Criminal Justice

Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in working in CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) or Forensics?
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What criminal justice degree/certificate programs and concentrations are being offered at Vol State?
  1. Associate of Applied Science, Criminal Justice (AAS),
  2. Associate of Science, Emphasis Criminal Justice (AS), and
  3. Technical Certificate in Criminal Justice.

The criminal justice program at Volunteer State is multi-disciplinary, offering courses in policing/law enforcement, investigations, corrections, probation/parole and courts/legal system.

What criminal justice courses are being offered at Vol State?
  • CRMJ 1010   Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • CRMJ 1020   Introduction to the Legal Process
  • CRMJ 1030   Understanding Terrorism
  • CRMJ 1040   Criminal Investigation
  • CRMJ 1110   Introduction to Criminal Law
  • CRMJ 1150   Criminal Justice Career Planning
  • CRMJ/SOCI 2000   Criminology
  • CRMJ 2010   Introduction to Law Enforcement
  • CRMJ 2020   Introduction to Corrections
  • CRMJ 2030   Drug Identification and Effects
  • CRMJ 2040   Investigative Report Writing
  • CRMJ 2090   Probation and Parole
  • CRMJ 2110   Juvenile Justice
  • CRMJ 2130   Criminal Justice Internship
Does Vol State offer online criminal justice classes?

Yes, we currently offer CRMJ 1010-Introduction to Criminal Justice online, and will be offering more online classes in the future. Additionally, RODP (Regents Online Degree Program) is currently offering the Associate of Applied in Criminal Justice (AAS) in Criminal Justice online. Note-the AAS is not designed to transfer to a four-year college/university; if you will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree. RODP course tuition is higher than Vol State and we recommend seeing an advisor before taking online classes.

What are the differences and similarities between the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Criminal Justice and the Associate of Science (AS) in Criminal Justice?

Both the AS and AAS are associate degrees (2-year) that are 60 credit hours.

The Associate of Science (AS) in Criminal Justice is for students wanting to transfer to a four year college or university to complete a baccalaureate degree in criminal justice. The Associate of Science of Science in Criminal Justice is also known as the AS-TTP (Tennessee Transfer Pathway).

The Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice (AAS) in criminal justice is not designed to transfer to a four year college or university. The AAS is for students wanting to seek entry-level employment in the criminal justice field upon completing their associate degree. Students who complete the AAS and later wish to transfer to a four year college or university will need to complete additional general education coursework.

Will Vol State criminal justice courses transfer to a 4-year college or university?

It will depend on what college university that you transfer to. Vol State has several agreements with colleges/universities in Tennessee for transferability of criminal justice classes. In addition, the Tennessee Transfer Pathway (TTP) guarantees transfer of the Associate of Science in Criminal Justice (AS) to any public Tennessee college/university. Check with your advisor if you have questions.

What jobs can I obtain with an AAS or AS in Criminal Justice?

Generally, entry level positions (correctional officer, deputy sheriff, police officer, investigative assistant, loss prevention officer, juvenile detention officer, etc). Students are encouraged to discuss their career goals with an advisor; additional education may be needed for certain careers.

What jobs can I obtain with a Technical Certificate in Criminal Justice?

The Criminal Justice Technical Certificate (CJTC) is an enhancement tool to provide a competitive edge for individuals applying for entry level positions that don’t require a degree. The CJTC can also be obtained by individuals who already have a college degree, but wish to advance their knowledge in the area of criminal justice.

How long will it take to complete the AAS, AS or Certificate?

The AAS and AS can be completed in four to six semesters depending on the number of courses taken per semester, course offerings or inclusion of summer sessions. The technical certificate can be completed in one semester (Fast Track Program) or two semesters, again depending number of courses taking per semester, course offerings or inclusion of summer sessions.

What are the cost of criminal justice courses for the AAS, AS or Certificate program?

Please visit the Business Office website for a listing of current tuition and fees.

Do you offer day and evening classes?

Yes, we currently offer day and evening criminal justice and general education classes.

What are the admission and/or application requirements for the criminal justice AAS, AS, or Certificate program?

You will need to complete an application packet. Please visit Office of Admissions in room 173 of the Ramer Building or contact them at (615) 230 - 3688 or for further information.

Can I receive transfer credit for criminal justice courses taken at another college/university?

