How to Select the Right Criminal Justice College near Atmore Alabama
So you have decided to earn a criminal justice degree near Atmore Alabama. But after you have selected the type of program you want to pursue, just how do you tackle picking a school that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the institution you select must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will probably start by looking for schools that are nearby your home and comparing the cost for each school. But there are other considerations that you must investigate prior to making your ultimate choice. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the college are significant factors as well. 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 criteria that you may want to include in your vetting process when picking the best criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors offered as well as the benefits of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Atmore AL
Similar to many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently needed for a number of positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the employment opportunities available in Atmore AL. There are 4 degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a 2 year degree, it offers an introduction to such specialties 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 typically addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates additional options for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional two years of classes after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become experts in a particular area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for individuals interested in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is available as well. Usually requiring 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 4 degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are many specialties to choose from when considering which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV programs. Or maybe you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to choose a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Choosing a program and a school that focuses on that specialty would obviously be the best option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be a good idea to investigate all of the degree alternatives offered from the various universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Atmore AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the college you have chosen, research the degree program you are interested in along with the school. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has a good 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 Degree Programs
A number of prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they may just prefer the convenience of earning a degree online. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There many colleges domiciled within the United States that provide online degree programs much like the ones offered on campus. And for many Atmore AL students, particularly those who continue working part or full-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online schools in many cases make them the only option. And as an additional advantage, online colleges are frequently lower in cost than on-campus alternatives. Tuition may be lower and costs for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced also. Just make certain, just like for any college you are looking at, that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can study in this kind of unsupervised setting, then earning your degree online might be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have no doubt decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you want to earn your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start searching for Atmore AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Because there are a large number of colleges to pick from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when assessing schools. Clearly cost is a significant factor and you will need to choose a college that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already addressed a few others as well, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you focus on those issues and more, below is a list of questions you might want to ask the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have acquired one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. One of the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone a rigorous screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to confirm that the degree program and school you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it will also aid in securing student loans or financial aid, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Atmore AL employers have a preference for graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As stated previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the school you choose is significant as well. It’s particularly critical if you are going into the profession with no relevant previous job history. Without any previous experience, Atmore AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a key factor when going over your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can obtain college reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other elements contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be well respected for a specific degree program that you might be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Atmore AL schools you are looking at. A lower rate may be an indicator that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also imperative that the schools have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you land 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 verify that the college has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a substantial network of employers to help students secure jobs upon graduation.
Where are the Campuses Located? As we touched on at the beginning of this article, among the initial 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 board on campus, the college you select will need to be within commuting distance of your Atmore AL residence. Certainly attending online classes will remove the need for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to go to a college not in your state of residence, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classes? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, attending small classes provides the option for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes allow for little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a few classes prior to making your final determination. Speak with some of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You might also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it’s critical to make sure that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atmore AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Atmore AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Atmore AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Atmore area where your school campus will be located.
Atmore is a city in Escambia County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1907. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 10,194, with an estimated population of 10,006 in 2014. Atmore is in the planning stages to increase its economic base with additions in its new Rivercane development along the I-65 corridor.
Atmore has completed requirements to be recognized as an Alabama Community of Excellence at the upcoming Alabama League of Municipalities Convention. City officials are also working with the Alabama Historical Commission to have the downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Atmore is located in western Escambia County at 31°1′23″N 87°29′31″W / 31.02306°N 87.49194°W / 31.02306; -87.49194 (31.023183, -87.492067). Its southern border is the Florida state line. The center of town is at the intersection of U.S. Route 31 and Alabama State Route 21, while a new section of the city has been incorporated 6 miles (10 km) to the north around Exit 57 of Interstate 65. US 31 leads southwest 20 miles (32 km) to Bay Minette and east 28 miles (45 km) to Brewton. Mobile is 51 miles (82 km) to the southwest via US 31 and I-65, while Pensacola, Florida, is 49 miles (79 km) south via AL 21, Florida State Road 97, and U.S. Route 29.
Choose the Right Criminal Justice School near Atmore AL
Making sure that you select the right criminal justice college near Atmore AL is essential to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers respect which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Attaining the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career starts with picking the best criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have addressed in this article, it’s essential that the college and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Also, make certain that the school has a job placement program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Associates In Criminal Justice. However, by using 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 right selection. And when you have made the best decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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