Picking the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Bay Minette Alabama
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Bay Minette Alabama. But after you have decided on the kind of program you would like to work toward, just how do you tackle selecting a college that will provide the right training to help you realize your career goals? Of course the institution you pick must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will probably start by searching for schools that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each school. But there are additional points that you must investigate prior to making your final selection. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the college are important factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then locating a reputable online degree program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will discuss these and other criteria that you might want to utilize in your vetting process when choosing the right 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 benefits of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Bay Minette AL
Similar to most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly needed for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Bay Minette AL. There are four degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Generally a two year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial court system. An increasing number of police departments are seeking 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 comprehensive education creates additional opportunities for such positions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional two years of classes in addition to attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a specific area of criminal justice. Along with the options offered with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for those interested in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is available also. 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 attaining any one of the four degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are a number of specializations to pick from when determining which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV shows. 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 select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Choosing a school and program that focuses on that specialty would obviously be the ideal option 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 explore all of the degree alternatives available from the numerous colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Bay Minette AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the program you have decided on, investigate the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation in general does not mean that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is extremely important to choose a major first prior to selecting a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs
Many prospective students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their vicinity, or they might just want the convenience of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous colleges located within the United States that offer online degree programs similar to the ones offered on campus. And for many Bay Minette AL students, particularly those who continue working full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges may make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are frequently more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Tuition may be lower and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure, just like for any college you are looking at, that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can study in this kind of independent setting, then earning your degree online may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
At this point you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you want to earn your degree online or by going to classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start searching for Bay Minette AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Considering that there are a large number of colleges to choose 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 a significant consideration and you will need to select a college 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 may wish to ask the colleges you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have acquired one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. 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 screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to make sure that the degree program and school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a top notch education, it will also aid in qualifying for student loans or financial aid, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, many Bay Minette AL employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As mentioned previously, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you enroll in is important also. It’s particularly critical if you are entering the profession with no relevant prior work history. With no previous experience, Bay Minette AL employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can obtain school reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other elements contributing to the academic programs. Keep in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you might be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Bay Minette AL colleges you are looking at. A low rate might be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also imperative that the colleges have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you land 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 college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a sizable network of employers to help students obtain positions after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, one of the first things you will most likely consider when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or possibly board on campus, the college you select will need to be within driving distance of your Bay Minette AL home. Certainly attending classes online will remove the need for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you opt to attend a college outside of your resident state, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also often charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classes? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes offers the opportunity for more interaction with the instructors. Larger classes afford little chance of receiving individualized instruction if needed. One method to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to monitor a couple of classes before making your ultimate decision. Talk to some of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s crucial to make sure that the final school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bay Minette AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Bay Minette AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Bay Minette AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Bay Minette area where your school campus will be located.
Bay Minette, Alabama
In the first days of Baldwin County, the town of McIntosh Bluff (now in Mobile County, west of Baldwin County) on the Tombigbee River was the county seat. After being transferred to the town of Blakeley in 1810, the county seat was later moved to the city of Daphne in 1868. In 1900, by an act of the legislature of Alabama, the county seat was authorized for relocation to the city of Bay Minette; however, the city of Daphne resisted relocation. The citizens of Bay Minette moved the county records from Daphne in the middle of the night on October 11–12, 1901 and delivered them to the city of Bay Minette - where the Baldwin County seat remains to this day. A mural for the new post office built in 1937 was commissioned by the WPA and painted by Hilton Leech of Bridgeport, Connecticut, to commemorate this event.
In September 2011, the town attempted to enact a program called "Operation Restore Our Community". It would have allowed those convicted of a misdemeanor to substitute imprisonment with mandatory church attendance for one year. However, this program was challenged due to violating separation of church and state, and the program's start was delayed for judicial review. It appears to have been scrapped.
Bay Minette is located near the center of Baldwin County in southern Alabama at 30°53′0″N 87°46′38″W / 30.88333°N 87.77722°W / 30.88333; -87.77722 (30.883446, -87.777183). It is sited on high ground 5 miles (8 km) east of the Mobile River/Tensaw River valley and 6 miles (10 km) west of the Florida border formed by the Perdido River. U.S. Route 31 passes through the center of the city, leading south to Spanish Fort and northeast to Atmore. Interstate 65 passes about 5 miles (8 km) north of the city, with access from exit 34 (State Route 59) and exit 37 (State Route 287).
Select the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Bay Minette AL
Making sure that you choose the right criminal justice school near Bay Minette AL is vital to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers respect which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Achieving the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the right criminal justice school based on your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Also, verify that the college 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 Criminal Justice College Majors. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess and compare the criminal justice colleges you are reviewing in order to narrow down your choices and make the best selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the appropriate training so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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