How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice College near Montevallo Alabama
So you have made the decision to pursue a criminal justice degree near Montevallo Alabama. But once you have decided on the type of program you would like to work toward, just how do you tackle picking a college that will provide the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the school you choose must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will undoubtedly begin by searching for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other points that you must evaluate before making your final selection. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the school are important factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online training program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will discuss these and other qualifications that you may want to include in your vetting process when deciding on the ideal criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors offered along with the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Montevallo AL
As with many other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly required for many positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Montevallo AL. There are 4 degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judiciary system. More and more police departments are looking for candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree typically includes the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates more opportunities for such professions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional 2 years of classes after earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a specific facet of criminal justice. Along with the options offered with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. Finally, for those interested in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is available as well. Usually taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for earning any one of the 4 degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specializations to pick from when determining which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after viewing numerous episodes of the assorted 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 goal, you must choose a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Selecting a program and a school that focuses on that area would obviously be the best decision toward that end. Maybe you have not yet made up your mind on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that situation, it would be a good idea to investigate all of the degree alternatives available from the various universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Montevallo 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 selected, investigate the degree program you are interested 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 respected. That’s why it is essential to choose a major first before picking a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Colleges Online
A number of students might not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their vicinity, or they may just prefer the flexibility of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There many colleges domiciled within the United States that offer online degree programs much like the ones offered on campus. And for a number of Montevallo AL students, especially those who continue to work part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online schools in many cases make them the sole option. And as an added advantage, online schools are frequently lower in cost than on campus options. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just verify, as with any school you are considering, 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 disciplined, and can learn in this kind of unsupervised setting, then earning your degree online might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
At this point you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you intend to earn your degree online or by attending classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start searching for Montevallo AL area colleges and fine tuning your options. Considering that there are so many colleges to pick from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when analyzing colleges. Clearly cost is an important consideration and you will need to select a program that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already addressed a few others also, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have earned one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. Among the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone a rigorous screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative to verify that the degree program and school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it will also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Montevallo AL employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As previously stated, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you select is significant as well. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the profession with no relevant prior job history. With no previous experience, Montevallo AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can obtain college reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the academic programs. Keep in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be highly regarded for a specific degree program that you may be interested in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Montevallo AL colleges you are reviewing. A lower percentage might be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the course of study. It’s also essential that the colleges have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a considerable network of employers to help students in obtaining jobs upon graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we mentioned at the opening of this article, one of the initial things you will probably look at when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or possibly board on campus, the college you select will need to be within driving distance of your Montevallo AL home. Naturally attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to attend a college outside of your resident state, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, going to smaller classes provides the option for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes allow for little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One means to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a few classes prior to making your final determination. Speak with several of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You might also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Montevallo AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Montevallo AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Montevallo AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Montevallo area where your school campus will be located.
Montevallo is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. A college town, it is the home of the University of Montevallo, a public liberal arts university with approximately 3,000 students. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city of Montevallo is 6,323. Dr. Hollie Campbell Cost, a professor in the College of Education at the University of Montevallo, serves as Mayor.
Montevallo is located at 33°6′18″N 86°51′46″W / 33.10500°N 86.86278°W / 33.10500; -86.86278 (33.1049, -86.8628). A plaque on Reynolds Cemetery Road, just off Alabama State Route 25, in the eastern corner of the town, marks the geographic center of the state of Alabama. Middle Street, formerly known as Main Street, had its name changed in 1899 for this reason, upon the completion of a new state survey.
The area where Montevallo is now was once controlled by the Creek Indians. After being acquired in 1814 Jesse Wilson claimed a small hill on the northern bank of the Shoal Creek and created a homestead there, making it the oldest settlement in Shelby County. Wilson's friends and family followed afterwards and also settled in the area, and a settlement known as Wilson's Hill developed on the site. The settlement's location at almost the exact center of Alabama meant it was considered one of the potential sites for the University of Alabama. In an attempt to encourage the university to choose the site the settlement changed its name to Montevallo, which is Italian for the hill in the valley.
Select the Ideal Criminal Justice College near Montevallo AL
Making certain that you pick the ideal criminal justice school near Montevallo AL is essential to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers care which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Attaining the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with selecting the best criminal justice school predicated upon your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you pick both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, make sure that the school has a job placement program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Colleges That Offer Criminal Justice Majors. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are looking at so that you can narrow down your choices and make the right choice. And when you have made the best decision, you will receive the appropriate education so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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