Selecting the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Calera Alabama
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Calera Alabama. But after you have selected the type of program you would like to pursue, just how do you undertake picking a school that will provide the proper training to help you realize your career objectives? Naturally the school you choose must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you are interested in. And you will no doubt begin by looking for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are additional points that you must examine before making your ultimate selection. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the school are significant factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online degree program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will cover these and other criteria that you might want to include in your vetting process when deciding on the right criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors offered along with the advantages of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Calera AL
As with many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently required for various careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities available in Calera AL. There are four degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judiciary system. A growing number of police departments are looking for candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree normally addresses the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education makes available more opportunities for such positions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional 2 years of classes in addition to obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become experts in a specific facet of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And last, for those interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available 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 earning any of the 4 degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are many specializations to select from when deciding which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after enjoying numerous episodes of the assorted 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 objective, you must select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Selecting a program and a school that specializes in that area would clearly be the best option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that case, it would be best to explore all of the degree options available from the numerous colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Calera AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the program you have selected, investigate the degree program you have an interest in as well as the school. Just because a criminal justice school is accredited and has an excellent reputation as a whole does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is extremely important to choose a major first before choosing a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Colleges
A number of students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their vicinity, or they may just prefer the convenience of earning a degree online. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous colleges domiciled within the United States that offer online degree programs much like the ones offered on campus. And for many Calera AL students, particularly those who continue to work full or part-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online programs may make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are frequently lower in cost than on campus alternatives. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just verify, just like for 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 study in this kind of unsupervised setting, then earning your degree online may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as 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 Calera AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Since there are so many schools to choose from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when assessing colleges. Clearly cost is a significant factor and you will need to enroll in a college that fits within your academic budget. And we have already addressed several others also, including location, accreditation and reputation. To help you focus on those issues and more, following is a list of questions you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Many criminal justice colleges have acquired one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. 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 undergone an extensive screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to verify that the degree program and college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it will also help in acquiring student loans or financial aid, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Calera AL employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As stated previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is important also. It’s particularly critical if you are going into the profession with no relevant previous work history. Without any prior experience, Calera AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can get college rankings and reviews, 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 educational programs. Remember that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you might be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Calera AL colleges you are reviewing. A lower percentage may be an indication that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the course of study. It’s also important that the colleges have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that marks the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a large network of employers to assist students in obtaining jobs upon graduation.
Where are the Colleges Located? As we touched on at the beginning of this article, among the initial things you will most likely consider when searching for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or perhaps live on campus, the school you choose will need to be within driving distance of your Calera AL residence. Of course attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you opt to go to a school not in your state of residence, you might be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community and junior colleges also often charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, attending smaller classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes afford little chance of receiving personalized instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a few classes prior to making your ultimate determination. Speak with some of the students and ask what they have experienced. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You might also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Calera 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 ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Calera AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Calera AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Calera area where your school campus will be located.
As of the 2010 census Calera had a population of 11,620, more than tripling its total in 2000, making it the fastest-growing city in Alabama. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Calera is located in southern Shelby County at 33°06′27″N 86°45′00″W / 33.107572°N 86.749964°W / 33.107572; -86.749964. The city limits extend southward into Chilton County along U.S. Route 31, the main highway through the city. Interstate 65 passes through the eastern side of the city, with access from exits 228, 231, and 234.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.4 square miles (63.1 km2), of which 24.1 square miles (62.4 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.7 km2), or 1.17%, is water.
Pick the Ideal Criminal Justice College near Calera AL
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice program near Calera AL is crucial to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers care which school 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 right criminal justice college predicated upon your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you pick both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Additionally, make certain that the college 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 BS In Criminal Justice. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are considering in order to narrow down your choices and make the best selection. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will receive the proper education so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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