How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Fairfield Alabama
So you have made the decision to attain a criminal justice degree near Fairfield Alabama. But after you have chosen the kind of program you would like to work toward, just how do you undertake selecting a school that will offer the proper training to help you realize your career objectives? Naturally the institution you select must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will undoubtedly begin by looking for schools that are nearby your residence and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are additional points that you must evaluate prior to making your final decision. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the school are critical factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online training program will also be a part of your search process. We will address these and other qualifications that you might wish to utilize in your vetting process when selecting the ideal criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors available along with the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Fairfield AL
Similar to many other professions, criminal justice degrees 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 to choose from in Fairfield AL. There are four degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a 2 year degree, it provides an introduction to such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judiciary system. A growing number of police departments are seeking candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree normally covers the same subjects 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 involve an additional two years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a particular facet of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And last, for individuals interested in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree 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 be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specialties to choose from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after viewing numerous episodes of the different crime scene investigation TV 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 prepare and qualify you for that position. Selecting a program and a school that specializes in that specialty would naturally be the ideal decision toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that situation, it would be advisable to explore all of the degree options offered from the various colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Fairfield AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the school you have chosen, research the degree program you have an interest in along with the college. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has an excellent reputation in general does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is extremely important to decide on a major first prior to picking a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Classes Online
Many students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their area, or they may just prefer the independence of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There many schools domiciled within the USA that provide degree programs online similar to the ones offered on campus. And for many Fairfield AL students, particularly those who continue working full or part-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online programs may make them the only option. And as an additional benefit, online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition may be lower and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just verify, as with any school you are looking at, that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can learn in this type of unsupervised setting, then obtaining your degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, as well as if you intend to earn your degree online or by attending classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin searching for Fairfield AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Since there are so many schools to select from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing schools. Clearly cost is a significant factor and you will need to select a school that fits within your academic budget. And we have already discussed several others as well, including location, accreditation and reputation. To help you focus on those issues and more, following is a list of questions you might wish to ask the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges 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). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative to verify that the program and college you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. In addition to helping assure that you obtain a quality education, it will also help in securing student loans or financial aid, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fairfield AL employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As previously mentioned, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you select is important as well. It’s particularly critical if you are entering the profession with no relevant previous job history. Without any previous experience, Fairfield AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a key factor when going over your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can get school rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other variables contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation might 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 Fairfield AL colleges you are considering. A low rate might be an indicator 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 colleges have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you land that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the start of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help substantiate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a considerable network of contacts to help students obtain jobs after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the initial things you will most likely look at when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or possibly live on campus, the school you pick will have to be within commuting distance of your Fairfield AL home. Naturally attending online classes will remove the need for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you opt to attend a school not in your state of residence, you might be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community and junior colleges also often charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, attending small classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the instructors. Large classes provide little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to audit a few classes prior to making your ultimate decision. Talk to several of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You may also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s critical to make sure that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairfield AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Fairfield AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Fairfield AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Fairfield area where your school campus will be located.
Fairfield is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area and is located southeast of Pleasant Grove. The population was 11,117 at the 2010 census.
This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U.S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U.S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel, similar to its northeastern city of Ensley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7 per square mile (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Ideal Criminal Justice Degree Program near Fairfield AL
Making sure that you enroll in the right criminal justice program near Fairfield AL is essential to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers value which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Attaining the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career starts with selecting the right criminal justice college based on your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you choose both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Also, verify 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 Criminal Justice Classes To Take. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to assess and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at in order to narrow down your options and make the best selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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