Associates Degree in Law Enforcement

An associate degree in law enforcement is designed to prepare students for entry level careers in the field.  The degree enables students to gain a sound understanding of law, the constitution, federal and state statutes, and court decisions that are applicable to their duties. It is a pathway to acquire a rewarding career in public or private law enforcement.

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The coursework offered by an associate degree in law enforcement can vary from one institute to another. However, there are some core courses that are a part of almost all degree programs. These core courses include:

Computer Applications and Business Systems Concepts

The course covers basic to advanced computer concepts and skills. Students learn to create and modify word documents, design databases, create and analyze spreadsheets, use internet and e-commerce tools, and create presentations with enhanced features and web tools.

Introduction to Criminal Justice

It is an introductory course that serves as a foundation in the criminal justice field. Students are given an opportunity to explore different areas of the criminal justice system, find interrelationships, and understand the role of each criminal justice process. They also learn about the historical basis of the contemporary American legal system, policing styles, structure of judicial system, evolution of crime prevention, and rehabilitation strategies for criminal offenders.

Policing in America

The course is designed to help students explore the theoretical side of police work in the United States, including its history, current status, and trends that will define its future. Course topics include problems faced by citizens and their solutions, patrol officers, administrators, and agencies. Other topics covered in the course are contemporary practices such as community oriented policing, problem oriented policing, and directed patrol. Students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills after the completion of this course.

Ethics in Criminal Justice

This introductory course is critical in giving students a strong theoretical foundation on dealing with ethical issues and dilemmas. Students not only acquire a realistic picture of ethical issues that arise in the field of law enforcement and criminal justice, but they also get an understanding of sound moral decisions made in response to these issues.

Crime Scene to Conviction: critical skills in documentation

With the help of this course, students develop their oral and written communication skills. They learn about grammar and the mechanics of writing. They also get an insight on special communication issues, like interacting with crime victims. Students acquire useful skills to prepare reports and documents such as warrants, police reports, and case documents.  They analyze the impact of proper report writing on the results of legal proceedings, and evaluate the importance of effective courtroom testimony.

Criminal Law and Procedures

The course examines the procedures involved in criminal law.  Students are introduced to the federal and state court systems. They also explore concepts of evidence sufficiency, standards of proof, and due process. Other topics in the course include statutory defenses, mitigating factors that influence criminal responsibility, and common law principles.

Juvenile Justice: Delinquency, Dependency, and Diversion

The course emphasizes on the juvenile justice system, including the nature and extent of delinquency, models and theories, juvenile laws, court practices, and procedures. Students find out about the role of law enforcement and juvenile correctional officer. They also learn about juvenile training schools, probation, and aftercare treatment.

Practical Psychology for Law Enforcement

In this course, students learn about the principles of psychology and how they relate to the field of law enforcement. It covers key concepts from a policing perspective and analyzes real world effects on peace officers, their families, and citizens. Students apply ideas from psychology to come up with effective interviewing strategies, offender behavior modification strategies, and officer coping techniques. They also assess the physiological and psychological impact of trauma, stress, and experiences specific to the law enforcement profession.

Admission Requirements

An associate degree in law enforcement is a foundational program, so there are a relatively few admission requirements, compared to other degrees in the field. Although, there can be variations in the requirements of institutes, following are some of the key pointers for admission in the program:

  • You need to have a high School Diploma or GED.
  • You must complete the application process by submitting required information before the deadline.
  • Interview may be conducted to assess your interest and aptitude in law enforcement.
  • There may be a written aptitude test to evaluate your knowledge and skills in successfully completing the core courses.


Students are expected to acquire a number of crucial law enforcement skills after the completion of their degree.  Some of the key skills include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Ability to manage emergencies
  • Professionalism and ethics
  • Investigative techniques
  • Effective communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Developing strategies
  • Analytical skills


Accreditation is carried out to ensure that a school delivers quality education. The accreditation process assists institutions to improve all areas of instruction. It guarantees a quality curriculum and excellent education delivery. An accredited institute is required to regularly assess its programs and faculty, so that it can provide a high standard education for students. Students can find out about the accreditation of their institute and accrediting agencies by visiting the official websites of Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Following are some of the major organizations that provide accreditation to institutes.

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
  • Distance Education Training Council
  • Southern Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Students can acquire the following benefits by selecting an accredited program:

  • Reliable university, faculty, and curriculum.
  • Degree is valuable and worth the investment.
  • Students get an edge over other applicants when applying for a job.
  • Employers are confident about the student’s skills and education.
  • More opportunities are available for career advancement.


Employers in the field of law enforcement do not always require that candidates hold more than a high school diploma. However, individuals who have an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree can have the advantage of more job opportunities. Some of the entry level jobs you can acquire with an associate’s degree in law enforcement include:

  • Private investigator
  • Correctional officer
  • Police officer
  • Border patrol officer
  • Fish and game warden

How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement?

An associate’s degree in law enforcement would typically take two years to complete, with a full-time study format. Online and part-time options may also be available at several colleges and technical institutes, allowing students to finish the degree at their own pace. This might end up taking around three to five years.

What Are the Requirements to Get an Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement?

The minimum formal education required to get an associate’s degree in law enforcement is a high school diploma or a GED. A lot of employers in this field, however, prefer students who have a bachelor’s degree. To complete an associate’s degree in law enforcement, you will have to cover courses such as criminology, legal system dynamics, criminal justice assisting, community protection, sociology, psychology etc.

How Much Can I Make after I Get an Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement?

With an associate’s degree in law enforcement, you can opt for entry level jobs as Correctional Officers and Bailiffs, Private Detectives and Investigators and Security Guards. You can also use this degree as a stepping stone for further education. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Correctional Officers and Bailiffs made an annual median income of $44,400 in 2018.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Associate In Law Enforcement, Policing And Investigation provides knowledge on what important topics?

A:An Associate in Law Enforcement, Policing And Investigation is a foundation degree program that covers fundamental concepts. If you enroll in this program you will study numerous topics such as criminology, criminal justice ethics, police management, community policing, crime scene investigation, report writing, etc. With this program you can apply for basic entry level jobs in law enforcement.

Q:What are the teaching objectives of a law enforcement associate degree?

A:The associate's degree in law enforcement provides the students with profound knowledge of the law, federal and state statutes, and the United States constitution. The curriculum centers on various aspects of law enforcement and includes courses such as policing in America, principles of criminal justice, crime scene to conviction, criminal law and procedures, and juvenile justice.

Q:Which job positions can I get after getting an associates degree in law enforcement?

A:After an associate's degree in law enforcement you will have a number of careers to choose from. The two most common careers: Criminal Justice and law Enforcement teachers who teach post secondary classes in law enforcement, their median pay was $56,980 annually and Police and Detectives are charged with the responsibility to protect property and lives, their median pay were $56,980 annually (BLS 2012).

Q:How long is the associate degree in law enforcement?

A:An associate degree program is a foundation degree program that will normally take two years if an on-campus, traditional route is chosen. However, now a large number of associate degrees in law enforcement are offered online. An online degree has no set time of completion and can be lengthened or shortened based on the demands of the student's lifestyle.

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