How to Select the Right Criminal Justice College near Prattville Alabama
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Prattville Alabama. But once you have chosen the type of degree you would like to pursue, just how do you go about picking a college that will provide the right training to help you achieve your career goals? Naturally the institution you pick must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will undoubtedly start by searching for schools that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other points that you should evaluate prior to making your final choice. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the college are important factors also. 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 search process. We will deal with these and other qualifications that you may want to include in your vetting process when selecting the ideal criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors available as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Prattville AL
Similar to most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently required for various positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities available in Prattville AL. There are 4 degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Generally a two year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial system. An increasing number of police departments are seeking applicants with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree normally addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education creates additional options for such professions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a particular facet of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities offered with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for those interested in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available as well. Generally 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 earning any one of the 4 degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are many specialties to choose from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after viewing numerous episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation TV programs. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you must choose 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 obviously be the best option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that situation, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree options offered from the various colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Prattville AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the college you have chosen, research the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has a good reputation in general does not mean that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is essential to decide on a major first prior to picking a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Classes
Some students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their vicinity, or they might just want the convenience of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There a large number of schools domiciled within the United States that provide online degree programs much like those offered on-campus. And for a number of Prattville AL students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the convenience and accessibility of online schools in many cases make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Tuition may be lower and expenditures for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced also. Just verify, just like for any school you are reviewing, that the program you choose 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 setting, then obtaining your degree online may be the best alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you want to obtain your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start searching for Prattville AL area schools and fine tuning your options. Because there are so many colleges to pick from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing colleges. Certainly cost is a significant factor and you will need to select a school that fits within your academic budget. And we have already discussed several others as well, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you might want to ask the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? Many criminal justice schools have earned one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. One of the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone an extensive screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to confirm that the program and college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it will also help in qualifying for student loans or financial aid, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Prattville AL employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As previously stated, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is significant as well. It’s especially critical if you are going into the profession with no relevant previous job history. With no prior experience, Prattville AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can find school reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other elements contributing to the educational programs. Keep in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you may be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Prattville AL schools you are considering. 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 schools have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you land that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a sizable network of contacts to assist students secure positions after graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we touched on at the beginning of this article, among the first things you will most likely consider when looking for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will relocate or perhaps board on campus, the school you enroll in will need to be within commuting distance of your Prattville AL home. Certainly attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to bear 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, particularly for state colleges and universities. Junior and community colleges also often charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes offers the option for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes provide little chance of receiving personalized instruction if needed. One method to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to monitor a few classes prior to making your final decision. Talk to several of the students and ask what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You may also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s important to verify that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And ask 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 Prattville AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Prattville AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Prattville area where your school campus will be located.
Prattville is a city in Autauga and Elmore counties in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 33,960. Nicknamed "The Fountain City" due to the many artesian wells in the area, Prattville is part of the Montgomery metropolitan statistical area and serves as the county seat of Autauga County.
Prattville was founded in 1839 by industrialist and architect Daniel Pratt. The area was largely inhabited by Native Americans and a few settlers when Pratt, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, first observed the Autauga Creek in the 1830s. He purchased approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Joseph May at $21.00 an acre, and set out to build his manufacturing facilities and the town along the banks of Autauga Creek. The location was chosen because the creek could supply power to the cotton gin manufacturing equipment. The town became an industrial center and rapidly grew. In 1868, it was named the county seat for Autauga County.
On February 17, 2008, Prattville was hit by an F3 tornado which destroyed more than 45 homes and businesses and damaged over 700. Twenty-nine people were injured with no fatalities. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $85 million in insured and uninsured damages.
Enroll in the Ideal Criminal Justice College near Prattville AL
Making certain that you select the ideal criminal justice school near Prattville AL is crucial to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers value which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Attaining the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the optimal criminal justice college based on your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you decide on both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Additionally, verify that the college has a job assistance program with a strong track record for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Top Criminal Justice Schools. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess and compare the criminal justice schools you are reviewing so that you can narrow down your choices and make the best selection. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will receive the appropriate education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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