Picking the Right Criminal Justice College near Central Arizona
So you have made the decision to earn a criminal justice degree near Central Arizona. But once you have selected the kind of degree you want to pursue, just how do you undertake choosing a school that will offer the proper training to help you realize your career goals? Naturally the college you pick must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will probably begin by searching for schools that are near your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other points that you should evaluate before making your ultimate choice. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the school are significant factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes in front of your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online training program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will cover these and other criteria that you might wish 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 majors and degrees available as well as the advantages of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Central AZ
Similar to most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently required for various careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Central AZ. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a 2 year degree, it offers an overview of such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judiciary system. More and more police departments are seeking applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree normally covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more comprehensive education creates additional options for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become experts in a specific facet of criminal justice. In addition to the options afforded with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for those interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered also. Generally requiring anywhere from four to seven years to finish, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for obtaining any of the 4 degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specialties to select from when considering which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after watching numerous episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation shows. Or maybe you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career goal, you need to choose a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Choosing a school and program that specializes in that area would certainly be the best option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be best to explore all of the degree options offered from the various universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Central AZ area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the school you have chosen, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has an excellent reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is extremely important to decide on a major first prior to choosing a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Schools Online
Some prospective students may not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their region, or they might just want the flexibility of earning an online degree. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There many colleges domiciled within the USA that provide degree programs online similar to the ones offered on campus. And for many Central AZ students, especially those who continue to work full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online programs may make them the sole option. And as an additional advantage, online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Tuition can be cheaper and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain, as with any college you are reviewing, that the program you select 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 independent environment, then obtaining your degree online may be the right option for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you want to earn your degree online or by attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start looking for Central AZ area colleges and narrowing down your options. Because there are a large number of colleges to select from, literally hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing schools. Naturally cost is a significant consideration and you will need to choose a program that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already addressed several others also, including accreditation, reputation and location. To help you focus on those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you might want to ask the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have received one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. Among the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through a rigorous screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s essential to confirm that the program and college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for several reasons. In addition to helping assure that you get a quality education, it will also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Also, many Central AZ employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As stated previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you choose is significant as well. It’s particularly critical if you are getting in the field with no relevant previous job history. Without any previous experience, Central AZ employers will be considering the quality of your education as a key factor when going over your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can find 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 teachers and other aspects contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you might have an interest in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Central AZ schools you are looking at. A lower rate may be a sign that students were disappointed 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 assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help confirm that the college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a substantial network of contacts to assist students secure positions after graduation.
Where are the Colleges Located? As we mentioned at the opening of this article, one of the initial things you will most likely look at when searching for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will relocate or possibly live on campus, the college you choose will need to be within driving distance of your Central AZ residence. Certainly attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to go to a college not in your resident state, you might be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the state or school district.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, going to smaller classes provides the option for more interaction with the instructors. Bigger classes afford little chance of getting individualized 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 determination. Speak with some of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You may also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Arizona criminal justice field.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s critical to make sure that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Central AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Central AZ?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Central AZ, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Central area where your school campus will be located.
Central is at 32°52′13″N 109°47′35″W / 32.87028°N 109.79306°W / 32.87028; -109.79306, at an elevation of approximately 2900 feet above sea level. From this location just south of the Gila River within the Upper Gila Valley, Mount Graham of the Pinaleño (Pinaleno Mountains) range dominates the southern skyline.
Central was first homesteaded by the Cluff family in 1880. The Cluffs extended the Central Canal to their lands on the eastern side of Central. Later settlers extended the canal west and north. In 1883 construction began on a one-room white rock building to be used as a church meeting house and school house. By 1884 twenty families, including Cluff, Norton, Shurtz, Bigler, and Webster households resided in Central. In 1978 the streets were named after these early Mormon pioneers. In December 1883 the Central Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized and Joseph Cluff was ordained the first bishop. A new red brick church was built in 1885. It was the first regular meeting house built in this part of Arizona and was also the first home of the LDS Academy from December 1890 to May 1891. A plaque east of Hwy 70 on Central Road commemorates the original home of the St. Joseph Stake Academy that later moved to Thatcher and became Eastern Arizona College.
In 1894, LDS Church historian Andrew Jensen reported on the Central Ward: "Thirty-five families or 178 souls, constitute the Mormon population, and there are only two other families in the district. Central excels in point of large orchards, extensive alfalfa fields and good grain. The meeting house is the only public building in the settlement, in which there is also a small store and a post office. There are a number of fine and comfortable private residences, built mostly of brick and adobe."
Select the Right Criminal Justice College near Central AZ
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice school near Central AZ is vital to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers value which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Achieving the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with selecting the best criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have addressed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you select both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Additionally, make sure that the school has a job assistance program with a high success rate for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Bachelor Of Criminology And Criminal Justice. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess and compare the criminal justice colleges you are considering so that you can narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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