Choosing the Right Criminal Justice College near Orange Beach Alabama
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Orange Beach Alabama. But after you have selected the kind of degree you want to work toward, just how do you tackle selecting a college that will offer the proper training to help you realize your career objectives? Naturally the institution you choose must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will no doubt start by searching for schools that are near your home and comparing the cost for each college. But there are additional points that you should evaluate prior to making your ultimate choice. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the school are important factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online training program will also be a part of your search process. We will deal with these and other criteria that you might wish to utilize in your vetting process when selecting the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors offered along with the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Orange Beach AL
As with many other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly required for many positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Orange Beach AL. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Generally a two year degree, it provides an introduction to such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judiciary system. More and more police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education makes available more opportunities for such positions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a particular facet of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities afforded with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. Finally, for those interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available as well. Generally taking anywhere from four to seven years to finish, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Naturally the time requirements for obtaining any one of the 4 degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specializations to select from when considering which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV shows. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you need to select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Selecting a school and program that focuses on that area would obviously be the best decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that situation, it would be best to investigate all of the degree options offered from the numerous colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Orange Beach 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 chosen, investigate the degree program you are interested in as well as the school. 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 respected. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first before choosing a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Online Colleges
Many students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their vicinity, or they might just want the flexibility of earning a degree online. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There a large number of colleges domiciled within the USA that offer degree programs online similar to those offered on-campus. And for a number of Orange Beach AL students, especially those who continue to work part or full-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online schools may make them the sole option. And as an additional advantage, online schools are frequently more affordable than on campus alternatives. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just verify, as with any school you are considering, that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can learn in this kind of independent setting, then earning your degree online may be the ideal alternative for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
By now you have undoubtedly 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 Orange Beach AL area colleges and narrowing down your options. Considering that there are so many schools to pick from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when reviewing colleges. Obviously cost is a significant consideration and you will need to enroll in a school that is within your academic budget. And we have already addressed a few others also, including accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those issues and more, following is a list of questions you may wish to ask the schools you are thinking about prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have acquired one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. Among the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools 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 make sure that the degree program and school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it will also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of Orange Beach AL employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As previously stated, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you attend is significant as well. It’s especially crucial if you are getting in the field with no relevant previous work history. Without any prior experience, Orange Beach AL employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can find school rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other variables contributing to the academic programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you may be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Orange Beach AL colleges you are considering. A low 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 land 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 substantiate that the college has a good reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a large network of contacts to assist students secure positions upon graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we touched on at the opening of this article, one of the first things you will most likely consider when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or possibly board on campus, the college you pick will have to be within commuting distance of your Orange Beach AL residence. Of course attending online classes will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to go to a college outside of your resident state, you could be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community and junior colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classes? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, attending small classes offers the option for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes provide little chance of receiving individualized instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a couple of classes prior to making your final 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 profession.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s important to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Orange Beach AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Orange Beach AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Orange Beach AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Orange Beach area where your school campus will be located.
Orange Beach, Alabama
Orange Beach is located along the Gulf of Mexico, and is the easternmost community on Alabama's Gulf Coast, with Florida's Perdido Key bordering it to the east. The city of Gulf Shores is to the west.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41.3 km2), of which 14.7 square miles (38.1 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.2 km2), or 7.83%, is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,441 people, 2,492 households, and 1,544 families residing in the city. The population density was 370 per square mile (140/km2). There were 11,726 housing units at an average density of 737.5 per square mile (284.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.3% White, 0.6% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 1.4% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. 2.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Orange Beach AL
Making certain that you choose the right criminal justice college near Orange Beach AL is vital to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers value which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Achieving the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career starts with picking the ideal criminal justice college predicated upon your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you select both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Also, make sure 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 Best Colleges For Criminal Justice. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are considering so that you can narrow down your choices and make the right choice. And when you have made the best decision, you will get the proper training so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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