Selecting the Right Criminal Justice School near Helena Alabama
So you have made the decision to pursue a criminal justice degree near Helena Alabama. But after you have chosen the kind of degree you would like to work toward, just how do you go about selecting a college that will provide the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the school you select must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will probably start by looking for colleges that are near your home and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are other issues that you must examine prior to making your final choice. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the school are important factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online training program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will discuss these and other criteria that you may wish to utilize in your vetting process when deciding on 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 benefits of attending school online.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Helena AL
Just like with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly required for various careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Helena AL. There are four degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Generally a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are looking for applicants with no less than an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree normally includes the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education creates additional options for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing 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 allows students to become experts in a particular area of criminal justice. Along with the options offered with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And finally, for individuals interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered also. Usually requiring anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Naturally the time requirements for obtaining any of the 4 degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are many specialties to choose 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 dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to select 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 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 case, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree alternatives offered from the various universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Helena AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the school you have chosen, investigate the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has an outstanding reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are equally highly respected. That’s why it is extremely important to choose a major first prior to picking a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online
Many prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their region, or they might just prefer the convenience of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of colleges domiciled within the USA that provide online degree programs similar to the ones offered on-campus. And for many Helena AL students, particularly those who continue working part or full-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online schools in many cases make them the sole option. And as an added advantage, online colleges are frequently lower in cost than on campus alternatives. Tuition may be cheaper and expenditures for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure, as with any school you are looking at, that the program you enroll in 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 learn in this kind of unsupervised setting, then earning your degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, as well as if you want to earn your degree online or by attending classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin searching for Helena AL area colleges and narrowing down your options. Because there are so many schools to choose from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when assessing colleges. Naturally cost is an important factor and you will need to pick a college that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already addressed a few others as well, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you focus on those issues and more, following is a list of questions you may wish to ask the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have obtained one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. Among the most highly regarded 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 teachers and course of instruction. It’s essential to verify that the degree program and school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. Along with helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it will also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of Helena AL employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As previously mentioned, together with accreditation the reputation of the college you choose is significant also. It’s especially critical if you are going into the field with no relevant prior job history. Without any prior experience, Helena AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can obtain school rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other aspects contributing to the educational programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be well regarded for a specific degree program that you might be interested in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Helena AL schools you are reviewing. A lower rate may be an indication 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 high placement rates. A job placement program will help you land that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the start of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help substantiate that the college has a good reputation within the field, but that it also has a sizable network of contacts to help students in obtaining jobs after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we touched on at the beginning of this article, one of the initial things you will most likely consider when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or possibly live on campus, the school you enroll in will need to be within driving distance of your Helena AL home. Of course attending online classes will remove the need for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to go to a college not in your resident state, you may be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community and junior colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, going to small classes offers the opportunity for more interaction with the teachers. Large classes provide little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to monitor a few classes before making your final decision. Talk to several of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Helena AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Helena AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Helena AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Helena area where your school campus will be located.
Helena (pronunciation hel-LE-nah) is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the state of Alabama. Helena is considered a suburb of Birmingham and part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,793. Helena is highly regarded as a place to live and raise children; Business Week named Helena the 13th "Best Place to Raise Your Kids" in 2007. It has the eighth-lowest crime rate per population in the U.S., and the city was ranked in Money magazine's 2007 list of "Best Places to Live: Top 100" in the U.S., placing at number 91. The Alabama League of Municipalities awarded Helena the 2008 Municipal Achievement Award (population 10,001 to 20,000).
Helena initially incorporated in 1877, but reincorporated in 1917 after errors were discovered in the initial incorporation papers. It did not first appear on the U.S. Census until 1920, giving credence to the later date of incorporation.
The initial settlers to Helena, initially named Cove, were veterans of the final campaigns of the War of 1812. Members of Andrew Jackson's army who cut through the brush were attracted to the quiet, peaceful valleys and streams after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. These first settlers were reported to arrive in 1849 and were predated by the Creek Indian tribes who these settlers had battled. By 1856, the Cove post office opened. Shortly thereafter, the settlers changed the name of the town to Hillsboro.
Choose the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Helena AL
Making certain that you pick the right criminal justice school near Helena AL is essential to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers respect which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Achieving the greatest possible success in your criminal justice career begins with selecting the ideal criminal justice college predicated upon your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you pick both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Additionally, make certain that the college has a job assistance program with a high success rate for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Bachelor Of Science Degree In Criminal Justice. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to analyze and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at so that you can narrow down your options and make the right selection. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will get the proper education so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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