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Promote a Safer Community. Get the Knowledge and Skills Online.

With a degree in Criminal Justice, there are countless possible career paths in our communities. From work in correctional facilities to community agencies, you could put your online career training to work to serve your community. For those with military experience, our ACCSC-accredited online Criminal Justice program opens up even more possibilities, including positions at government agencies. If you have a dream job in mind, talk to us today.

Our online college is committed to teaching the skills that employers seek. This accelerated online associate degree covers criminal behavior, legal proceedings, rehabilitation, police practices, corrections—all designed to get you Day 1 Ready for a job that can help serve your community. Keep up with coursework, and you could graduate in under 2 years. Take your courses on virtually any device, on your time, making it possible to continue working while you complete your degree. You’ll have access to instructors with years of experience.

Because career preparation goes beyond classes, Vista College’s personalized career services focus on all aspects of career readiness, from finding the right jobs to resume building to interview prep. Talk to us about your goals. If you are ready for the challenge, we’ll give you all the right tools.

What You’ll Learn

In our online associate degree program, you’ll study the law and legal system, criminal trends in the United States, and issues related to prevention and rehabilitation. You’ll develop administrative skills, learn to communicate and coordinate strategically, and use your judgment to make sound decisions—with integrity.

Fast Facts

Next Start Date
November 15

Course Length: 24 Months *
Class Hours:
Lab Hours:
Clinical Hours:

Campus: Online
* Based on successful, full time enrollment


Career Opportunities for Criminal Justice Graduates

Graduates of our online criminal justice program receive academic preparation for law enforcement, and other related fields, including corrections and security practices, depending on a variety of job requirements. Members of the military could have a wider range of opportunities.

Potential Job Titles: Correctional Treatment Specialists, Retail Loss Prevention Specialists, Government agents.

Why Online at Vista College?

The Right Skills for Real Jobs

The online campus at Vista College designs its Criminal Justice courses around the real skills that employers seek, getting you Day 1 Ready for jobs that are hiring today.

Course Title Credits
Introduction to Criminal Justice 4.5
Fundamentals of Criminal Law 4.5
Ethics in Criminal Justice 4.5
Victimology * 4.5
Police Systems and Practices * 4.5
Police Report Writing * 4.5
Criminal Investigation * 4.5
Corrections * 4.5
Family and Juvenile Investigation * 4.5
Crime and Criminals * 4.5
Criminal Behavior * 4.5
Evidence * 4.5
Courts and Criminal Procedures * 4.5
Professional Strategies 4.5
English Composition I 4.5
Contemporary Mathematics 4.5
General Psychology 4.5
Speech Communications 4.5

Introduction to Criminal Justice


This course focuses on the history and the philosophy of the American criminal justice system. Emphasis is placed on the development and the modern operations of law enforcement, courts, and corrections and how these agencies function together. The primary goal of this course is to develop a general understanding of the purpose of the criminal justice system and its response to crime in society.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Fundamentals of Criminal Law


This course examines criminal law from the aspect of historical evidence and classifications of crimes and criminal responsibility. Topics include the elements of criminal offenses, criminal liability, complicity, defenses, justifications, excuses, crimes against persons, crimes against property, and crimes against public order.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Ethics in Criminal Justice


This course focuses on the ethical considerations faced by personnel in the criminal justice industry. Emphasis is placed on an examination of cultural values and morals, an understanding of what constitutes moral and ethical behavior, and the application of ethics to the everyday decision-making process.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours



This course focuses on a comprehensive and a balanced exploration of victimology. Emphasis is placed on controversial issues in criminology to provide a better understanding of how society and the criminal justice system treat victims as a whole. Much of the data presented in this course comes from statistics gathered through the FBI’s annual NIBR Report and the Bureau of Justice Statistic’s National Crime Victimization Survey.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Police Systems and Practices


This course focuses on the inner workings of police departments including administration, the Criminal Investigation Department, special operations teams, internal affairs, school resources, and other specialized community policing groups. Special emphasis is placed on patrol procedures.

4.5 credits
25 theory hours
50 lab hours

Police Report Writing


This course focuses on writing an incident report and giving a thorough account of what happened. Emphasis is placed on following protocol, describing what happened, and editing the report including revisions to report writing as required by the prosecutor’s office. Additional topics include applications of field notes and demonstration of proper report writing.

4.5 credits
25 theory hours
50 lab hours

Criminal Investigation


This course focuses on the fundamentals of criminal investigation by examining the processes involved in identifying and arresting criminal suspects and identifying types of crimes and offenses while preparing for court.

4.5 credits
25 theory hours
50 lab hours



This course focuses on the history, the philosophy, and the components of the American corrections system. Emphasis is placed on the origins of correctional systems in the United States and examines programs such as jails, probation, parole, intermediate punishments, and prisons.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Family and Juvenile Investigation


This course focuses on the parent-child relationship, reporting child abuse, consent to medical treatment of a minor, and the general provisions of officer/juvenile/parent interaction.

4.5 credits
25 theory hours
50 lab hours

Crime and Criminals


This course focuses on crime, criminal behavior, and theories of crime causation. Emphasis is placed on various types of crime and crime-control policies.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Criminal Behavior


This course focuses on the origins of criminal behavior. Emphasisis placed on human aggression, violence, juvenile delinquency as it relates to criminal behavior, criminal psychopathy, and mental disorders as they relate to crime. Additional topics include homicide, family violence, sex crimes, multiple murders, and school/workplace violence. Finally, the course will offer insight into terrorism, property and public-order crimes, violent economic crimes, crimes of intimidation, and how substance abuse and alcohol relate to criminal behavior.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours



This course focuses on evidentiary concepts including gathering evidence, identifying evidentiary arguments, preparing evidence for trial, and emphasizing the role of the criminal justice professional. Emphasis is placed on terminology related to evidence, analyzing sources, drafting documents, applying the rules of evidence to discovery, determining the admissibility of evidence, and analyzing the ethical considerations relating to evidence.

4.5 credits
25 theory hours
50 lab hours

Courts and Criminal Procedures


This course examines the role of the judiciary in the criminal justice system, the various court levels and their jurisdictions, the prosecution of offenders, the basic right to counsel, the concept of pretrial release, the purpose and the function of a grand jury, the procedural processes of adjudication, types and purposes of sentencing, the rules of evidence, rules concerning trial procedure, the disposition of criminal cases, and the various means of structured sentencing.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Professional Strategies


This course focuses on the skills required to be successful in college and in your career. Emphasis is on time management, goal setting, and research techniques.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

English Composition I


This course focuses on developing written communication skills with an emphasis on understanding the writing process, analyzing readings, and practicing writing for personal and professional applications.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Contemporary Mathematics


This course focuses on the treatments of sets, logic, number systems, number theory, relations, functions, probability and statistics.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

General Psychology


This course focuses on human behavior. Emphasis is placed on biological foundations, the brain, sensation, perception, motivation, personality, learning/memory, emotion, states of consciousness, personality theories, cognition, life-span development, and applied psychology.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Speech Communications


This course focuses on human communication principles and theories embedded in a variety of contexts including interpersonal, small group, and public speaking.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

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