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If you are interested in obtaining an associate's degree in criminal justice, now is an excellent time to do so. Despite all the other recommendations regarding biding your time and putting forth the footwork, the job market is currently wide open in this field, and seeking increasing numbers of support people. The need is so great and the time commitment necessary to achieve higher-level degrees so consuming, that agencies are being forced to higher employees with less experience. In fact, many retired military personnel are being called back to service (at an extremely high salary requirement) to fill these needs. It is very possible that in order to avoid paying such extreme salaries for retired personnel with more experience, the option to hire someone with a new degree and less experience would be appealing.
While it is unfortunate that our country is struggling so intensely with issues surrounding war, terrorism and foreign relations, this does mean job opportunities for people with degrees in criminal justice. Since the job need is vastly increasing, this is a good time to try and get a higher level position with an associates degree (which will save time and money overall).