How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Piedmont Alabama
So you have made the decision to earn a criminal justice degree near Piedmont Alabama. But once you have selected the type of program you would like to pursue, just how do you go about selecting a school that will offer the proper training to help you realize your career objectives? Of course the college you pick must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will no doubt begin by searching for colleges that are nearby your home and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are other points that you must evaluate prior to making your ultimate choice. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are critical 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 reputable online degree program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will discuss these and other qualifications that you might want to utilize in your vetting process when selecting the right criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors offered as well as the advantages of attending school online.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Piedmont AL
As with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently required for a number of positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the job opportunities available in Piedmont AL. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it provides an introduction to such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are looking for candidates 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 expansive education creates more options for such positions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional 2 years of classes in addition to attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a particular area of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities afforded with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for those with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is available also. Typically 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 course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specializations to choose from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after watching numerous episodes of the different crime scene investigation TV programs. Or perhaps you have always wanted to be a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you must pick a major and a degree in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Choosing a program and a school that specializes in that area would certainly be the ideal option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that case, it would be a good idea to explore all of the degree alternatives offered from the numerous colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Piedmont 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, research the degree program you are interested in along with the college. Just because a criminal justice school is accredited and has a good reputation in general does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is extremely important to decide on a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Classes
Many students may not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they might just want the independence of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There a large number of schools located within the United States that provide online degree programs similar to those offered on campus. And for many Piedmont AL students, particularly those who continue to work part or full-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online schools in many cases make them the sole option. And as an additional advantage, online schools are often lower in cost than on-campus alternatives. Tuition can be cheaper and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make sure, just like for any school you are considering, that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can learn in this type of unsupervised setting, then obtaining your degree online may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
By now you have no doubt decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you want to obtain your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin looking for Piedmont AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Since there are a large number of colleges to choose from, literally hundreds within the USA alone, it’s essential to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when reviewing colleges. Obviously cost is a significant consideration and you will need to pick a program that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already mentioned 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 looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Many criminal justice colleges have obtained 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 undergone an extensive screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to confirm that the degree program and college you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it will also aid in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Piedmont AL employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As previously mentioned, along with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is important also. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the profession with no relevant prior job history. Without any prior experience, Piedmont AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several college 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 teachers and other factors contributing to the academic programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be well respected for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Piedmont AL colleges you are reviewing. A low percentage may be an indicator that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also important that the schools have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that marks the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help confirm that the college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a large network of contacts to help students in obtaining jobs after graduation.
Where are the Colleges Located? As we touched on at the opening of this article, one of the initial things you will most likely 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 school you pick will have to be within driving distance of your Piedmont AL home. Naturally attending classes online will remove the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to go to a school outside of your state of residence, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Junior and community colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, attending smaller classes offers the option for more interaction with the instructors. Large classes allow for little chance of getting personalized instruction if needed. One way to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a couple of classes before making your ultimate decision. Speak with some of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You might also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s crucial to confirm that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Piedmont AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Piedmont AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Piedmont AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Piedmont area where your school campus will be located.
Piedmont is a city in Calhoun and Cherokee counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The population was 4,878 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes West of Atlanta, one and a half hours North East of Birmingham, twenty minutes North of Anniston, Alabama and twenty five minutes east of Gadsden, Alabama. The campus of Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama is approximately ten miles South of Piedmont. The city is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain chain and is surrounded by mountains on the city's southern and eastern sides. The area is home to Duggar Mountain, which is Alabama's second highest point, only trailing Mt. Cheaha by a small margin. Piedmont is a popular tourist destination for outdoor enthusiasts due to its close proximity to many nearby hiking trails, streams and rivers, mountains, the Duggar Mountain Wilderness, the Talladega National Forret and Coleman Lake. Weiss Lake is fourteen miles North of Piedmont and is known as "The Crappie Capital of the World." Piedmont is home to Terrapin Creek, which is a popular destination for kayaking, canoing, camping, swimming and fishing. Piedmont is also home to the Chief Ladiga Trail, which is a paved trail utilized for walking, jogging and bicycling. The trail runs through downtown Piedmont and runs all the way to Atlanta to the East and to Anniston, Alabama to the South and West. The city's school system is an award winning and nationally recognised education system. The school system has state of the art facilities, including artificial turf on the football field and an indoor practice facility for the football team, which is also utilized as a community storm shelter. The school systems sports teams have won state championships in football, track and field and wrestling and have won numerous area/region championships in men/women's basketball, baseball, softball and men's golf. Two state highways, AL-9 and AL-21 run through the city limits of Piedmont, as well as US Highway 278. The city and surrounding area is served by the Centre-Piedmont-Cherokee County Regional Airport, which was constructed in 2010. Many surrounding communities are served by the 36272 ZIP code, including Spring Garden, Rock Run, Knighten's Crossroads, and Nance's Creek. The current mayor is Bill Baker, who was chosen by the city council to lead after elected mayor Rick Freeman resigned due to medical issues.
The area now known as Piedmont is a community that began in the early 1840s, located at the crossroads of two early post roads. Major Jacob Forney Dailey of North Carolina came to Alabama in 1848 and bought land in present-day Piedmont. Major Dailey named the area Cross Plains, and an official post office with that name was established on September 22, 1851.
In Reconstruction-era Alabama, an incident at Cross Plains affected race relations and the future of the northeast section of the state for generations as a result of the lynching of William Luke, a northern missionary, and several other men in 1870. In that year, the new northern-owned railroad to connect Washington, D.C. and the North with New Orleans was to have its headquarters near the small northeast Alabama town, at Patona. After the Ku Klux Klan-led lynchings, however, the headquarters was moved, and the town never achieved the dominant position in Calhoun County, with Anniston, founded the next year, achieving that status instead.
Find the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Piedmont AL
Making sure that you pick the right criminal justice program near Piedmont AL is vital to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers care which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Attaining the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with selecting the optimal criminal justice school based on your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you pick both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Additionally, confirm that the college has a job placement program with a strong track record for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Online Criminal Justice Masters. However, by using 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 options and make the best choice. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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