How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Flagstaff Arizona
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Flagstaff Arizona. But once you have chosen the kind of degree you want to pursue, just how do you tackle choosing a college that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the school you choose must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will undoubtedly begin by searching for schools that are close to your residence and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are additional points that you must examine prior to making your ultimate decision. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are important factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online training program will also be a part of your search process. We will deal with these and other criteria that you may wish to utilize in your vetting process when choosing the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors offered as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Flagstaff AZ
Similar to most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly required for various careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Flagstaff AZ. There are 4 degree levels available, starting 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 judiciary system. More and more police departments are seeking candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates more options for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing 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 enables students to become experts in a specific facet of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities provided with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for students interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered also. Generally requiring anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete, 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.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specializations to choose from when considering which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after enjoying 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 degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Selecting a program and a school that specializes in that specialty would obviously be the ideal option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that situation, it would be a good idea to research all of the degree options offered from the numerous universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Flagstaff 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 selected, investigate the degree program you are interested in as well as the school. Just because a criminal justice school is accredited and has an outstanding reputation as a whole does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are equally highly respected. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first prior to choosing a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Schools
Some students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they might just want the flexibility of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous colleges domiciled within the USA that provide online degree programs similar to the ones offered on campus. And for a number of Flagstaff AZ students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges may make them the sole option. And as an additional benefit, online schools are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Tuition may be lower and expenditures for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make sure, as with any school you are looking at, that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can study in this kind of independent environment, then earning your degree online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you intend to earn your degree online or by attending classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin looking for Flagstaff AZ area schools and fine tuning your options. Because there are a large number of schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing schools. Certainly cost is a significant factor and you will need to choose a program that fits within your academic budget. And we have already discussed a few others also, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you might wish to ask the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? Many criminal justice schools have acquired one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. Among the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through a rigorous assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s essential to confirm that the degree program and college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping assure that you receive a quality education, it will also help in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Flagstaff AZ employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Program’s Reputation? As mentioned previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you attend is significant also. It’s particularly crucial if you are entering the profession with no relevant prior work history. Without any previous experience, Flagstaff AZ employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can find school reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other elements contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be highly respected for a particular degree program that you might be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are looking at. A lower rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the curriculum. It’s also essential that the schools have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the start of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help affirm that the college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a sizable network of contacts to help students obtain positions after graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we discussed at the beginning of this article, one of the first things you will probably consider when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or possibly live on campus, the college you enroll in will need to be within commuting distance of your Flagstaff AZ home. Certainly attending online classes will remove the need for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you opt to go to a school outside of your resident state, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially 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 Classrooms? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, going to small classes offers the option for more interaction with the teachers. Larger classes afford little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to monitor a few classes before making your final determination. Talk to several of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You might also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Arizona criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Flagstaff AZ?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Flagstaff AZ, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Flagstaff area where your school campus will be located.
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is next to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, The U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a growing center for medical and biotechnology manufacturing, home to corporations such as SenesTech and W. L. Gore and Associates. 
Find the Right Criminal Justice College near Flagstaff AZ
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice school near Flagstaff AZ is vital to your obtaining the proper 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 potential success in your criminal justice career starts with picking the optimal criminal justice college predicated upon your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s essential that the college and degree program you decide on both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Also, make certain 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 Criminal Justice Schools. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at so that you can 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 launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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