- Option for foreign/second languages: Historically for this program, students have been required to earn at least five college-level credits of a second language (e.g., Spanish, German, American Sign Language, etc.). Now, students will have the opportunity to prove fluency in a language other than English. Pursuing proof of fluency must be PRE-approved by the Criminal Justice Program Coordinator. See degree information link, below, for details.
What can I do with a degree in Criminal Justice?
The Criminal Justice field includes three large areas of employment: law enforcement; the courts; and corrections. Graduates from the Criminal Justice (CJ) Program can work for local, state, or federal governments as patrol officers, deputies, correctional officers, security specialists, court officers, border patrol officers, and more. Jobs are available through the private sector in security and protective services.
Some jobs in this field require a bachelor's degree; others involve a combination of education and on-the-job training. Additionally, some criminal justice professions require background checks as a condition of employment.
Degree Information [PDF Format]
- Associate in Science Degree / Criminal Justice
- Certificate / Criminal Justice -- Click here for Gainful Employment details.
What are the options in the Criminal Justice program?
WCC students may pursue an Associate in Science degree or certificate. There are two options in the CJ degree for more focused study:
- General - concentrates on knowledge important in the field of CJ.
- Computer Forensics - introduces students to a specialized field of law enforcement.
The degree contains Core Requirement courses, a choice of two different Specialty Requirements for more focused study, and Related Instruction/General Education courses. Students must complete all Core Requirements, one Specialty Requirement, and all Related Instruction/General Education courses for a total of at least 90 degree credits.
The certificate is designed for students who either have a previous degree or who wish to start more quickly in an entry-level job.
Many students pursuing Criminal Justice want to maximize the transferability of their course work to the university/four-year college system. Students can earn both the CJ degree and the Associate in Arts and Sciences (AAS transfer) degree with a minimum of extra credits. Also, students in the AAS transfer degree program can use a limited number of CJ classes as electives. For either of these plans of action, we strongly recommend that students use WCC's advising services in developing their educational plan.
What do I do to apply to the program?
The CJ Program has no special admissions, so you can enter any quarter. Click the 'apply now' link at the right to get started on your application for admission to the college. Make an appointment with an academic advisor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (360) 383-3080. Attend an information session to learn more about the program.
How long does the degree take to complete?
The Associate in Science degree is 90 degree credits, which typically takes two years for a full-time student to complete. However, many students have additional credits that must be taken in order to be ready for college-level English and math courses. Also, many students take longer than two years to complete an Associate degree because of part-time or full-time work schedules.
More information from the following resources is available in the Career Center (LDC 117):
- Barron's Guide to Homeland Security Careers
- Barron's Guide to Law Enforcement Careers
- Careers in Focus: Public Safety
- Great Jobs for Criminal Justice Majors
- Opportunities in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Careers Federal Jobs in Law Enforcement
Career & Salary Outlook
Wages vary by specific profession. For example, a private security guard may start at $9.56 per hour, a correctional officer at $23.86 per hour, or a police officer at $31.09 per hour.
Sources: CareerOneStop 2012; Washington Occupation Information System, 2013; WA State Employment Security Department, September 2013.
Advising and Education Planning
360.383.3080 for appointment
Kulshan Hall, Room 107
What Students Are Saying About Criminal Justice
"I really liked that many of the instructors were experienced police officers and detectives. I gained real, practical knowledge of the law and how the courts work."
- Steve, Corrections Officer