US Top 20 Online Associate Law Enforcement Programs: That’s Right, Ridgewater College!

Ridgewater College was not only the first Minnesota college to put its Law Enforcement program totally online among members of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, but now, eight years later, it’s also the only Minnesota program recognized as one of the nation’s top 20 online criminal justice associate degree programs available.

The 2016 honor comes from

“Ridgewater College and I understand the necessity for flexibility in today’s fast-paced world,” explained David Clark, Law Enforcement instructor and program coordinator. “At the same time, we want to make sure our students are leaving college with the necessary skill sets to be successful in any criminal justice career…. The online program offers our students the flexibility to learn on their own time from their own virtual classroom while still adhering to course deadlines and providing the skill sets needed to succeed.” It’s ideal for the self-motivated student.

Ridgewater's online program is convenient
Ridgewater’s online program is convenient.

Law enforcement professionals are in the news almost daily as they serve and protect America’s communities. Attaining the highest standard of skills, processes, ethics, communication, and understanding of people has become increasingly critical in a world of global security threats, terrorists and social challenges that are hitting closer and closer to home.

“Law enforcement is a serious career that demands the dedication of students,” Clark stated. “We offer an opportunity for flexibility in the online program, and at the same time, we teach these young adults what they need to know and set these future law enforcement professionals up to win in their careers.”

Mike Kutzke, Ridgewater dean of technical programs, was the Law Enforcement instructor when the program went online. “We started offering it online to broaden the demographic range of students who could enroll, specifically making it more available to people working full time.”

True for William Hansen Begg of Waconia. “It’s been very easy to maneuver the online format. It’s great to be able to still work full time and also go to school full time.”

Second-year student Brianna Korson concurred. “Having the online option makes it really convenient to do full-time school and be a full-time mom.” She has taken classes both on campus and online is looking forward to taking her skills training and test this spring.

The ranking website notes several positive aspects of Ridgewater’s program:

  • The broad spectrum of topics covered in the 60-credit program (communications, global perspective, logical reasoning, social behavior, and ethical and civic responsibility skills)
  • Career options for students interested in probation, corrections, parole and other non-peace officer positions in criminal justice
  • Transferability to four-year programs
  • Supplemental web-based resources such as advising, help desk assistance and a live chat option

The 2016 rankings were determined by academic quality (including full-time retention rate, graduation rate and the number of students majoring in the subject), online offerings (including number of online programs and the percent of undergraduates taking online courses), cost and student aid (including average net price and loan default rates).

For more information on Ridgewater’s program, explore