How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice School near El Mirage Arizona
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near El Mirage Arizona. But once you have decided on the kind of degree you would like to work toward, just how do you tackle choosing a college that will provide the right training to help you realize your career objectives? Naturally the school you pick must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you are interested in. And you will no doubt begin by looking for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are additional issues that you should examine before making your final decision. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the school are critical factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes in front of your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online training program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will discuss these and other criteria that you might wish to include in your vetting process when choosing the right criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees offered along with the benefits of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near El Mirage AZ
Similar to many 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 employment opportunities available in El Mirage AZ. There are four degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it offers an introduction to such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. A growing number of police departments are seeking applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree normally addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education makes available additional opportunities for such professions 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 obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become experts in a specific area of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities afforded with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for individuals interested in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered as well. Usually requiring anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for attaining any of the 4 degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specializations to select from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation shows. Or quite possibly you have always wanted to be a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career goal, you must select a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Selecting a program and a school that focuses on that area would naturally be the ideal decision 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 best to explore all of the degree alternatives available from the various colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the El Mirage AZ 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, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Just because a criminal justice school 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 before selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Colleges
A number of students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they might just prefer the independence of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There many colleges domiciled within the USA that provide degree programs online much like those offered on campus. And for many El Mirage AZ students, especially those who continue to work full or part-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online programs in many cases make them the only option. And as an added advantage, online schools are frequently more affordable than on campus alternatives. Tuition can be lower and costs for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced also. Just verify, as with any college you are considering, that the program you select is accredited by an approved organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can learn in this kind of unsupervised setting, then obtaining your degree online might be the right option for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
By now you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, as well as if you want to obtain your degree online or by attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start looking for El Mirage AZ area colleges and narrowing down your options. Because there are so many schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s essential to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when analyzing colleges. Naturally cost is a significant factor and you will need to select a school that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already mentioned a few others as well, including location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you may wish to ask the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have acquired one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. 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 screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s essential to verify that the degree program and school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping assure that you obtain a top notch education, it will also help in qualifying for student loans or financial aid, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of El Mirage AZ employers are looking for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As stated previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the school you select is important also. It’s especially crucial if you are entering the profession with no relevant previous job history. Without any prior experience, El Mirage AZ employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can get school reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other elements contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be well respected for a specific degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the El Mirage AZ colleges you are looking at. A low rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the curriculum. It’s also essential that the colleges have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you land that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the start of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help substantiate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a large network of contacts to assist students in obtaining jobs upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the beginning of this article, one of the first things you will probably look at when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or perhaps live on campus, the school you choose will have to be within commuting distance of your El Mirage AZ residence. Of course attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you opt to attend a school not in your resident state, you might be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, going to smaller classes offers the opportunity for more interaction with the teachers. Large classes afford little chance of receiving personalized instruction if needed. One means to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a couple of classes prior to making your final decision. Speak with several 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 inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Arizona criminal justice field.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s crucial to confirm that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near El Mirage AZ?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near El Mirage AZ, following is some interesting and useful background information about the El Mirage area where your school campus will be located.
El Mirage, Arizona
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,609 people, 2,121 households, and 1,737 families residing in the city. The population density was 786.8 people per square mile (303.8/km²). There were 3,162 housing units at an average density of 326.9 per square mile (126.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.26% White, 3.29% Black or African American, 0.85% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 26.18% from other races, and 2.98% from two or more races. 66.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,121 households out of which 48.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.1% were non-families. 13.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.59 and the average family size was 3.87.
In the city, the population was spread out with 36.8% under the age of 18, 14.1% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 13.8% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.0 males.
Enroll in the Ideal Criminal Justice College near El Mirage AZ
Making sure that you choose the ideal criminal justice college near El Mirage AZ is essential to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers value which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Attaining the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the best criminal justice college based on your career objectives. As we have addressed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you choose both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Also, make certain that the college has a job assistance program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Degree Online. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at in order to narrow down your options and make the best selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will receive the proper education so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
Check Out More Law Abiding Locations in Arizona