Kilgore College is pleased to announce that the KC Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the resurrection of the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Criminal Justice which will begin the next fall semester at KC.
The program was eliminated in 2005 at KC because of a short-lived push by the Commission on Law Enforcement in the early 2000’s to try to require a baccalaureate degree for basic licensure.
"That requirement met great resistance from around the state, especially from small and rural law enforcement agencies, because of the already-existing difficulty in finding qualified applicants willing to work in those agencies,” said Michael Ferguson, Deputy Director of the East Texas Police Academy.
“Many administrators feared that adding an additional barrier to employment would make it well-nigh impossible for them to find officers.”
Students who successfully complete the four-semester, 60-hour program will graduate with an A.A.S. in Criminal Justice and will hold the certification necessary to become peace officers in the State of Texas.
The degree will be comprised of traditional, hybrid and online classes that will prepare students not only to succeed in the Basic Peace Officer Course, but will also provide real-world skills needed as line-level Texas peace officers.
“This program is designed as a practitioner-focused, rather than theory-focused, degree,” Ferguson said. “We are talking with highly qualified people who currently work in the law enforcement field whom we want to hire to teach specific courses for this degree.”
The program is designed for students who enter the program upon graduation from high school and also non-traditional students who wish to enter the program after graduation from the Basic Peace Officer Course.
Additionally, the program will create enrollment opportunities for students who are currently deployed on active military duty.
“The new A.A.S. program is in addition to our already-existing AA/AS (Associate of Arts and Associate of Science) programs,” Ferguson said.
“We will continue to offer those degrees for students who wish to transfer to a senior university. We’re simply adding a workforce option for people who wish to choose that route.”
The new degree will fall under the Business, Technology, Language Development and Public Services Division at KC.