How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice School near Valley Alabama
So you have made the decision to pursue a criminal justice degree near Valley Alabama. But after you have decided on the type of degree you want to work toward, just how do you undertake picking a college that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career objectives? Of course the school you pick must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will undoubtedly start by looking for schools that are near your home and comparing the cost for each school. But there are other factors that you should evaluate prior to making your final selection. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the college are significant factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then locating a reputable online degree program will also be a part of your search process. We will address these and other qualifications that you may wish to include in your vetting process when choosing 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 school online.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Valley AL
Just like with many other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly needed for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained advances, so increases the employment opportunities available in Valley AL. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a two year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judiciary system. A growing number of police departments are looking for candidates 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 comprehensive education makes available more opportunities for such professions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional 2 years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become experts in a specific aspect of criminal justice. In addition to the options offered with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And finally, for individuals interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered also. Generally taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Naturally the time requirements for earning any of the 4 degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are numerous specializations to select from when considering which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after watching numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV programs. Or perhaps you have always wanted to be a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you must choose a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Enrolling in a school and program that specializes in that specialty would clearly be the best decision toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet made up your mind on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that situation, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree alternatives offered from the numerous universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Valley 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 chosen, research the degree program you are interested in along with the college. Even if a criminal justice college 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 essential to decide on a major first before picking a college to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Colleges Online
Many students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they might just want the convenience of earning a degree online. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There many colleges domiciled within the USA that provide online degree programs much like those offered on campus. And for many Valley AL students, particularly those who continue working full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online programs may make them the sole option. And as an additional benefit, online schools are often lower in cost than traditional alternatives. Tuition may be lower and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, as with any college you are reviewing, that the program you enroll in is accredited by an acknowledged agency, 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 obtaining your degree online might be the right option for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you want to earn your degree online or by attending classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start searching for Valley AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Considering that there are so many schools to choose from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing schools. Naturally cost is an important factor and you will need to pick a college that is within your academic budget. And we have already discussed a few others also, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you may wish to ask the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? Numerous criminal justice schools have acquired one or more accreditations from national or regional 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s important to make sure that the degree program and school you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it will also help in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Valley AL employers have a preference for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As previously stated, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you attend is important as well. It’s particularly critical if you are going into the field with no relevant prior employment history. With no previous experience, Valley AL employers will be considering 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 reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other variables contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be highly respected for a specific degree program that you may be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Valley AL schools you are considering. A lower percentage may be a sign that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the curriculum. It’s also important 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 beginning of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help verify that the college has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a considerable network of contacts to assist students obtain jobs after graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the initial things you will most likely consider when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or possibly live on campus, the college you pick will need to be within commuting distance of your Valley AL residence. Naturally attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to go to a school not in your resident state, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community and junior colleges also often charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, going to small classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the instructors. Large classes afford little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One way to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to audit a couple of classes prior to making your ultimate determination. Speak with several of the students and ask what they have experienced. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You may also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Valley AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Valley AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Valley AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Valley area where your school campus will be located.
Chambers County, Alabama
Chambers County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 34,215. Its county seat is Lafayette. Its name is in honor of Henry H. Chambers, who served as a United States Senator from Alabama.
Chambers County joined its four mill cities to make the city of Valley (which is now the largest city). Valley is rapidly increasing in size and located between Montgomery, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.
As of the census of 2010, there were 34,215 people, 13,933 households, and 9,391 families residing in the county. The population density was 57 people per square mile (22/km2). There were 17,004 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 58.8% White (non-Hispanic), 38.7% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Find the Best Criminal Justice Degree Program near Valley AL
Making certain that you pick the right criminal justice college near Valley AL is essential to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers value which school 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 starts with selecting the optimal criminal justice school predicated upon 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. Also, confirm that the college 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 Trade School. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at in order to narrow down your choices and make the right choice. And when you have made the correct decision, you will receive the proper education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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