How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice School near Columbiana Alabama
So you have made the decision to earn a criminal justice degree near Columbiana Alabama. But after you have decided on the kind of program you want to pursue, just how do you tackle choosing a school that will offer 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 probably start by looking for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each school. But there are other issues that you should examine before making your ultimate choice. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the college are significant factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes in front of your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online training program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will cover these and other qualifications that you might want to include in your vetting process when selecting the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees offered along with the benefits of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Columbiana AL
Similar to most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently needed for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Columbiana AL. There are four degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a 2 year degree, it offers an overview of such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial court system. An increasing number of police departments are looking for candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree usually covers the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education makes available additional options for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional two years of classes after obtaining 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 options provided with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And finally, for individuals interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered as well. Usually requiring anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for earning any one of the four degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are many specializations to select from when considering which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after watching countless episodes of the various 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 choose a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a program and a school that specializes in that specialty would certainly be the best decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that situation, it would be best to research all of the degree alternatives available from the various universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Columbiana AL 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 school. Just because a criminal justice school is accredited and has an excellent reputation as a whole does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Colleges
Many prospective 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. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There many schools located within the United States that offer online degree programs similar to those offered on campus. And for many Columbiana AL students, particularly those who continue to work part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online programs in many cases make them the sole option. And as an additional benefit, online colleges are frequently lower in cost than on-campus alternatives. Tuition can be lower and expenditures for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just verify, just like for any college you are considering, that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as 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 earning your degree online may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you want to earn your degree online or by going to classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start searching for Columbiana AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Because there are numerous schools to select from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing schools. Naturally cost is a significant consideration and you will need to select a school that fits within your scholastic budget. And we have already pointed out a few others also, including location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you may wish to ask the colleges you are thinking about before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have earned one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. One of the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone an extensive assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s important to confirm that the program and college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for several reasons. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it will also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Columbiana AL employers are looking for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As previously stated, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you choose is important as well. It’s particularly critical if you are entering the profession with no relevant prior employment history. Without any prior experience, Columbiana AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can get college reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the teachers and other factors contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be highly respected for a specific degree program that you might have an interest in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Columbiana AL colleges you are looking at. A lower percentage may be an indication that students were disappointed 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 placement programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help validate that the college has a good reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain positions upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Campuses Located? As we mentioned 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 possibly board on campus, the college you pick will need to be within driving distance of your Columbiana AL residence. Of course attending classes online will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to attend a college not in your resident state, you might be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Junior and community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, attending small classes provides the opportunity for more interaction with the instructors. Bigger classes allow for little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on 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 inquire what their teaching approaches are. You might also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it’s critical to verify that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Columbiana AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Columbiana AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Columbiana AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Columbiana area where your school campus will be located.
Columbiana, originally called Columbia, was selected as the county seat of Shelby County in 1826 over rivals Calera and Montevallo. After the selection as the county seat, Columbiana celebrated by drilling holes in a large pine tree and packing it with gunpowder. The tree was blown up and the sound could be heard for miles. Later in 1826, the courthouse was moved to an old school building in Columbiana.
An act of the Alabama Legislature officially changed the name of Shelby County's county seat to Columbiana on January 13, 1832. Columbiana was incorporated on December 5, 1837 with corporate limits one-quarter of a mile in each direction from the public square.
In 1854, the decision was made to build a larger courthouse at the south end of “Silk Stocking Road”, now Main Street. From 1854 to 1908 several additions and changes were made to the courthouse. During the American Civil War, Columbiana was connected to the nearby town of Shelby by the Shelby Iron Company Railroad, which connected the Shelby Iron Works to the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad. The Iron Works supplied iron to the C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, which moved to Columbiana in 1862 after the fall of Corinth, Mississippi. The Churchill foundry made eight and ten pound shot, eight and ten pound shells, and shells for Blakely rifles. The C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, Shelby Iron Works and the railroad were destroyed by Union forces on March 31, 1865, as part of Wilson's Raid.
Select the Best Criminal Justice School near Columbiana AL
Making certain that you select the ideal criminal justice college near Columbiana AL is essential to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers respect which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Achieving the greatest possible success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the ideal criminal justice school predicated upon your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you choose both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, make sure 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 Bachelor of Arts In Criminal Justice. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess and compare the criminal justice schools you are looking at in order to narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the appropriate training so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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