Online Associate In Criminology Programs

An online associate degree in criminology can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the top programs available.

Updated September 16, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Associate In Criminology Programs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Criminologists analyze why people commit crimes, how crime affects people, and how to prevent crime in the future. The field dates back approximately 200 years, when law enforcement professionals began gathering and interpreting crime statistics. Today, criminologists study crime through multiple lenses, such as psychology and criminology.

Popular careers for professionals with an associate in criminology include police officer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that police officers earn median annual salaries approximately $25,000 over the national median. Police officers who become detectives earn more, and the BLS projects the need for these professionals to grow 5% in 2019-2029.

Exploring a Career in Criminology

Is criminology a good career?

Criminology careers appeal to individuals wanting to make a positive impact in their community. Besides police officer and detective, career opportunities include correctional officer and forensic science technician.

Do criminologists get paid well?

Occupations similar to police officers and detectives pay a median $29,710-$74,590 annual salary. As with other professions requiring a college diploma, experienced workers earn more than recent graduates.

Are criminologists in demand?

The BLS projects the need for police officers and detectives to grow somewhat faster than the median projected growth rate for all U.S. professions.

Where do criminologists work?

Criminologists work for state and local governments, private prisons, laboratories, and private ambulance companies. Other typical employers include law enforcement agencies. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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How Much Does a Criminology Degree Cost?

Although tuition costs vary, typically public institutions charge the most affordable per-credit tuition rate to in-state students. However, some public schools waive out-of-state tuition for online learners. Private schools cost the most but do not use residency-based tuition.

Some online associate in criminology programs provide a significant tuition discount to police officers and other first responders. These schools may also offer tuition-reduction programs. They may award credit for life experience or allow federal, state, and institutional financial aid awards to stack. The federal government also provides active-duty service members and veterans significant financial aid.

Although associate in criminology programs do not charge extra fees, online learners should expect to pay standard school fees. Fees may cover technology, portfolio assessment, and payment plan participation. Please contact a financial aid advisor to learn more about fees to estimate total out-of-pocket expenses.

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Criminology Majors Make?

Criminology professionals' salaries depend on the career path they select. Entry-level crime analysts and corrections officers earn less than their experienced peers. Some of the highest-paying professions in this field include forensic psychologists and FBI special agents. Typical salaries for these jobs exceed $50,000 annually.

Although the criminology field features many high-paying careers, they require more than an associate in criminology. No matter their specialization, all licensed psychologists need a doctorate, such as a Ph.D. or Psy.D. The FBI requires all potential special agents to also possess a bachelor's degree.

Besides higher degrees, professional certifications and college or university certificates help workers earn a raise or find a higher-paying job. Certifications and certificates take less time to finish than a degree while still imparting in-demand skills. Some bachelor's and graduate degrees accept certificates as transfer credit.

Courses in Criminology

Criminology coursework introduces students to law enforcement, the correction system, and the courts. Degree-seekers explore these and other topics in criminal justice research and writing, judicial process, and criminal law courses. Some programs allow students to select one or more criminal justice electives.

The following sample curriculum describes three courses degree-seekers typically take as part of their criminology associate degree. Schools also require general education courses, including natural science and communication. Contact an institution's admissions advisors or visit the program website to learn more about additional graduation requirements.

Certifications and Licensure for Criminology

Criminology professionals may need more than an associate criminology degree to attain a fulfilling job. Licenses and certifications demonstrate mastery of one or more skills, making applicants attractive to potential employers. The following three certifications feature an online curriculum and examination, allowing students to learn without interrupting their career.

The International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) awards the CLEA credential to college graduates with three years of relevant professional experience. Candidates must join IACA and pass an exam. Professionals renew their certification by developing a unique training program, taking continuing education courses, or publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal. Practicing paralegals and recent college graduates become CPs to increase their salary potential, earn a promotion, or explore new career opportunities. The exam involves 120 multiple-choice questions and an essay. Candidates who do not pass their first attempt may retest after 90 days. NALA members enjoy a significant discount on the certification process. Computer hacking forensic investigators research computer crime and make networks more secure. The CHFI certification process involves passing a four-hour, 150-question multiple-choice exam. Candidates without two years of professional experience must attend an official training session before testing. The passing score varies, depending on the exam form.

Scholarships for Criminology

An online criminology degree features multiple financial benefits, but some learners struggle to pay for school without going into debt. Fortunately, private scholarship opportunities like those below support the next generation of police officers and other criminology professionals. Each award features a 2021 deadline and accepts applications from associate in criminology degree-seekers.

Criminology Scholarships
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Gene Carte Student Paper Competition

$200-$500 The American Society of Criminology (ASC) awards this competitive scholarship to student members earning an undergraduate or graduate degree. Application materials include a research essay on a criminology-related topic.

Women in Federal Law Enforcement Scholarship Program

Varies Women earning a bachelor's degree or associate in criminology may qualify for the WIFLE Scholarship Program. Other application requirements include studying full time and maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Online Associate in Criminology Programs

#1 Online Associate In Criminology Programs

Central New Mexico Community College

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

A public, religiously non-affiliated institution, Central New Mexico Community College features affordable associate programs, including an AA in criminology. In addition to on-campus options, the school offers accessible online associate programs. Online learners often access flexible scheduling options. Associate-level curricula feature foundational coursework and field-specific classes. Prospective students can research associate programs on the school's website. Like on-campus students, online students work with advisors, IT support professionals, and other support staff. Associate-level curricula feature both coursework and practical training.

To qualify for more advanced positions, associate degree-holders can pursue a bachelor's degree. Many graduates of associate programs pursue entry-level positions. The school charges associate degree-seekers affordable per-credit tuition rates. Students pay an average of $4,424 to attend the school, after accounting for financial aid. The affordable two-year criminology degree also helps students begin their career faster.

The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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