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How Long Is Criminal Justice School?


There are many types of criminal justice programs to choose from, and their length is normally between one year for a certificate or diploma program, up to four years for a bachelor’s degree program. A student will also find master's and doctoral degree programs in this field and those will take longer to complete. In this article, we’ll talk about a few different criminal justice programs and how long they each take.

Certificate or Diploma in Criminal Justice

Certificate and diploma programs in criminal justice generally emphasize private security/loss prevention and take about 1 year to complete. If a student takes classes just in the evening or on weekends, then these programs can take longer. A certificate program will prepare a student for an entry-level job in loss prevention, security, corrections, or transit/railroad police. See the Carrington College certificate training program and the UEI College diploma program as examples.

Associate of Science in Criminal Justice

An associate of science in criminal justice program takes 2 years to complete if attending school as a full time student. There are some accelerated programs available, such as one at Fremont College, and they may take as little as 15 months to complete. These criminal justice programs normally cover things like inmate management, private security, criminal investigation, juvenile justice, procedural criminal law, community relations and more.

There are other types of associate degree programs including paralegal studies and cyber security. These programs generally take 2 years for full time students as well. Our partner schools such as Remington College (locations across the U.S.) and Saint Leo University Online offer associate of science in criminal justice programs.

Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice Studies

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice will take a full time student 4 years to complete, on average. It will take less time if you study at an accelerated pace, and it’ll take longer if you go to school part time. The curriculum of a bachelor of science in criminal justice will include all the courses in an associate degree program plus more like criminology, cyber-crime and digital security, correctional rehabilitation, and international criminal justice. Some of our partner schools, such as Keiser University Online, offer B.A. programs.

See all partner schools offering criminal justice programs or search for a school by location.

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