How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice College near Alabaster Alabama
So you have made the decision to earn a criminal justice degree near Alabaster Alabama. But once you have selected the kind of degree you would like to work toward, just how do you undertake picking a school that will offer the proper training to help you realize your career objectives? Naturally the college you pick must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you are interested in. And you will probably start by searching for schools that are nearby your home and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are other points that you must investigate before making your final decision. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are significant factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online degree program will also be a part of your search process. We will discuss these and other criteria that you may want to include in your vetting process when selecting the right 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 Alabaster AL
Just like with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently needed for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Alabaster AL. There are four degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a 2 year degree, it offers an overview of such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judiciary 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 in depth. The more comprehensive education creates more options for such positions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional two years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a specific area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities provided with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for individuals with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered as well. Usually 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 4 degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are many specializations to choose from when deciding which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after watching countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV shows. Or quite possibly you have always wanted to be a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career goal, you must select a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Choosing a school and program that focuses on that area would obviously be the best option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that scenario, it would be advisable to explore all of the degree alternatives offered from the various universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Alabaster 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 selected, research 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 as a whole does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are equally highly respected. That’s why it is essential to decide on a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Colleges Online
Many prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they might just prefer the flexibility of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous colleges domiciled within the USA that offer degree programs online much like the ones offered on campus. And for a number of Alabaster AL students, especially those who continue working part or full-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges in many cases make them the only option. And as an added advantage, online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Tuition may be cheaper and expenditures for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced also. Just make sure, 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 motivated, and can learn in this type of independent environment, then earning your degree online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
By now you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, as well as if you want to earn your degree online or by attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin looking for Alabaster AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Since there are numerous colleges to choose from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when analyzing schools. Certainly cost is a significant consideration and you will need to choose a college that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already pointed out a few others also, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you might wish to ask the schools you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have earned one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. One of 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 a rigorous screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s important to make sure that the degree program and school you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for several reasons. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it will also help in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Alabaster AL employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the College? As mentioned previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you select is important as well. It’s especially crucial if you are getting in the profession with no relevant previous work history. Without any previous experience, Alabaster AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can obtain college reviews and rankings, 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 outstanding reputation may still be highly regarded 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 Alabaster AL colleges you are looking at. A lower rate might be an indicator that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also essential that the schools have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a sizable network of contacts to help students obtain jobs after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the opening 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 relocate or possibly live on campus, the college you select will have to be within commuting distance of your Alabaster AL residence. Of course attending online classes will eliminate the need for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to go to a college not in 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 their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, going to small classes offers the opportunity for more interaction with the instructors. Large classes allow for little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One way to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a couple of classes before making your ultimate determination. Talk to several of the students and find out 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 experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it’s crucial to confirm that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Alabaster AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Alabaster AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Alabaster area where your school campus will be located.
Alabaster is a city and southern suburb of Birmingham in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 30,352. According to the 2013 Census Estimates, the city had a population of 31,342. Alabaster is the 16th largest city in Alabama by number of residents.
Alabaster mostly occupies the Cahaba and Opossum Valleys, which are divided by the Pine Ridge that runs north to south. To the east and west, both valleys are flanked by parallel mountain ridges that locally run north to south, but are a part of a larger system of ridges that generally runs north-east to south-west (the tailing ends of the Appalachian foothills). The valleys are drained by small creeks (Buck Creek, Beaverdam Creek) which flow into the Cahaba River.
George L. Scott, Sr., an Alabaster pioneer, owned and operated Alabaster Lime Co. His shipping point was known as “Scott Rock.” Later, housing was built to accommodate some of the employees, and the community acquired its name Alabaster from the "white calcium carbonate mineral." The First Bank of Alabaster opened in 1952, and its president was George L. Scott, Jr., who later became the first mayor of Alabaster. The first attempt in 1952 to incorporate Alabaster failed. In January 1953, the petition was again filed, and on February 23, 1953, Alabaster was officially incorporated with a favorable vote of 79 to 23, and 427 residing inhabitants. In 1955, the Alabaster Water and Gas Board was formed.
Select the Best Criminal Justice School near Alabaster AL
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice college near Alabaster AL is crucial to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers respect which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Attaining the greatest possible success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the best criminal justice school based on your career objectives. As we have covered in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you pick both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, make sure that the school has a job assistance program with a strong track record for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Masters In Criminal Justice. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to assess and compare the criminal justice colleges you are considering in order to narrow down your options and make the right choice. 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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