Selecting the Right Criminal Justice College near Hartselle Alabama
So you have decided to earn a criminal justice degree near Hartselle Alabama. But after you have chosen the kind of program you want to pursue, just how do you tackle selecting a college that will provide the right training to help you realize your career objectives? Of course the institution you select must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will no doubt start by looking for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are additional considerations that you must evaluate before making your ultimate choice. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the school are significant factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online training program will also be a part of your search process. We will address these and other criteria that you may want to include in your vetting process when picking the right criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees offered along with the benefits of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Hartselle AL
Just like with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently needed for various positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Hartselle AL. There are four degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial system. A growing number of police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree usually addresses the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates more opportunities for such positions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can require 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 specific aspect of criminal justice. Along with the options afforded with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for those with an interest in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available as well. Typically requiring anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for attaining any of the four degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are many specializations to pick from when deciding which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after viewing countless episodes of the different crime scene investigation TV programs. Or perhaps you have always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a school and program that focuses on that specialty would obviously be the best option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet made up your mind on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that scenario, it would be best to research all of the degree options available from the numerous colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Hartselle AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the program you have decided on, investigate the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Just because 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 extremely important to choose a major first prior to choosing a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Classes Online
A number of prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their vicinity, or they may just want the flexibility of earning a degree online. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There are numerous schools domiciled within the United States that offer online degree programs much like those offered on campus. And for many Hartselle AL students, especially those who continue to work part or full-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online programs in many cases make them the sole option. And as an additional 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 eliminated or reduced as well. Just make sure, just like for any school you are reviewing, that the program you choose is accredited by an approved agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can study in this kind of unsupervised environment, then obtaining your degree online may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as 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 Hartselle AL area schools and fine tuning your options. Considering that there are so many schools to select from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when analyzing schools. Certainly cost is a significant consideration and you will need to select a college that fits within your academic budget. And we have already mentioned several others as well, including location, accreditation and reputation. To help you focus on those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you might wish to ask the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have received one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. Among the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through an extensive screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative to verify that the program and school you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for several reasons. Along with helping assure that you obtain a quality education, it will also aid in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of Hartselle AL employers are looking for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As mentioned previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is significant as well. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the field with no relevant prior work history. Without any previous experience, Hartselle AL employers will be considering 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 college reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other aspects contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Hartselle AL colleges you are looking at. A low percentage might be a sign that students were unhappy with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also essential that the schools have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first pivotal 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 field, but that it also has a considerable network of contacts to help students secure jobs after graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we discussed at the beginning of this article, one of the first things you will probably consider when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or possibly board on campus, the school you enroll in will have to be within driving distance of your Hartselle AL home. Of course attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to go to a school not in your resident state, you might be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community and junior colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, attending small classes provides the opportunity for more interaction with the instructors. Large classes afford little chance of receiving personalized instruction if needed. One way to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a couple of classes prior to making your final decision. Talk to several of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You may also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s critical to make sure that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hartselle AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And find out 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 Hartselle AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Hartselle AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Hartselle area where your school campus will be located.
Hartselle is the second largest city in Morgan County, Alabama, United States, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Decatur, and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, and the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of the city was 14,255. Hartselle was founded in 1870 with the arrival of the South and North Alabama Railroad. It takes its name from George Hartsell, one of the railroad's owners. The post office opened in 1873. It was formally incorporated on March 1, 1875. Most of the oldest buildings were destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1916.
Hartselle is located at 34°26′25″N 86°56′25″W / 34.44028°N 86.94028°W / 34.44028; -86.94028Coordinates: 34°26′25″N 86°56′25″W / 34.44028°N 86.94028°W / 34.44028; -86.94028 (34.440383, -86.940385).
Find the Best Criminal Justice College near Hartselle AL
Making certain that you enroll in the right criminal justice program near Hartselle AL is crucial to your receiving the appropriate 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 as well. Achieving the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the optimal criminal justice school based on your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you select both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, make certain that the school has a job placement program with a high success rate for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Certificate Programs Online. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are reviewing in order to narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the correct decision, you will receive the proper training so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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