How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Anchorage Alaska
So you have decided to earn a criminal justice degree near Anchorage Alaska. But after you have selected the kind of program you want to work toward, just how do you go about selecting a college that will offer the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Naturally the school you pick must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will probably start by looking for schools that are close to your residence and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are other points that you need to evaluate before making your final selection. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the college are critical factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then locating a reputable online training program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will deal with these and other criteria that you may want to include 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 along with the benefits of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Anchorage AK
As with many other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly needed for many positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities available in Anchorage AK. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Generally a 2 year degree, it provides an introduction to such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial system. A growing number of police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree typically addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more comprehensive education creates additional opportunities for such professions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional 2 years of classes after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become experts in a specific aspect of criminal justice. Along with the options provided with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And last, for those with an interest in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is available also. Generally requiring 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 attaining any of the 4 degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specialties to choose from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV shows. 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 degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Selecting a school and program that specializes in that specialty would certainly be the best option toward that end. Possibly you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be advisable to research 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 Anchorage AK 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, investigate the degree program you have an interest in as well as the college. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has a good reputation as a whole does not mean that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is essential to decide on a major first prior to picking a college to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online
Some prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their vicinity, or they might just want the flexibility of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There are numerous schools located within the United States that provide online degree programs similar to the ones offered on-campus. And for a number of Anchorage AK students, particularly those who continue working part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online schools may make them the sole option. And as an additional advantage, online colleges are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, just like for any college you are reviewing, that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can study in this type of unsupervised environment, then earning your degree online may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
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 begin looking for Anchorage AK area schools and narrowing down your options. Considering that there are numerous schools to select from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when reviewing colleges. Certainly cost is a significant factor and you will need to pick a college that fits within your academic budget. And we have already discussed several others as well, including reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you might wish to ask the schools you are examining prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? Many criminal justice colleges have earned one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. One of the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone a rigorous screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to confirm that the degree program and school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. Along with helping assure that you receive a quality education, it will also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Anchorage AK employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As previously mentioned, together with accreditation the reputation of the college you select is important also. It’s especially crucial if you are getting in the field with no relevant prior work history. Without any prior experience, Anchorage AK employers will be considering the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can find school rankings and reviews, such as U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other aspects contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be highly regarded for a specific degree program that you may be interested in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Anchorage AK schools you are looking at. A lower percentage might be an indicator 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 important that the colleges have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you get that first pivotal job after graduation that marks the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a considerable network of employers to assist students obtain positions after graduation.
Where are the Campuses Located? As we mentioned at the opening of this article, one of the first things you will probably consider when looking for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or possibly board on campus, the school you choose will need to be within commuting distance of your Anchorage AK residence. Of course attending online classes will remove the need for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you opt to attend a college outside of your resident state, you could be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state universities and colleges. 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 Classes? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes offers the option for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes afford little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a few classes before making your ultimate decision. Speak with some of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You may also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Alaska criminal justice field.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it’s crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Anchorage AK?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Anchorage AK, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Anchorage area where your school campus will be located.
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles of land area, the city is the fourth largest city by land in the United States and larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, at 1,212 square miles.
Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south. The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.
Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world. For this reason, the Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
Select the Best Criminal Justice Degree Program near Anchorage AK
Making sure that you pick the right criminal justice program near Anchorage AK 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 to your benefit to care as well. Achieving the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career begins with selecting the right criminal justice school predicated upon your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you choose both are accredited and have excellent reputations. 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 Universities With Criminal Justice Majors. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are reviewing in order to narrow down your choices and make the right choice. And when you have made the best decision, you will receive the appropriate training so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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