How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Livingston Alabama
So you have decided to earn a criminal justice degree near Livingston Alabama. But once you have selected the kind of program you would like to pursue, just how do you undertake choosing a school that will offer the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the college you select must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will probably begin by searching for colleges that are nearby your home and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other points that you need to examine before making your final selection. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the school are critical 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 reputable online degree program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will cover these and other qualifications that you may wish to utilize in your vetting process when deciding on the ideal criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees offered along with the benefits of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Livingston AL
As with most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly needed for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Livingston AL. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a two year degree, it offers an introduction to such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial system. More and more police departments are seeking applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree typically includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education makes available more options for such positions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes in addition to earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a particular facet of criminal justice. Along with 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 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. Needless to say the time requirements for earning any of the 4 degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specialties to pick 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 shows. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career goal, you must pick a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Choosing a program and a school that specializes in that area would certainly 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 advisable to research all of the degree options available from the numerous universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Livingston AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the school you have selected, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has a good reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is extremely important to decide on a major first before choosing a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Classes
A number of prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their area, or they may just prefer the convenience of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There a large number of colleges domiciled within the United States that provide degree programs online much like those offered on campus. And for many Livingston AL students, especially those who continue to work part or full-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges in many cases make them the sole option. And as an additional 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure, as with any college you are looking at, that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can learn in this kind of unsupervised setting, then obtaining your degree online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you intend to earn your degree online or by going to classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start looking for Livingston AL area colleges and fine tuning your options. Considering that there are a large number of schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s essential to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing schools. Clearly cost is a significant consideration and you will need to pick a college that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already discussed a few others as well, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you may want to ask the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? Many criminal justice colleges have received one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. Among the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through a rigorous screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s essential to make sure that the degree program and school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it will also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Livingston AL employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the College? As mentioned previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is important also. It’s particularly crucial if you are entering the field with no relevant prior job history. With no prior experience, Livingston AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can find school reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other variables contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be highly regarded for a specific degree program that you might have an interest in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Livingston AL colleges you are reviewing. A lower rate might be a sign that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the curriculum. It’s also imperative that the colleges have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that marks the start of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help verify that the college has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a considerable network of employers to help students obtain jobs after graduation.
Where are the Campuses Located? As we touched on at the beginning of this article, among the initial things you will most likely consider when looking for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or possibly live on campus, the college you select will need to be within commuting distance of your Livingston AL home. 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 choose to attend a school outside of your resident state, you might be required to pay 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 Large are the Classes? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes offers the opportunity for more interaction with the instructors. Bigger classes afford little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a couple of classes before making your final decision. Speak with some of the students and ask what their experiences have been. 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 profession.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that the ultimate program 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 go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Livingston AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Livingston AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Livingston AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Livingston area where your school campus will be located.
Livingston is a city in Sumter County, Alabama, United States. By an act of the state legislature, it was incorporated on January 10, 1835. At the 2010 census the population was 3,485, up from 3,297 in 2000. The city is the county seat of Sumter County, and the home of the University of West Alabama. It was named in honor of Edward Livingston, of the Livingston family of New York.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,485 people residing in the city. 63.8% were African American, 34.4% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander and 0.6% of two more races. 0.7% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,297 people, 1,368 households, and 731 families residing in the city. The population density was 463.1 people per square mile (178.8/km²). There were 1,586 housing units at an average density of 222.8 per square mile (86.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 60.78% Black or African American, 37.82% White or Caucasian, 0.18% Asian, 0.15% Native American, 0.30% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 1.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Right Criminal Justice College near Livingston AL
Making certain that you pick the ideal criminal justice program near Livingston AL is essential to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers value which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Achieving the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the optimal criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have covered in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you select both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Also, make sure that the college has a job placement program with a strong track record for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in The Best Criminal Justice Colleges. 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 right selection. And when you have made the correct decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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