Criminal Justice A.A.S. Degree

Criminal Justice A.A.S. Degree

Career Description

A criminal justice degree is part of the Professional Peace Officer Education Program requirement for Minnesota Peace Officer licensing standards. All course work is certified by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training and meets the Board’s learning objectives. The degree applies for those interested in other areas of the justice system.

Program Information

Finish your Criminal Justice A.A.S. Degree in just two years with these challenging, hands-on courses. Students will get a first-hand look into the current industry technologies, methods and peace officer practices. A fleet of new, state-of-the-art squad cars gives students a driver’s seat view into the career field of a Minnesota peace officer. Because of a close partnership with area peace officer agencies and the college, students have a wide selection of choices for internships. With this A.A.S degree, you can pursue careers in areas such as Minnesota peace officer, deputy, state patrol, conservation officer, or corrections officer.

Program Outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  • Understand the structure, process, and relationships between Minnesota Peace Officers and the correctional system;
  • Apply tactical skills, such as weapon safety, defense and arrest tactics, vehicle operation, crisis management, and use of force options;
  • Process crime scenes from preliminary stage through disposition;
  • Recognize diversity and cultural differences as a mature, ethical, compassionate, and adaptable citizen while meeting the needs of clients and communities;
  • Interpret and apply theory, law, policy, and practice as related to juvenile delinquency and deviant behavior;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the roles of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches and how they relate to criminal law;
  • Apply knowledge of criminal law, constitutional law, and Minnesota traffic laws;
  • Demonstrate strong communication skills–both oral and written–along with understanding leadership challenges and contributions in various communities that have experienced racial oppression as it intersects with gender, class, sexuality, disability, and other social identities; and
  • Prepare as public servants with the fundamental duty to serve and protect the community from harm and respect the constitutional rights of all citizens.

Special Program Requirements

In addition to the program requirements, students must meet the following conditions in order to graduate:

  1. Students must achieve a grade of “C” or higher in all courses required in the program;
  2. College Cumulative GPA Requirement: cumulative grade point average (GPA) of credits attempted and completed at CLC must be at least 2.0;
  3. College Technical Core GPA Requirement: cumulative GPA of credits attempted and completed towards the technical core of the diploma or degree must be at least 2.0;
  4. Residency Requirement: students must complete 25% of their credits at Central Lakes College;
  5. Courses required for Minnesota P.O.S.T. licensing must be completed within three (3) years of starting the certificate;
  6. Students must have a valid Emergency Medical Responder certification (or higher) at the time of the Post Board Exam.


  • Students must complete and pass a background check and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) with a psychologist approved by the Program Coordinator prior to being officially admitted into the program. The background check and MMPI will be completed during the first week of classes.

Please see the Criminal Justice Coordinator for further information.

Transfer Opportunities

Central Lakes College has an Articulation Agreement with St. Cloud State University and Bemidji State University for transfer of Criminal Justice courses. Other colleges and universities conduct a student-by-student evaluation regarding transfer of courses and degree.

Employment Statistics

For more information regarding employment statistics, career salary information and estimated job growth, follow the resource links below:
Salary information from

Criminal Justice Program Squad Car

Program Course Requirements

CRJU 1101     Criminal Justice, 3 cr
CRJU 1104     Juvenile Justice, 3 cr
CRJU 2101** Criminal Law, 3 cr
CRJU 2102*   Criminal Procedures, 4 cr
CRJU 2108     Criminal Investigations, 3 cr
CRJU 2114**  Traffic Law, 3 cr
CRJU 2124     General Evidence and Identification Prep, 4 cr
CRJU 2126     Racial and Ethnic Awareness for Minnesota Peace Officers, 4 cr
CRJU 2140     Peace Officers and Behavioral Science, 3 cr

Minnesota Peace Officer Pathway
Select a minimum of 26 credits from these courses:
CRJU 1106     Corrections & Probation, 3 cr
CRJU 1109     Report Writing, 3 cr
CRJU 1112     Peace Officers and the Community, 3 cr
CRJU 2106** Fitness for Minnesota Peace Officers, 2 cr
CRJU 2116     Science of Fingerprints, 4 cr
CRJU 2118     Criminal Justice Photography, 4 cr
CRJU 2135     Internship, 4-8 cr
CRJU 2160     Use of Force, 2 cr
CRJU 2162     Firearms, 3 cr
CRJU 2164     Patrol Practicals, 5 cr
CRJU 2166     Tactical Communications/Relations, 2 cr
CRJU 2311     Basic Firearms, 1 cr
CRJU 2315     Post Prep, 1 cr

Criminal Justice Pathway
Students must choose a minimum of 30 credits from the following list:
CRJU 1106     Corrections & Probation, 3 cr
CRJU 1108     Community Corrections, 3 cr
CRJU 1109     Report Writing, 3 cr
CRJU 1112     Peace Officers and the Community, 3 cr
CRJU 1125     Personal Protection Awareness, 2 cr
CRJU 2106**  Fitness for Minnesota Peace Officers, 2 cr
CRJU 2110     Topics in Criminal Justice, 1-3 cr
CRJU 2116     Science of Fingerprints, 4 cr
CRJU 2118     Criminal Justice Photography, 4 cr
CRJU 2135     Internship, 4-8 cr
CRJU 2311     Basic Firearms, 1 cr

An A.A.S. degree requires a minimum of 15 credits selected from at least three of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC). Students must include the following courses:
COMM 2420 Intercultural Communication (Goals 1,7), 3 cr
ENGL 1410    Composition I (Goal 1), 4 cr
PSYC 2441     Social Psychology (Goals 5,7), 3 cr
SOCL 2405     Criminology (Goal 5), 3 cr
SOCL 2481     Race, Ethnicity and Oppression (Goals 5,7), 3 cr

*These courses required for Minnesota P.O.S.T. licensing must be completed within 3 years of starting the degree.
**These courses must be completed prior to SKILLS.

Program Instructors

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