How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice College near Fultondale Alabama
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Fultondale Alabama. But once you have chosen the kind of degree you want to pursue, just how do you tackle picking a college that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the college you choose must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will probably begin by looking for colleges that are nearby your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are additional issues that you need to evaluate prior to making your ultimate selection. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the school are important factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes in front of your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online degree program will also be a part of your search process. We will discuss these and other criteria that you might want to utilize in your vetting process when choosing the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees offered along with the advantages of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Fultondale AL
Just like with most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently needed for various positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the job opportunities available in Fultondale AL. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Generally a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. An increasing number of police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually includes the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education creates more options for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes in addition to obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become experts in a particular facet of criminal justice. In addition to the options afforded with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for individuals with an interest in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is available as well. Usually requiring 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 obtaining any one of the 4 degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specialties to choose from when considering which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after viewing countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation shows. Or maybe you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you must pick a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Selecting a school and program that focuses on that specialty would obviously be the best option toward that end. Possibly you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be best to explore all of the degree alternatives available from the numerous colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Fultondale AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the school you have selected, investigate the degree program you have an interest in as well as the college. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an excellent reputation as a whole does not mean that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is extremely important to decide on a major first prior to selecting a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online
A number of prospective students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their area, or they might just want the flexibility of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There many schools domiciled within the USA that offer degree programs online similar to those offered on campus. And for many Fultondale AL students, particularly those who continue to work 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 added advantage, online colleges are often more affordable than on-campus options. Tuition can be cheaper and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure, just like for any college you are looking at, that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can study in this type of unsupervised setting, then obtaining your degree online may be the best alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you want to earn your degree online or by attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start searching for Fultondale AL area colleges and fine tuning your options. Because there are a large number of schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s essential to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when evaluating schools. Obviously cost is an important factor and you will need to pick a school that is within your academic budget. And we have already discussed several others as well, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you focus on those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you might wish to ask the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Numerous criminal justice schools have received one or more accreditations from national or regional 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 assessment of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to verify that the degree program and school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for several reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality 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 Fultondale AL employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Program’s Reputation? As mentioned previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the school you enroll in is significant also. It’s especially crucial if you are getting in the field with no relevant prior work history. Without any previous experience, Fultondale AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a key factor when going over your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can get school rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you might be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Fultondale AL colleges you are considering. A lower percentage might be an indicator that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also essential that the colleges have job placement programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you get that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a substantial network of contacts to help students secure positions after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the first things you will probably consider when looking for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or perhaps board on campus, the school you pick will have to be within commuting distance of your Fultondale AL residence. Certainly attending online classes will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to attend a college not in your state of residence, you could be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state colleges and universities. Junior and community colleges also often charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, going to smaller classes offers the option for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes provide little chance of getting personalized instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a couple of classes before making your final decision. Talk to some of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You may also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s critical to verify that the final college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fultondale AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Fultondale AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Fultondale AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Fultondale area where your school campus will be located.
This area was once known as Fulton Springs. Prior to the building of Interstate 65, US 31 was the main route for travelers northbound from Birmingham towards Nashville, Tennessee. As a result, hotels such as the Keystone Lodge and Buchmann Motor Inn prospered. On the city's southern edge was located one of the few drive-in theatres in the Birmingham area (the "Skyview"). This was torn down when I-65 was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Pine Bowl bowling alley is still a long time fixture in the city.Traces of the old routing of US 31 are still noticeable in the city. From just south of the city hall to an old bridge on this city's northern side, most of this old routing is known as Stouts Road or in some cases simply "old US 31."
Fultondale was a relatively stagnant community until the last decade. Growth has occurred in residential areas mainly west of Interstate 65, while retail development has focused along and near the I-65/Walkers Chapel Road exit.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.2 square miles (32 km2), all land. Fultondale is located along one of the many ridgelines that comprise the southern end of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The area has been thoroughly mined for coal and other minerals in the past 100 years. The city is served by two major north/south highways, Interstate 65 and US Highway 31. The new Interstate 22 encroaches on the city's western edge and on June 20, 2016, the interchange with I-65 just south of Fultondale opened. I-22 will provide direct interstate access to Memphis, Tennessee. Upon completion of Interstate 22, Fultondale will become the fourth Alabama city (after Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile) to be directly served by more than one two-digit interstate highway (I-65 & I-22). The only east/west thoroughfare of note is Walkers Chapel Road (west of US 31) and New Castle Road (east of US 31). Rail lines run north/south along the city's eastern edge from Boyles Yard in Tarrant to points north and east. Air travel is available from nearby Birmingham International Airport.
Pick the Best Criminal Justice College near Fultondale AL
Making certain that you pick the ideal criminal justice program near Fultondale AL is vital to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers value which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Achieving the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the optimal criminal justice school based on your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you select both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, confirm that the school has a job assistance program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Certificate Program. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to analyze and compare the criminal justice colleges you are reviewing in order to narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will receive the appropriate education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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