the fields of law enforcement and corrections. The programs are accredited by the Michigan Department of Corrections or the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. The college also offers a police academy program that provides students the knowledge and skills they need to begin a career as a police officer immediately upon graduation.

Visit Lansing Community College's website.