How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice College near Florence Alabama
So you have made the decision to attain a criminal justice degree near Florence Alabama. But once you have chosen the kind of program you would like to work toward, just how do you tackle selecting a school that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career goals? Naturally the institution you pick must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will probably begin by looking for colleges that are close to your residence and comparing the cost for each school. But there are additional points that you need to evaluate before making your ultimate decision. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the college are important factors as well. 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 training program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will discuss these and other criteria that you might wish to include in your vetting process when choosing the right criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees available as well as the benefits of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Florence AL
Just like with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently needed for many positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Florence AL. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Generally a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are looking for candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree typically covers the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates additional opportunities for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional two years of classes after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a specific area of criminal justice. In addition to the options afforded with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And finally, for those interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered also. Typically requiring anywhere from 4 to 7 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 depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are numerous specialties to pick from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after watching numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV programs. Or perhaps 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 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 obviously be the best 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 investigate all of the degree alternatives available from the various universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Florence 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 have an interest in as well as the college. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation in general does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is very important to decide on a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Classes Online
A number of students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their vicinity, or they might just want the independence of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There many schools domiciled within the United States that provide degree programs online much like the ones offered on-campus. And for a number of Florence AL students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the convenience and accessibility of online programs may make them the sole option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition may be cheaper and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make certain, just like for any school you are looking at, that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can study in this kind of unsupervised environment, then obtaining your degree online may be the best alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
By now you have no doubt 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 start searching for Florence AL area schools and fine tuning your options. Since there are numerous schools to choose from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when reviewing schools. Certainly cost is a significant consideration and you will need to pick a school that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already discussed a few others as well, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you may wish to ask the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have received one or more accreditations from regional or national 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 gone through an extensive screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to confirm that the degree program and college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it will also aid in acquiring student loans or financial aid, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Florence AL employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As mentioned previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you attend is significant as well. It’s particularly critical if you are going into the field with no relevant prior employment history. With no prior experience, Florence AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key factor when going over your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can get college reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other elements contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Florence AL schools you are looking at. A lower percentage may be an indicator that students were dissatisfied 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 imperative that the schools have job placement programs with high placement rates. A job assistance program will help you obtain 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 sizable network of contacts to help students obtain jobs after graduation.
Where are the Campuses Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, one of the initial things you will most likely look at when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or possibly board on campus, the school you select will have to be within driving distance of your Florence AL home. Of course attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to attend a school not in your state of residence, you may be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community and junior colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, going to small classes provides the option for more interaction with the instructors. Large classes afford little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a few classes prior to making your ultimate determination. Speak with some of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You may also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s critical to confirm that the ultimate college you choose offers 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 can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Florence AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, 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 should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Florence AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Florence AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Florence area where your school campus will be located.
Florence is the largest and principal city of the Florence-Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area (which includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia metropolitan areas in Colbert and Lauderdale counties). Florence is considered northwestern Alabama's primary economic hub.
Annual tourism events include the W. C. Handy Music Festival in the summer and the Renaissance Faire in the fall. Landmarks in Florence include the Rosenbaum House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home located in Alabama.
Florence and Lauderdale County have one hospital, Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. ECM is a 358 bed facility owned by RCCH HealthCare Partners in Brentwood, Tennessee. In 2010 RCCH HealthCare Partners announced that they would build a new hospital in Florence. The hospital is due to be completed in December 2018.
Choose the Ideal Criminal Justice College near Florence AL
Making sure that you select the ideal criminal justice program near Florence AL is vital to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers value which school you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Attaining the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with selecting the ideal criminal justice college based on your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you pick both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Additionally, make certain that the school has a job assistance program with a high success rate for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Training. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at in order to narrow down your choices and make the best choice. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will receive the appropriate education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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