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Criminal Justice Degree Offers Career Advancement

February 3, 2020

Law enforcement officers and criminal justice professionals have an opportunity to advance their careers with Jackson State Community College’s associate of applied science degree in criminal justice. The two-year degree program, which launched in August 2018, is available for students who also want to enter those fields quickly.


“If you want to help others in the community, this is the career field for you,” said Assistant Professor Karen Perrin, who joined Jackson State in 2018 as the lead criminal justice faculty, advisor, and club sponsor. Vivian Minton, Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences, oversees the program.



Karen Perrin
Karen Perrin

Perrin has a broad background in the criminal justice field. She has served the community as a juvenile and adult probation officer, crisis victims advocate, and a correctional officer. She also served as a military police officer in the U.S. Navy.


The AAS degree supports careers spanning the field of criminal justice in the areas of law enforcement and corrections. The associate of applied science degree class which include, mental health aspects, report writing, and internship opportunities.


“A criminal justice degree provides individuals the ability to play to their strengths and use them for the greater good of the community,” Perrin said. “Whether you want to become a law enforcement officer, assist victims of crimes, oversee the progress of a probationer, or guide delinquent youth, a criminal justice degree can open up those career paths.”


The associate of applied science degree can be completed in as little as two years. It is a non-transferable program, but after completion, students can enter the workforce or be able to advance in their careers.


Jackson State also offers a criminal justice associate of science degree and a criminal justice associate of arts degree. Both lay the groundwork for a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college, and most of the classes overlap. The associate of arts degree, however, includes a foreign language requirement in Spanish.


“The criminal justice pathway is designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year institution and pursue a career in one of the many areas within criminal justice,” Perrin said. “Students can prepare for careers in local, state, or federal law enforcement, corrections to include parole or probation, and the juvenile justice system. Students who major in criminal justice have a broad range of opportunities.”


Jackson State Community College provides accessible learning opportunities that enhance the lives of individuals, strengthen the workforce and empower the diverse communities of West Tennessee. The institution offers traditional and contemporary associate degrees, certificates, continuing education and enrichment, and college-readiness programs.

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