How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Jacksonville Alabama
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Jacksonville Alabama. But once you have decided on the type of degree you would like to pursue, just how do you tackle choosing a college that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the institution you pick must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will probably begin by looking for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each school. But there are additional considerations that you need to investigate prior to making your ultimate selection. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are important factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online degree program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will address these and other qualifications that you may want to include in your vetting process when picking the ideal criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors available as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Jacksonville AL
As with most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly needed for many careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities available in Jacksonville AL. There are four degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a two year degree, it provides an introduction to such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judiciary system. An increasing number of police departments are seeking applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree normally addresses the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education makes available additional 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 earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a particular facet of criminal justice. In addition to the options offered with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And finally, for individuals interested in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered as well. Usually requiring anywhere from four to seven years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for attaining any of the 4 degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specializations to select from when considering which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after viewing countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV programs. Or maybe you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to choose 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 area would obviously be the best option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that scenario, it would be best to research all of the degree options offered from the various colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Jacksonville 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 as well as the college. Just because a criminal justice school is accredited and has a good reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is extremely important to choose a major first prior to picking a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Classes
Many prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they might just want the flexibility of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous schools domiciled within the United States that provide degree programs online similar to the ones offered on campus. And for a number of Jacksonville AL students, particularly those who continue to work part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online programs in many cases make them the only option. And as an added advantage, online schools are often lower in cost than traditional alternatives. Tuition can be cheaper and expenditures for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced also. Just verify, as with any school you are looking at, that the program you enroll in is accredited by an approved organization, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can learn in this type of independent environment, then earning your degree online may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
At this point you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, as well as if you intend to obtain your degree online or by attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start searching for Jacksonville AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Since there are so many colleges to choose from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing colleges. Certainly cost is an important consideration and you will need to choose a program that is within your academic budget. And we have already discussed a few others as well, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you focus on those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you may want to ask the colleges you are thinking about prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Many criminal justice schools have obtained one or more accreditations from national or regional 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 assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to confirm that the degree program and school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it will also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Jacksonville AL employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the College? As mentioned previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you attend is significant as well. It’s particularly crucial if you are entering the profession with no relevant prior employment history. With no prior experience, Jacksonville AL employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can find college rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the teachers and other factors contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a college with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be highly respected for a specific degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Jacksonville AL colleges you are looking at. A lower percentage might be a sign that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the curriculum. It’s also imperative that the colleges have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job assistance program will help you get that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help confirm that the college has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a sizable network of contacts to help students secure positions after graduation.
Where are the Campuses Located? As we touched on at the beginning of this article, among the initial things you will most likely look at when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or perhaps live on campus, the school you select will need to be within driving distance of your Jacksonville AL residence. Of course attending online classes will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to attend a college not in your resident state, you may be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community and junior colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
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. Big classes provide little chance of receiving individualized instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to audit a few classes prior to making your ultimate decision. Speak with several of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and ask them what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it’s critical to confirm that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Jacksonville AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Jacksonville AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Jacksonville AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Jacksonville area where your school campus will be located.
Jacksonville is a city in Calhoun County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 12,548, which is a 49% increase since 2000. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. Jacksonville State University is located here, which is a center of commerce and one of the largest employers in the area.
Jacksonville was founded in 1833 on land purchased from Creek Indian Chief "Du-Hoag" Ladiga. First called Drayton, the town was renamed to honor President Andrew Jackson in 1834. There are a couple Civil War monuments in town, including a statue of Major John Pelham in the city cemetery and a statue of a Confederate soldier in the middle of the square. Jacksonville served as the county seat for Calhoun County until the 20th century when it moved to Anniston. Jacksonville State University was founded here in 1883.
An EF3 tornado hit Jacksonville on March 19, 2018, causing extensive damage to the city and Jacksonville State University, almost $42 million in damages. The relatively low number of casualties, specifically just four injuries, was attributed by some to the fact that the university was on spring break at the time. More than 1,000 volunteers assisted in the immediate tornado relief. Caleb Howard, then a senior at Jacksonville State University, said that "[i]t's been amazing to see the university and the community come together." Classes resumed at the university the following month. Although the university's usual site for graduation, Pete Mathews Coliseum, was damaged in the tornado along with over 20 other buildings, the first spring graduation since the tornado proceeded as scheduled on May 4 outside the football stadium. Dr. John Beeler, the university's president, said "It's a joyous event generally because you're celebrating the accomplishments of all your graduates, but it's an even more joyous event because to me it's a celebration of how far we've come in a short time in recovering from these tornadoes."
Choose the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Jacksonville AL
Making certain that you select the ideal criminal justice program near Jacksonville AL is essential to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers respect which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Attaining the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the best criminal justice college based on your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Also, make certain that the college has a job assistance program with a high success rate for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in What Degree Is Criminal Justice. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to assess and compare the criminal justice colleges you are reviewing so that you can narrow down your choices and make the best choice. And when you have made the correct decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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