How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice School near Florence Arizona
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Florence Arizona. But once you have selected the kind of program you would like to work toward, just how do you tackle selecting a school that will provide the proper training to help you realize your career goals? Of course the institution you pick must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will probably begin by looking for colleges that are close to your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other factors that you need to examine prior to making your final decision. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the school are critical factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online training program will also be a part of your search process. We will discuss these and other criteria that you might want to include in your vetting process when choosing the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors offered as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Florence AZ
As with many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly required for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained advances, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Florence AZ. There are four degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a two year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial system. A growing number of police departments are looking for 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 comprehensive education creates additional options for such positions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing 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 aspect of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And finally, for those with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is available as well. Typically taking 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 attaining any one of the 4 degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specializations to pick from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after viewing countless episodes of the different crime scene investigation TV programs. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career goal, you need to choose a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Enrolling in a program and a school that specializes in that specialty would clearly be the best option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet made up your mind on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that case, it would be a good idea to investigate all of the degree options offered from the various colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Florence AZ area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the college you have selected, research the degree program you are interested in along with the school. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has an excellent reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is essential to decide on a major first prior to selecting a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online
A number of students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their region, or they might just prefer the independence of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of colleges domiciled within the United States that offer online degree programs much like the ones offered on campus. And for a number of Florence AZ students, especially those who continue to work full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online schools in many cases make them the only option. And as an additional benefit, online colleges are often lower in cost than on campus alternatives. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make sure, just like for any school you are considering, that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can learn in this type of independent setting, then obtaining your degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you intend to obtain your degree online or by attending classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start looking for Florence AZ area schools and narrowing down your options. Because there are so many colleges to select from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when evaluating schools. Obviously cost is an important factor and you will need to pick a program that is within your academic budget. And we have already mentioned several others also, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those issues and more, following is a list of questions you may want to ask the colleges you are examining prior to making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Numerous criminal justice schools have acquired one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. One of the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone a rigorous assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to confirm that the program and school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping confirm that you obtain a top notch education, it will also aid in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Florence AZ employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As previously mentioned, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is important also. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the profession with no relevant prior job history. Without any prior experience, Florence AZ employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can get school reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the teachers and other elements contributing to the academic programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be highly respected for a specific degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Florence AZ schools you are reviewing. A lower percentage might be an indicator that students were unhappy with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the curriculum. It’s also important that the colleges have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you get that first pivotal job after graduation that marks the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but that it also has a substantial network of employers to assist students in obtaining positions upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we mentioned at the opening of this article, one of the initial things you will probably 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 college you select will need to be within driving distance of your Florence AZ residence. Certainly attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to attend a college not in your resident state, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Junior and community colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, going to smaller classes provides the opportunity for more interaction with the instructors. Larger classes provide little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One means to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to sit in on a couple of classes before making your ultimate decision. Talk to some of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You may also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Arizona criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s crucial to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Florence AZ, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Florence AZ?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Florence AZ, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Florence area where your school campus will be located.
Florence (O'odham: S-auppag) is a town, 61 miles (98 km) southeast of Phoenix, in Pinal County, Arizona, United States. Florence, which is the county seat of Pinal County, is one of the oldest towns in that county and is regarded as a National Historic District with over 25 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The population of Florence was 30,770 at the 2015 census.
The area where the current town of Florence is located was once inhabited by the Hohokam, ancestors of the O'odham people. Prior to the establishment of the town, the Gila River served as a part of the border between the United States and Mexico. In 1853, the Gadsden Purchase extended American territory well south of the Gila.
Levi Ruggles, a veteran of the American Civil War, founded the town of Florence on the south bank of the Gila River. He came to Arizona Territory in 1866 as a U.S. Indian Agent. Recognizing the agricultural potential of the valley, he found an easily fordable crossing on the Gila River and surveyed a townsite there. With the aid of Governor R.C. McCormick, he secured a post office in August of the same year. Ruggles held numerous public offices including that of Territorial Legislator. Florence became the county seat in the newly formed Pinal County. Silver was discovered in 1875 in the nearby mountains which led to the creation of the famous Silver King Mine.
Find the Best Criminal Justice School near Florence AZ
Making sure that you choose the right criminal justice program near Florence AZ is vital to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers care which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Achieving the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the best criminal justice school based on your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you decide on both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Additionally, verify that the college has a job placement program with a high success rate for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Best Colleges For Criminal Justice. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at in order to narrow down your options and make the right choice. And when you have made the correct decision, you will receive the appropriate training so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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