Yes, however courses evaluated for transfer must have been taken at an accredited college or university. In addition, the courses must be evaluated by admissions, the criminal justice program Director and be equivalent to courses offered at Vol State. Students who have attended other institutions of higher education, and will pursue a degree at Vol State, must provide official transcripts of all credits attempted. Transcripts are evaluated prior to, or during the initial term of enrollment. You must, however, earn at least a “C” or equivalent for a course to be considered for transfer. Note: Some criminal justice courses may not transfer.

Can I receive credit for courses if I have experience and training in the criminal justice field?

Students with substantial training and experience in the field of criminal justice may take challenge exams for some criminal justice coursework with approval of the Director of Criminal Justice. All requests will be evaluated by the Criminal Justice Director with approval of the Office of Admissions.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)- Students who have successfully completed municipal, county, state, or federal law enforcement or corrections training program that is accredited, may be eligible to receive academic credit for selected courses contained in the College’s Criminal Justice Program.

Can I obtain a job in the criminal justice field if I have a criminal history?

Important Advisory for All Potential Applicants to Degree or Certificate Programs in Criminal Justice: Background Checks – Drug Screens - Fitness for Duty Examinations

While not a prerequisite for admission to Criminal Justice programs of study, criminal justice and related agencies maintain certain standards of “fitness” for prospective employees at the application stage. Job applications routinely ask applicants if they have ever been arrested/convicted of any offense, either misdemeanor or felony. An affirmative response or finding during a background investigation may be grounds to deny employment. Individuals who have previously entered guilty, nolo contendere, no contest pleas or otherwise been convicted of any felony charge will generally not be able to obtain employment in the criminal justice field. Employers in the criminal justice field may also require applicants to take psychological tests, polygraph examination, drug screening and/or medical tests to determine if applicants are suited for a particular position. Current or previous illegal usage of heroin, LSD, PCP, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, or other controlled substances may be grounds to reject applicants for employment. In addition, individuals released or discharged other than Honorably from any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States may be grounds to deny employment in the field of criminal justice. Finally, prospective students might be required to undergo a criminal background check or drug screening before being permitted to participate in a site visit, clinical, or internship experience that constitutes a required portion of the educational program. Students who cannot satisfactorily pass a criminal background check may be prohibited by outside agencies from participating at their site, thus preventing a student from completing the course of study.

With respect to the above, the Criminal Justice Department and Volunteer State Community College (VSCC) advises applicants to the Criminal Justice program to consider carefully whether any of the foregoing considerations apply to them and therefore result in the likelihood that completion of the program and/or subsequent employment in related fields may prove problematic or impossible. Completion and a related credential from any criminal justice course of study do not guarantee that a student is employable.

Can I obtain a job in the criminal justice field if I have a drug history?

Use of hardcore drugs (LSD, PCP, Ecstasy, Cocaine, Heroin, etc.) may exclude you from consideration for many careers. Use of marijuana, depending on the amount and frequency, may exclude you from consideration for some careers in criminal justice for a certain number of years. Please see the Director of Criminal Justice if you have questions.

What is the average starting salary for a career in criminal justice?

It depends on your education, training and experience, however starting salaries range from a low of $22,000 to a high of $42,000 per year.

What is the job outlook for obtaining a career in the criminal justice field?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010) job opportunities in most criminal justice fields (law enforcement, corrections and courts) will be favorable for qualified individuals.

What are some of the hiring requirements for obtaining a career in the criminal justice field?

Hiring requirements will vary depending on the agency, level and type of position applied for. You can expect that most agencies will require an extensive background investigation, psychological testing, physical requirements and a medical examination. Note: Many positions do not have any age restrictions for hiring, however some law enforcement positions in the federal government have a mandatory retirement age that restrict appointment to positions beyond age (37) thirty-seven.

Why choose the criminal justice program at Vol State?

We encourage academic excellence and integrity. We serve a diverse population throughout 12 counties. The instructors in the criminal justice program have a wealth of practical work experience and education in the criminal justice field. We encourage our students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. We encourage hands-on teaching that involves students in activities and exercises that provide them with a “real world” understanding of various elements of the criminal justice system. We have active involvement with guest speakers, field trips and the criminal justice student organization Lambda Alpha Epsilon.