Picking the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Wickenburg Arizona
So you have made the decision to attain a criminal justice degree near Wickenburg Arizona. But once you have decided on the type of degree you would like to work toward, just how do you tackle choosing a school that will offer the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the college you pick must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will undoubtedly begin by looking for colleges that are near your home and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are other issues that you should investigate prior to making your final decision. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the college are critical factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online training program will also be a part of your search process. We will cover these and other qualifications that you may wish to include in your vetting process when selecting the right criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors offered along with the benefits of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Wickenburg AZ
As with many other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently required for various careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the job opportunities available in Wickenburg AZ. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it offers an introduction to such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judiciary system. A growing number of police departments are looking for candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree typically covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates more options for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional two years of classes in addition to obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become specialists in a particular facet of criminal justice. In addition to the options offered with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. Finally, for students interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available also. Generally requiring anywhere from four to seven years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for attaining any one of the four degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are many specialties 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 different crime scene investigation shows. Or perhaps you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career goal, you need to choose a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Selecting a program and a school that specializes in that area would certainly be the ideal decision toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that situation, it would be best 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 Wickenburg 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, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the college. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has a good reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is extremely important to decide on a major first before choosing a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Schools Online
Some students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their region, or they may just want the independence of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There many colleges located within the USA that offer degree programs online much like those offered on-campus. And for many Wickenburg AZ students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online programs may make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are frequently more affordable than on campus alternatives. Tuition can be cheaper and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain, just like for any college you are looking at, that the program you enroll in is accredited by an approved agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can study in this type of unsupervised environment, then obtaining your degree online might be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
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 begin looking for Wickenburg AZ area schools and narrowing down your options. Since there are a large number of schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s essential to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing colleges. Obviously cost is a significant consideration and you will need to pick a program that fits within your academic budget. And we have already mentioned several others as well, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you focus on those issues and more, following is a list of questions you may want to ask the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? Numerous criminal justice colleges have acquired one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. 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 assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to verify that the program and college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. Along with helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it will also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Wickenburg AZ employers are looking for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As mentioned previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the school you enroll in is important as well. It’s particularly critical if you are getting in the profession with no relevant previous job history. With no prior experience, Wickenburg AZ employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can find school rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other aspects contributing to the academic programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be well regarded for a specific degree program that you may be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Wickenburg AZ colleges you are considering. A low percentage may be an indicator that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also important that the colleges have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you get that first pivotal job after graduation that marks the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but that it also has a substantial network of contacts to help students in obtaining positions upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we touched on at the opening of this article, among the first things you will probably look at when searching for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or perhaps live on campus, the college you select will need to be within commuting distance of your Wickenburg AZ home. Naturally attending online classes will remove the need for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to go to a school not in your state of residence, you could be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Junior and community colleges also often charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending small classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes afford little chance of getting personalized instruction if needed. One means to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to monitor a few classes before making your ultimate decision. Talk to several of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Arizona criminal justice field.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it’s important to make sure that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wickenburg AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Wickenburg AZ?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Wickenburg AZ, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Wickenburg area where your school campus will be located.
The Wickenburg area with much of the Southwest became part of the United States by the 1848 treaty that ended the Mexican–American War. The first extensive survey was conducted by Gila Rangers who were pursuing hostile Indians who had raided the Butterfield Overland Mail route and attacked miners at Gila City.
In 1862, a gold strike on the Colorado River near present-day Yuma brought American prospectors, who searched for minerals throughout central Arizona. Many of the geographic landmarks now bear the names of these pioneers, including the Weaver Mountains, named after mountain man Pauline Weaver, and Peeples Valley, named after a settler.
Ranchers and farmers soon built homes along the fertile plain of the Hassayampa River. Together with the miners, they founded the town of Wickenburg in 1863. Wickenburg was also the home of Jack Swilling, who prospected in the Salt River Valley in 1867. Swilling conducted irrigation efforts in that area and helped ground the city of Phoenix, Arizona. Wickenburg was supplied from the Colorado River, by steamboat, then over the La Paz - Wikenburg Road by wagons and pack mules. Wickenburg in turn became a supply point for the mines and army posts in the interior of Arizona Territory.
Select the Best Criminal Justice School near Wickenburg AZ
Making certain that you choose the right criminal justice school near Wickenburg AZ is crucial 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 also. Achieving the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career begins with selecting the right criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have addressed in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you select both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, make sure that the school 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 Courses List. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to analyze and compare the criminal justice schools you are reviewing so that you can narrow down your options and make the right choice. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will get the proper education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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