How to Select the Right Criminal Justice School near Athens Alabama
So you have made the decision to earn a criminal justice degree near Athens Alabama. But after you have chosen the type of program you want to work toward, just how do you go about choosing a college that will offer the proper training to help you realize your career goals? Naturally the institution you select must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you are interested in. And you will probably start by searching for schools that are close to your home and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other considerations that you must examine prior to making your final decision. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the college are significant factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then locating a reputable online degree program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will address these and other qualifications that you may wish to include in your vetting process when deciding on the ideal criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees available as well as the advantages of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Athens AL
Similar to many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly needed for a number of positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the employment opportunities available in Athens AL. There are 4 degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it offers an overview of such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. A growing number of police departments are looking for applicants with no less than an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree normally includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more comprehensive education makes available additional opportunities for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional 2 years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a particular area of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities provided with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for individuals interested in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered as well. Generally taking anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for earning any of the 4 degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are many specializations to choose from when deciding which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after enjoying numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation shows. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you must choose a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Selecting a program and a school that focuses on that area would naturally be the best option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that case, it would be advisable to explore all of the degree alternatives available from the various universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Athens AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the college you have decided on, research the degree program you are interested in along with the school. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation in general does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is essential to decide on a major first before choosing a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Colleges Online
A number of prospective students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their region, or they might just want the independence of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of colleges located within the United States that provide degree programs online much like those offered on campus. And for a number of Athens AL students, particularly those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the convenience and accessibility of online colleges in many cases make them the only option. And as an additional benefit, online schools are often lower in cost than on-campus options. Tuition can be lower and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced also. Just verify, just like for any college you are considering, that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can study in this type of independent setting, then earning your degree online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
At this point you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you want to earn your degree online or by going to classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start searching for Athens AL area colleges and narrowing down your options. Because there are a large number of colleges to pick from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing colleges. Naturally cost is an important factor and you will need to pick a school that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already addressed several others as well, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you may wish to ask the schools you are examining prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? Numerous criminal justice colleges have received one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. One of the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone a rigorous screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s important to confirm that the program and college you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a top notch education, it will also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Athens AL employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the College? As stated previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the school you choose is significant also. It’s particularly critical if you are going into the field with no relevant previous job history. With no prior experience, Athens AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can find school rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other variables contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you might have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Athens AL colleges you are looking at. A lower rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the course of study. It’s also imperative that the schools have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you land that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help validate that the college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a sizable network of contacts to assist students secure jobs after graduation.
Where are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the beginning of this article, among the first things you will probably consider when searching for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will relocate or perhaps live on campus, the college you enroll in will need to be within commuting distance of your Athens AL residence. Certainly attending classes online will remove the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to attend a school outside of your resident state, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Junior and community colleges also often charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the state or school district.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, going to smaller classes provides the opportunity for more interaction with the teachers. Bigger classes allow for little chance of getting personalized instruction if needed. One way to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a few classes prior to making your final decision. Talk to some of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You might also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it’s crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Athens AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Athens AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Athens AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Athens area where your school campus will be located.
Athens is a city in Limestone County, in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 21,897. The city is the county seat of Limestone County and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
Founded in 1818 by John Coffee, Robert Beaty, John D. Carroll, and John Read, Athens is one of the oldest incorporated cities in the State of Alabama, having been incorporated one year prior to the state's admittance to the Union in 1819. Limestone County was also created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature in 1818. The town was first called Athenson, but was incorporated as Athens after the ancient city in Greece. The town's first mayor was Samuel Tanner, and the Tanner area, south of Athens, was named on his behalf.
The Athens area was the home of William Wyatt Bibb, the first Governor of Alabama, and its second Governor, his brother Thomas Bibb, who succeeded him in office when he died in a fall from his horse.
Find the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Athens AL
Making sure that you choose the ideal criminal justice school near Athens AL is crucial to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers value which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Achieving the greatest possible success in your criminal justice career begins with selecting the ideal criminal justice school predicated upon your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you choose both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Additionally, make sure that the college has a job placement program with a high success rate for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in PhD In Criminal Justice. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are looking at so that you can narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the right decision, you will receive the appropriate education so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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