Picking the Right Criminal Justice College near Mesa Arizona
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Mesa Arizona. But after you have selected the type of program you would like to pursue, just how do you tackle choosing a school that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the institution you select must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will undoubtedly begin by looking for colleges that are nearby your residence and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are other points that you must evaluate prior to making your final selection. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the college are important factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes in front of your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then locating a reputable online degree program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will address these and other qualifications that you may wish to utilize 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 degrees and majors available as well as the benefits of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Mesa AZ
Just like with many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly needed for a number of positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Mesa AZ. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a two year degree, it provides an introduction to such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial system. A growing number of police departments are looking for candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates additional opportunities for such professions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional two years of classes in addition to obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a particular facet of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities afforded with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. Finally, for those interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available also. Generally taking anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Naturally the time requirements for earning any one of the four degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are a number of specializations to pick from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after watching numerous episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation TV programs. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to pick a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Choosing a program and a school that focuses on that specialty would clearly be the ideal decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that case, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree options offered from the numerous colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Mesa AZ area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the program you have selected, research the degree program you are interested in along with the college. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation as a whole does not mean that all of its specialty programs are equally highly respected. That’s why it is extremely important to choose a major first prior to selecting a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Online Classes
A number of prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their area, or they might just prefer the convenience of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There are numerous schools domiciled within the United States that offer degree programs online similar to those offered on campus. And for a number of Mesa AZ students, particularly those who continue to work part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online colleges may make them the sole option. And as an additional advantage, online schools are often lower in cost than traditional alternatives. Tuition may be lower and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just verify, just like for any school you are looking at, 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 disciplined, and can learn in this kind of unsupervised environment, then obtaining your degree online may be the best alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
By now you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you intend to earn your degree online or by going to classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start looking for Mesa AZ area schools and narrowing down your options. Considering that there are numerous colleges to pick from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when assessing schools. Naturally cost is a significant consideration and you will need to enroll in a college that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already pointed out several others as well, including accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you may want to ask the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have acquired one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. Among the most highly regarded 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 make sure that the program and college you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it will also assist in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, many Mesa AZ employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Program’s Reputation? As previously mentioned, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you enroll in is important as well. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the profession with no relevant prior job history. Without any previous experience, Mesa AZ employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can get school reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you might be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Mesa AZ colleges you are looking at. A lower rate may be an indication 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 essential that the schools have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job assistance program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it also has a substantial network of employers to help students obtain jobs after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, among the first things you will most likely look at 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 school you pick will have to be within driving distance of your Mesa AZ home. Certainly attending classes online will remove the need for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to go to a school not in your resident state, you could be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Junior and community colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classes? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, attending small classes offers the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes provide little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a few classes before making your ultimate decision. Talk to some of the students and ask what they have experienced. Also, speak with 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 profession.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mesa AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Mesa AZ?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Mesa AZ, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Mesa area where your school campus will be located.
Mesa (/ˈmeɪsə/ MAY-sə) is a city in Maricopa County, in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is a suburb located about 20 miles (32 km) east of Phoenix in the East Valley section of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is bordered by Tempe on the west, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on the north, Chandler and Gilbert on the south along with Queen Creek, and Apache Junction on the east.
Mesa is the largest suburban city by population in the United States, the third-largest city in Arizona after Phoenix and Tucson, and the 35th-largest city overall in the US. The city is home to 508,958 people as of 2018 according to the Census Bureau, which makes it more populous than major cities such as Minneapolis, St. Louis, or Miami. Mesa is home to numerous higher education facilities including the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University. It is also home to the largest relief airport in the Phoenix area, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, which is located in the southeastern corner of the city.
The history of Mesa dates back at least 2,000 years to the arrival of the Hohokam people. The Hohokam, whose name means "All Used Up" or "The Departed Ones", built the original canal system. The canals were the largest and most sophisticated in the prehistoric New World. Some were up to 90 feet (27 m) wide and 10 feet (3.0 m) deep at their head gates, extending for as far as 16 miles (26 km) across the desert. By A.D. 1100 water could be delivered to an area over 110,000 acres (450 km2), transforming the Sonoran Desert into an agricultural oasis. By A.D. 1450, the Hohokam had constructed hundreds of miles of canals many of which are still in use today.
Find the Right Criminal Justice College near Mesa AZ
Making sure that you choose the ideal criminal justice college near Mesa AZ is vital to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers respect which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Attaining the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the right criminal justice school predicated upon your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s essential that the college and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, verify that the college has a job placement program with a high success rate for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Studies. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are reviewing so that you can narrow down your options and make the best selection. And when you have made the best decision, you will receive the appropriate training so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
Check Out More Law Abiding Locations in Arizona