How to Select the Right Criminal Justice College near Selma Alabama
So you have decided to earn a criminal justice degree near Selma Alabama. But after you have selected the type of program you would like to pursue, just how do you undertake picking a college that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career objectives? Of course the college you select must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will undoubtedly start by looking for schools that are near your home and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other issues that you should investigate prior to making your final choice. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are important factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online degree program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will discuss 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 take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors available along with the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Selma AL
As with many 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 obtained advances, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Selma AL. There are four degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Generally a 2 year degree, it offers an introduction to such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial system. An increasing number of police departments are looking for candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree normally includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education makes available additional options for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional 2 years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a particular aspect of criminal justice. Along with the options offered with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for those with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered also. Typically taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for obtaining any one of the 4 degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are numerous specialties to choose from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after viewing countless 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 must select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a school and program that specializes in that specialty would obviously be the best decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that case, it would be a good idea to research all of the degree alternatives available from the various colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Selma 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 decided on, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the college. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has an outstanding reputation in general does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first before selecting a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Schools Online
Some prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they might just want the convenience of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There many colleges located within the United States that offer online degree programs similar to those offered on-campus. And for many Selma AL students, especially those who continue to work part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online colleges may make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Tuition can be cheaper and expenditures for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, just like for any school you are reviewing, that the program you select is accredited by an approved organization, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can study in this kind of independent environment, then obtaining your degree online may be the best alternative for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you intend to earn your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin searching for Selma AL area schools and fine tuning your options. Considering that there are so many schools to select from, literally hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing schools. Clearly cost is an important consideration and you will need to choose a school that is within your academic budget. And we have already addressed several others as well, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you might want to ask the colleges you are thinking about prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have earned one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. Among the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through an extensive assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s essential to confirm that the degree 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 aid in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of Selma AL employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As stated previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you attend is important also. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the profession with no relevant previous job history. With no prior experience, Selma AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key 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 examine the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other variables contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be highly respected for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Selma AL schools you are considering. A lower percentage might be an indicator that students were disappointed with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the curriculum. It’s also essential that the colleges have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the start of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a large network of employers to assist students obtain positions after graduation.
How Far Away are the Schools Located? As we touched on at the beginning of this article, among the first things you will most likely 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 enroll in will need to be within commuting distance of your Selma AL residence. Of course attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to attend a college outside of your resident state, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Junior and community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, attending small classes offers the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Larger classes afford little chance of getting personalized instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a few classes prior to making your ultimate decision. Speak with several of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, talk to 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 field.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it’s critical to confirm that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Selma AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Selma AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Selma AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Selma area where your school campus will be located.
Selma is a city in and the county seat of Dallas County, in the Black Belt region of south central Alabama and extending to the west. Located on the banks of the Alabama River, the city has a population of 20,756 as of the 2010 census.
The city is best known for the 1960s Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Selma to Montgomery marches, beginning with "Bloody Sunday" in March 1965 and ending with 25,000 people entering Montgomery at the end of the last march to press for voting rights. This activism generated national attention to social justice and that summer, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed by Congress to authorize federal oversight and enforcement of constitutional rights of all citizens.
It had been a trading center and market town during the years of King Cotton in the South. It was also an important armaments manufacturing and iron shipbuilding center during the Civil War, surrounded by miles of earthen fortifications. The Confederate forces were defeated during the Battle of Selma.
Pick the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Selma AL
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice program near Selma AL is vital to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers respect which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Achieving the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the optimal criminal justice school predicated upon your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, make certain 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 Online Criminal Justice Programs. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to analyze and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at in order to narrow down your options and make the right selection. And when you have made the best decision, you will get the proper education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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