Degree: Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
Program Code: 400-01
Program Length: 2 years - 4 Semesters
Minimum Credits: 63
Distance Learning Option Available
Tazewell Hall Room 215
Program: The Criminal Justice curriculum is designed to prepare individuals for careers and positions of leadership in the field of criminal justice. Supported by a broad general education component, the curriculum is structured toward the development of professional proficiency in the career fields of law enforcement, corrections, security, and wildlife management and enforcement. This curriculum is applicable to both the preparatory student and the experienced officer. Articulation agreements and transfer information are available for those students who intend to continue their education beyond the community college level and into four-year colleges or universities.
Local, State and Federal Enforcement Officer, Local, State and Federal Corrections Officer, State Wildlife Enforcement Officer, Commercial and Industrial Security Officer, Local, State, and Federal Criminal Justice Administrators, Private Investigator
Special Note to prospective students: The Department of Criminal Justice Services has the authority to deny certification to any applicant who does not meet the provisions of sections 15.2-1705 and 15.2-1706 of the Code of Virginia. Criminal Justice organizations to include law enforcement, corrections, and the State Bar Association are prohibited from hiring persons who have been convicted of certain criminal acts. Any person wishing to enter the Criminal Justice program who has committed any legal offenses including minor traffic violations should discuss these matters with the Criminal Justice Program Director prior to application. This is especially pertinent for anyone with a drug use history.
Criminal Background Check/Drug Screening: Background checks for criminal history of barrier crimes (i.e. any felony, misdemeanors which restrict the ability to carry a firearm, multiple misdemeanors, drug convictions), driving history for excessive moving violations (i.e. reckless driving and DUI/DWI could be immediate disqualifiers for employment), and drug testing are required for employment with law enforcement and correctional agencies. Students with convictions and/or positive drug tests will not be eligible to sit for the state board examination which is required as a part of training academy graduation. The cost of criminal background check, driving history, and drug testing will be the responsibility of the student.
Physical Demands: As a part of the duties incumbent on law enforcement, correctional and private security officers are potentially strenuous. Physical altercations with suspects are a possibility each and every day. Students interested in this program should prepare themselves for duties that frequently require squatting, bending, kneeling, reaching, and stair climbing; lifting and carrying while wearing up to 25 pounds of equipment; frequent pushing and pulling up to 200 pounds without assistance; occasional lifting up to 200 pounds with assistance and occasional carrying up to 150 pounds. Duties also require constant use of acute sense of sight, hearing, touch, and speech. The nature of working in the criminal justice system particularly law enforcement and corrections could involve exposure to blood and body fluids using universal precautions.
Selection Process: To be eligible for selection to the program, interested persons should complete the following process by at least 2 weeks prior to the first day of classes:
- Submit a college admission application
- Utilize the required form from Castel Branch Incorporated which includes permissions and fee for the following:
- Criminal History
- Urine Drug Screen
- Driving History- This is available through the state police and will require the student to sign a request/wavier. The Virginia State Police Area 28 Office is located approximately three miles from the college at 3672 Steelsburg Highway, Cedar Bluff, Virginia, 24609 Telephone 276.964.4477
- Have transcripts of previous college courses or diplomas from high school criminal justice programs sent to the Southwest Virginia Community College Admissions department.
- Schedule an interview with the Program Director. At this time the students for the ensuing academic year will be selected. Selection will be based on the college application, Criminal Justice Department application, interview, and college placement reading scores.
Academic Requirements: Students must make a “C” or better in all program core courses. Any student receiving a grade less than “C” will be placed on programmatic academic probation. That course shall be remediated once, with a written contract drafted containing the requirements of the remediation. Remediated courses must be completed with a final grade of “C” or better. Dismissal from the program may result if the student does not meet the requirements of the contract.