Picking the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Madison Alabama
So you have decided to earn a criminal justice degree near Madison Alabama. But after you have decided on the kind of program you want to work toward, just how do you undertake selecting a school that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the college you select must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will probably begin by searching for schools that are near your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other factors that you should examine prior to making your ultimate choice. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the college are significant factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online degree program will also be a part of your search process. We will address these and other criteria that you may want to utilize 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 offered as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Madison AL
Just like with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently needed for a number of positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Madison AL. There are four degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a two year degree, it offers an introduction to such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial system. A growing number of police departments are seeking applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree typically covers the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more comprehensive education makes available additional opportunities for such positions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional two years of classes after earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a particular area of criminal justice. Along with the options offered with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. Finally, for individuals with an interest in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered also. Usually taking anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for obtaining any one of the four degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specialties to choose from when determining 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 shows. Or perhaps you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to pick a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Selecting a school and program that focuses on that area would clearly be the best option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree alternatives available from the numerous colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Madison AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the program you have selected, research the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an excellent reputation as a whole does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is extremely important to choose a major first prior to picking a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs
Some prospective students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their area, or they might just want the convenience of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There many schools domiciled within the United States that provide degree programs online similar to those offered on campus. And for many Madison AL students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online programs in many cases make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online schools are often lower in cost than traditional alternatives. Tuition can be cheaper and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make certain, just like for any college you are considering, that the program you choose is accredited by an approved organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can learn in this type of unsupervised environment, then earning your degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
By now you have no doubt decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you intend to earn your degree online or by attending classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start looking for Madison AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Considering that there are numerous colleges to choose from, literally hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when analyzing colleges. Naturally cost is an important consideration and you will need to choose a program that fits within your scholastic budget. And we have already addressed 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 schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Many criminal justice colleges have acquired one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. 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 essential to confirm that the program and school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for several reasons. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it will also aid in acquiring student loans or financial aid, which are frequently not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Madison AL employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Program’s Reputation? As previously mentioned, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you enroll in is important also. It’s especially crucial if you are going into the field with no relevant prior employment history. With no prior experience, Madison AL employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can get college reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other elements contributing to the educational programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you might have an interest in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Madison AL colleges you are looking at. A low rate might be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the curriculum. It’s also important that the schools have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you land that first pivotal job after graduation that marks the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a large network of contacts to assist students secure positions after graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we touched on at the opening 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 determined that you will move or possibly board on campus, the college you enroll in will need to be within commuting distance of your Madison AL residence. Naturally attending classes online will remove the need for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you opt to go to a school outside of your state of residence, you could 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 their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, attending smaller classes offers the opportunity for more interaction with the teachers. Bigger 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 ultimate decision. Talk to several of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it’s critical to verify that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Madison AL, make sure 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 have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Madison AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Madison AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Madison area where your school campus will be located.
Madison is a city located primarily in Madison County, near the northern border of the U.S. state of Alabama. Madison extends west into neighboring Limestone County. The city is included in the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, the second-largest in the state, and is also included in the merged Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 42,938. Madison is bordered by Huntsville on all sides.
Madison's first European-American resident was John Cartwright, who settled in the area in 1818. The city was originally known as Madison Station, and it developed in the 1850s around a stop of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Textile mills were built in the area in the late 19th century for processing of cotton.
Madison was the site of a battle in the American Civil War. On May 17, 1864, Col. Josiah Patterson's 5th Alabama Cavalry, supported by Col. James H. Stuart's cavalry battalion and a section of horse artillery, drove Col. Adam G. Gorgas's 13th Illinois Infantry Regiment from the city. Patterson's men captured the 13th Illinois Regiment's wagon train, taking 66 prisoners. They also burned Union supplies and tore up the railroad tracks before retreating. Portions of the 5th Ohio Cavalry, the 59th Indiana Infantry and the 5th Iowa Infantry were sent in pursuit from Huntsville. They skirmished with Patterson's rear guard that evening at Fletcher's Ferry on the Tennessee River south of Madison.
Pick the Best Criminal Justice College near Madison AL
Making certain that you choose the ideal criminal justice school near Madison AL is crucial to your receiving the proper 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. Achieving the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career starts with selecting the ideal criminal justice college based on your career objectives. As we have covered in this article, it’s essential that the college and degree program you select both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Additionally, make sure 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 Degree In 6 Months. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are considering in order to narrow down your choices and make the best selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the proper education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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