Choosing the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Scottsdale Arizona
So you have made the decision to pursue a criminal justice degree near Scottsdale Arizona. But once you have decided on the kind of program you would like to pursue, just how do you undertake selecting a college that will offer the proper training to help you achieve your career objectives? Of course the institution you choose must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you are interested in. And you will undoubtedly begin by looking for schools that are close to your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other issues that you must investigate prior to making your ultimate decision. 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 instead of sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online degree program will also be a part of your search process. We will deal with these and other criteria that you might want to utilize in your vetting process when selecting the ideal criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors offered as well as the benefits of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Scottsdale AZ
As with most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly required for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Scottsdale AZ. There are 4 degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a two year degree, it offers an overview of such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are seeking applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates more options for such professions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional 2 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 aspect of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And finally, for students with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available as well. Typically taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for obtaining any one of the four degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are many specializations to pick from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after watching countless episodes of the different crime scene investigation shows. Or perhaps you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you need to select a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Selecting a school and program that focuses on that area would obviously be the ideal decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that scenario, it would be advisable to explore all of the degree options available from the numerous colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Scottsdale AZ area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the college you have chosen, research the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation as a whole does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first prior to choosing a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs
A number of students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they might just want the independence of earning a degree online. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous colleges domiciled within the United States that offer degree programs online much like the ones offered on campus. And for many Scottsdale AZ students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online programs may make them the only option. And as an additional advantage, online colleges are frequently more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Tuition may be lower and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced also. Just make sure, as with any school you are looking at, that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can study in this kind of independent setting, then obtaining your degree online may be the best alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you intend to obtain your degree online or by attending classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start looking for Scottsdale AZ area schools and narrowing down your options. Because there are so many colleges to select from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when analyzing colleges. Certainly cost is an important factor and you will need to choose a school that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already discussed a few others as well, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you may want to ask the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Many criminal justice schools have received one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. Among the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone a rigorous assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s important to make sure that the program and school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. Along with helping assure that you get a quality education, it will also help in qualifying for student loans or financial aid, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of Scottsdale AZ employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As previously mentioned, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you choose is important as well. It’s particularly critical if you are going into the field with no relevant prior job history. Without any prior experience, Scottsdale AZ employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can obtain college reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other aspects contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Scottsdale AZ schools you are reviewing. A lower percentage may be a sign that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the course of study. It’s also important that the schools have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job placement 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 substantiate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a large network of contacts to help students in obtaining jobs upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Schools Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, among the initial things you will most likely look at when looking for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or perhaps live on campus, the school you pick will have to be within commuting distance of your Scottsdale AZ residence. Certainly attending classes online will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to attend a college outside of your state of residence, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state colleges and universities. Community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, going to small classes provides the option for more interaction with the teachers. Large classes allow for little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to audit a couple of classes before making your final decision. Speak with several of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Arizona criminal justice field.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it’s crucial to verify that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Scottsdale AZ?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Scottsdale AZ, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Scottsdale area where your school campus will be located.
Scottsdale (O'odham: Vaṣai S-vaṣonĭ; Yaqui: Eskatel) is a city in the eastern part of Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, part of the Greater Phoenix Area. Named Scottsdale in 1894 after founder Winfield Scott and incorporated in 1951 with a population of 2,000, the 2015 population of the city is estimated to be 236,839 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.The New York Times described downtown Scottsdale as "a desert version of Miami's South Beach" and as having "plenty of late night partying and a buzzing hotel scene." Its slogan is "The West's Most Western Town."
Scottsdale, 31 miles long and 11.4 miles wide at its widest point, shares boundaries with many other municipalities and entities. On the west, Scottsdale is bordered by Phoenix, Paradise Valley and unincorporated Maricopa County land. Carefree is located along the western boundary, as well as sharing Scottsdale's northern boundary with the Tonto National Forest. To the south Scottsdale is bordered by Tempe. The southern boundary is also occupied by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which extends along the eastern boundary, which also borders Fountain Hills, the McDowell Mountain Regional Park and more unincorporated Maricopa County land.
The area which would include what would become Scottsdale was originally inhabited by the Hohokam, from approximately 300 BC to 1450 AD. This ancient civilization farmed the area and developed a complex network of canals for irrigation which was unsurpassed in pre-Columbian North America. At its peak, the canals stretched over 250 miles, many of which built remains extant today, some having been renovated and put back into use in the 20th century. Under still-mysterious circumstances, the Hohokam disappeared around 1450 or 1500, the most likely theory having to do with a prolonged drought. The area's later occupants, the Pima and O'odham (also known as the Papago), are thought to be the direct descendants of the Hohokam people.
Select the Best Criminal Justice Degree Program near Scottsdale AZ
Making sure that you choose the right criminal justice program near Scottsdale AZ is vital to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers value which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Attaining the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the ideal criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you pick both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Additionally, verify that the school has a job placement program with a strong track record for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Classes To Take. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will be able to analyze and compare the criminal justice colleges you are considering in order to narrow down your choices and make the best selection. And when you have made the correct 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