Choosing the Right Criminal Justice School near Leeds Alabama
So you have made the decision to attain a criminal justice degree near Leeds Alabama. But once you have selected the type of program you want to work toward, just how do you go about choosing a school that will offer the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Naturally the school you choose must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will no doubt start by searching for schools that are nearby your home and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other factors that you should evaluate prior to making your ultimate decision. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the college are significant factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online training program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will address these and other qualifications that you may want to include in your vetting process when deciding on the best criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees available along with the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Leeds AL
Similar to most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly required for various positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Leeds AL. There are 4 degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a 2 year degree, it provides an introduction to such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judiciary system. More and more police departments are seeking candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates more options for such professions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional 2 years of classes in addition to attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become experts in a particular facet of criminal justice. In addition to the options afforded with the lesser 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 available also. Usually taking anywhere from four to seven years to complete, 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.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are numerous specialties to choose from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after enjoying countless episodes of the different crime scene investigation shows. Or maybe you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you must pick a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a program and a school that focuses on that area would clearly be the best decision toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be best to investigate 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 Leeds AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the college you have decided on, investigate the degree program you are interested in along with the school. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has an excellent reputation in general does not mean that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is essential to choose a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Classes Online
Some prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their region, or they might just prefer the convenience of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There many colleges located within the United States that offer degree programs online similar to the ones offered on campus. And for a number of Leeds AL students, particularly those who continue to work part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online programs in many cases make them the only option. And as an additional benefit, online colleges are often more affordable than on campus alternatives. Tuition can be cheaper and expenditures for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, as with any school you are considering, 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 kind of unsupervised setting, then earning your degree online may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
At this point you have no doubt decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you intend to earn your degree online or by attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start looking for Leeds AL area colleges and fine tuning your options. Considering that there are so many colleges to pick from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when reviewing schools. Certainly cost is a significant consideration and you will need to select a college that fits within your academic budget. And we have already discussed a few others as well, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you focus on those issues and more, below is a list of questions you might want to ask the schools you are examining prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have acquired one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. One of the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone an extensive assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s important to confirm that the degree program and school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. Along with helping confirm that you get a top notch education, it will also assist in acquiring student loans or financial aid, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, many Leeds AL employers are looking for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As mentioned previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the school you choose is important also. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the field with no relevant previous work history. Without any previous experience, Leeds AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can get college reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other elements contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you might be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Leeds AL colleges you are looking at. A low percentage might be an indicator that students were disappointed with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the course of study. It’s also essential that the colleges have job placement programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you land that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the start of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a sizable network of contacts to assist students in obtaining positions upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Campuses Located? As we mentioned at the opening of this article, among the initial things you will most likely look at when searching 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 enroll in will have to be within commuting distance of your Leeds AL residence. Of course attending classes online will remove the necessity 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 resident state, you might be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly 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 Big are the Classes? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, going to smaller classes offers the option for more interaction with the instructors. Bigger classes allow for little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One method to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a few classes prior to making your final determination. Talk to some of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You may also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it’s crucial to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Leeds AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Leeds AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Leeds AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Leeds area where your school campus will be located.
Leeds is a tri-county municipality located in Jefferson, St. Clair, and Shelby counties in the State of Alabama and is an eastern suburb of Birmingham. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 11,773.
The War of 1812, geography, geology, and three cultures shaped the history of Leeds. Lying at the crossroads of desecrated ancient Native-American paths in the center of Alabama, Leeds drew European and African-American settlers to a land of fertile growing seasons and rich sources of coal and mineral ore. The early settlers built churches and schools with many remaining in Cedar Grove, Oak Ridge, Ohanafeefee and Mt. Pleasant. The principal survey of Leeds was entered into Jefferson County Map Book 10, page 21, in 1908. The settlement, dating to 1818 and incorporating on April 27, 1887 as "Leeds", has existed along the banks of the Little Cahaba River; beside an historic stagecoach route; and along two large railroads for the greater part of American History.
James Hamilton, a Scottish-Irish American veteran of the War of 1812 and first sheriff of Shelby County, settled in Cedar Grove in 1816. John Richard Ingram Pashal Stewart, a Cherokee English teacher and American veteran of the War of 1812, settled at Ohanafeefee Village c.1840. At Oak Ridge in 1820 or 1821, European settlers formed Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the first CPC congregation in middle Alabama. By 1887, the original railroad pioneers included free African-American settlers who came to work at the Leeds cement plant and the Central of Georgia as the Georgia Pacific railroads. Some gravitated to historic Mt. Pleasant Church where a handful of freed slaves had founded Scott City, Hillard Holley, Ciscero Davis, Jeff Harris, and Bill Johnson started Leeds Negro/Primary School in 1921.
Select the Ideal Criminal Justice Degree Program near Leeds AL
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice school near Leeds AL is crucial to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers care which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Attaining the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career starts with picking the right 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 have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, make certain that the school has a job placement program with a high success rate for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Administration Degree. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess and compare the criminal justice schools you are reviewing in order to narrow down your choices and make the right selection. And when you have made the correct decision, you will receive the proper training so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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