How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Alexander City Alabama
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Alexander City Alabama. But once you have selected the kind of program you would like to pursue, just how do you go about picking a school that will provide the right training to help you achieve your career goals? Naturally the college you choose must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will no doubt start by looking for colleges that are close to your residence and comparing the cost for each school. But there are other factors that you need to investigate prior to making your ultimate decision. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the school are critical factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online training program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will cover these and other criteria that you may wish to utilize in your vetting process when deciding on the ideal criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors available along with the benefits of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Alexander City AL
Similar to most 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 earned advances, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Alexander City AL. There are four degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial court system. A growing number of police departments are looking for applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree typically includes the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more comprehensive education creates additional 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 in addition to earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become specialists in a specific area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities provided with the lesser degrees, graduates can 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 available as well. Typically requiring anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for attaining any of the 4 degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are numerous specialties to pick from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after enjoying numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation shows. Or quite possibly you have always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to pick a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Selecting a school and program that focuses on that specialty would clearly be the ideal decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that situation, it would be advisable to explore all of the degree options available from the numerous colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Alexander City 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, research the degree program you have an interest in along with the college. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has an outstanding reputation as a whole does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is essential to choose a major first prior to picking a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Colleges
Many students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their region, or they may just want the independence of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There are numerous colleges domiciled within the USA that offer degree programs online much like those offered on-campus. And for many Alexander City AL students, particularly those who continue to work full or part-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges may make them the sole option. And as an added advantage, online colleges are frequently more affordable than on campus alternatives. Tuition can be cheaper and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just verify, just like for any school you are considering, 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 motivated, and can learn in this kind of unsupervised setting, then obtaining your degree online might be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
At this point you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you want to earn your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin looking for Alexander City AL area colleges and fine tuning your options. Considering that there are numerous colleges to pick from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when assessing colleges. Obviously cost is an important factor and you will need to choose a school that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already pointed out several others as well, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you focus on those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you may wish to ask the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have earned one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. Among the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative to confirm that the degree program and school you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it will also help in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Alexander City AL employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Program’s Reputation? As stated previously, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you enroll in is important as well. It’s especially crucial if you are entering the profession with no relevant previous job history. With no prior experience, Alexander City AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can find college reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the academic programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be highly regarded for a specific degree program that you might be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Alexander City AL colleges you are reviewing. A lower rate might be a sign that students were disappointed with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the curriculum. It’s also imperative that the schools have job placement 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 high placement rate will not only help confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a sizable network of contacts to assist students in obtaining jobs after graduation.
How Far Away are the Schools Located? As we touched on at the beginning of this article, among the first 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 perhaps board on campus, the college you select will need to be within driving distance of your Alexander City AL home. Certainly attending classes online will remove the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to go to a school outside of your state of residence, you could be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community and junior colleges also often charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes provides the option for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes provide little chance of receiving individualized instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to audit a couple of classes prior to making your final decision. Speak with several of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You may also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it’s crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Alexander City AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Alexander City AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Alexander City AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Alexander City area where your school campus will be located.
Alexander City, Alabama
Alexander City, known to locals as "Alex City", is a city in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, United States, with a population of some 14,875. It is known for Lake Martin with its 750 miles (1,210 km) of wooded shoreline and 44,000 acres (18,000 ha) of water. Lake Martin stands on the Tallapoosa River and offers boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, and camping. Many neighborhoods and luxury homes are located on the lake.
Alexander City was incorporated in 1872 as Youngsville, after its founder James Young. In 1873, the Savannah and Memphis Railroad came to the city. The city was renamed in honor of the railroad's President Edward Porter Alexander, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg for the Confederate States.
On June 13, 1902, at 1 pm, a fire broke out in the Alexander City Machine shop and destroyed much of the town. At the time, Alexander City did not have a water system and all buildings, including the telegraph office, post office and three banks were burned.
Choose the Ideal Criminal Justice Degree Program near Alexander City AL
Making certain that you pick the ideal criminal justice college near Alexander City AL is vital 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 in your best interest to care as well. Achieving the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career starts with selecting the best criminal justice college based on your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important that the college and degree program you pick both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, make sure that the school has a job placement program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Best Colleges For Criminal Justice. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will be able to analyze and compare the criminal justice schools you are looking at 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 begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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