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Criminal justice certification programs take less time to finish than an associates degree or higher. These certification programs can be completed online and often offer credits that can be transferred if you decide to further your degree in the future.
Just as with the regular degree programs in the field, certification programs tend to be focused in a particular area of criminal justice. Terrorism, Security Management, and Crime Scene Technician are examples of focus areas.
Other certification programs, such as the the University of Wisconsin (Madison) Criminal Justice Certification Program, are part of an overall bachelors degree in the field and require a certain amount of credit hours to be obtained prior to participation in the program (and, of course, more money).