Criminal Justice, Associate of Applied Science


Program Information

Do you desire to make the world a better and safer place? Do you believe in justice and protection? If so, studying criminal justice at San Jacinto College is an excellent place to begin.

Our program prepares you for a variety of exciting and meaningful careers—law enforcement, emergency management, homeland security, corrections, probation, parole, and even social work. We offer a degree plan that prepares you for a career in criminal justice—one of the most popular, fascinating, and fastest growing fields. Choose this path, and you will be serving society with a chance to make the world a better place.

The San Jacinto College Criminal Justice program:

  • Offers students a career that gives back to their community. When you study criminal justice at San Jacinto College, you are supporting safety as you train to serve as a professional in the criminal justice field;
  • Prepares students to specialize in studies for their long-term goals that can lead to rewarding careers in social work, the FBI, pre-law, homeland security, and emergency management; and
  • Is best for those individuals who want to pursue a challenging career in a criminal justice profession. Criminal justice is today’s new liberal arts degree.

Additional Information

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree offers the educational foundation needed in policing, social work, corrections, probation, and parole. In addition, the program has certificates that focus on educational direction and are centered around professional fields.

Working police officers who have completed a basic police academy and passed the state’s licensing exam may be eligible to earn credit for prior learning through San Jacinto College once they complete at least one credit hour at San Jacinto College. Students may contact the Department Chair for more information.

Career Opportunities

  • Police Officers
  • Parole Officers
  • Probation Officers
  • Adult Protective Service Officers
  • Child Protective Service Officers
  • Social Workers
  • Pre-law
  • Emergency Management
  • Homeland Security
  • FBI

Earning Potential

Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher starting salary: $20.69 per hour1

Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office detention deputy starting salary: $23.25 per hour1

Harris County detention officer starting salary: $41,080 per year2

Pasadena Police Department patrol officer starting salary: $69,945 per year3

Rosenberg Police Department police officer starting salary: $63,470 per year4

Webster Police Department police officer starting salary: $65,631 per year5


Source:, 2023


Source:, 2023


Source:, 2023


Source:, 2023


Source:, 2023

For more information, students may contact Central campus, 281-476-1873; or North campus, 281-998-6350, x7435.


Central Campus
North Campus

San Jac Online


Criminal Justice is an interdisciplinary program with enough flexibility to permit students to pursue diverse interests within the system. For example, an Associate of Arts (AA) in Criminal Justice allows students interested in social work, probation, parole, law, or law enforcement to have a foundational understanding before transfer to the university for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Students directed toward probation, parole, or corrections work are advised to select courses from the transfer core. Students seeking an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Criminal Justice have the opportunity to earn three certificates on the pathway to that degree. The AAS transfers to a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree at many universities.

Students enrolling in San Jacinto College programs with external learning experiences (e.g., internship, externship, cooperative, etc.) will be required to comply with the immunization requirements and policies of the external learning sites to engage in all external learning experiences. Vaccination requirements at external learning sites are implemented pursuant to the independent authority of such facilities and are not mandated by San Jacinto College. Failure to meet the immunization requirements mandated by external learning sites may limit a student’s ability to complete the program and/or may delay the student’s graduation date. San Jacinto College does not process exemptions, and students should address potential vaccination exemptions directly with the external learning site.


No admission requirements.

Job entry requirements:

Some occupations in the criminal justice field require applicants to pass a background investigation, psychological exam, drug test, and physical examination. Those entering law enforcement must pass all of the above as well as have no Class A or above convictions or no Class B convictions in the past 10 years.

In accordance with Texas House Bill 1508, the College informs all students in this program who may have a criminal background that a criminal history could keep graduates from being licensed by the state of Texas. Students with any questions about their background and licensure may speak with the Department Chair.  

Plan of Study


Plan of Study Grid
First TermCredits
CRIJ 1301/CJSA 1322 Introduction to Criminal Justice 3
CRIJ 1306/CJSA 1313 Court Systems and Practices 3
CRIJ 1310/CJSA 1327 Fundamentals of Criminal Law 3
CRIJ 2328/CJSA 1359 Police Systems and Practices 3
CRIJ 2313/CJCR 1307 Correctional Systems and Practices 3
Second Term
CRIJ 1307/CJSA 1312 Crime in America 3
CJLE 1327 Interviewing and Report Writing for Criminal Justice Professions 3
CRIJ 2323/CJSA 2300 Legal Aspects of Law Enforcement 3
CRIJ 2314/CJSA 1342 Criminal Investigation 3
CJSA 1348 Ethics in Criminal Justice 3
Third Term
CRIJ 2301 Community Resources in Corrections 3
CJSA 2323 Criminalistics II 3
CRIJ 1313/CJSA 1317 Juvenile Justice System 3
CJSA 1351 Use of Force 3
CJLE 1333 Traffic Law and Investigation 3
Fourth Term
SOCI 1301 Introduction to Sociology 3
HUMA 1301 Introduction to the Humanities I 3
ENGL 1301 Composition I 3
Select one of the following: 3
Introduction to Speech Communication
Public Speaking
Interpersonal Communication
Business and Professional Speech
Mathematics 3
 Total Credits60

Capstone: CRIJ 2323 Legal Aspects of Law Enforcement or CJSA 2300 Legal Aspects of Law Enforcement