How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Ashford Alabama
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Ashford Alabama. But once you have chosen the type of program you would like to work toward, just how do you undertake selecting a school that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career objectives? Of course the college you choose must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you are interested in. And you will undoubtedly start by searching for schools that are close to your home and comparing the cost for each school. But there are additional points that you need to evaluate before making your final selection. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the school are critical factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online training program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will cover these and other qualifications that you may wish to utilize in your vetting process when picking the ideal criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees offered along with the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Ashford AL
As with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly required for many careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the employment opportunities available in Ashford AL. There are four degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a two year degree, it offers an overview of such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial court system. An increasing number of police departments are seeking applicants 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 additional opportunities for such positions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional 2 years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become experts in a specific aspect of criminal justice. Along with the options offered with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for those interested in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available also. Typically taking anywhere from four to seven years to finish, 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 depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specializations to select from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after watching countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation shows. Or perhaps you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career goal, you must select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Enrolling in a school and program that focuses on that specialty would naturally be the best decision toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that scenario, it would be advisable to explore all of the degree alternatives available from the numerous colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Ashford AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the school you have chosen, investigate the degree program you are interested in along with the college. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has an outstanding reputation as a whole does not mean that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is very important to decide on a major first prior to choosing a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs
Some prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their vicinity, or they may just want the flexibility of earning a degree online. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There are numerous colleges located within the United States that offer online degree programs similar to those offered on-campus. And for a number of Ashford AL students, particularly those who continue to work full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online programs may make them the only option. And as an additional advantage, online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Tuition can be lower and costs for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make sure, just like for any college you are reviewing, that the program you select is accredited by an approved organization, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can study in this type of independent setting, then obtaining your degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you intend to earn your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin searching for Ashford AL area colleges and narrowing down your options. Considering that there are a large number of schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when evaluating colleges. Clearly cost is a significant factor and you will need to enroll in a program that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already addressed several others as well, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you focus on those issues and more, following is a list of questions you might want to ask the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? Numerous criminal justice schools have received one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. Among the most highly regarded 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 important to confirm that the degree program and school you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it will also aid in acquiring student loans or financial aid, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Ashford AL employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As mentioned previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is important also. It’s particularly critical if you are getting in the field with no relevant prior work history. Without any previous experience, Ashford AL employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can obtain college rankings and reviews, such as U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other aspects contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Ashford AL colleges you are considering. A low percentage may be a sign that students were unhappy 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 assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help substantiate that the college has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a large network of contacts to help students in obtaining jobs after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we touched on at the beginning 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 move or possibly board on campus, the school you enroll in will need to be within driving distance of your Ashford AL home. Of course attending online classes will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you opt to attend 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 colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Big are the Classes? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, going to small classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the instructors. Large classes afford little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a couple of classes prior to making your final determination. Speak with several of the students and ask what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You might 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 verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ashford AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Ashford AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Ashford AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Ashford area where your school campus will be located.
Ashford is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town was incorporated in June 1891. For most of its history, it was a center for naval stores production, pulpwood harvesting, and cotton agriculture. The population was 2,148 at the 2010 census, up from 1,853 at the 2000 census.
Ashford is located slightly northeast of the center of Houston County at 31°11′3″N 85°14′7″W / 31.18417°N 85.23528°W / 31.18417; -85.23528 (31.184032, -85.235286).U.S. Route 84 passes through the southern part of the town, leading west 9 miles (14 km) to Dothan and southeast 24 miles (39 km) to Donalsonville, Georgia. The Chattahoochee River, which forms the Georgia state line, is 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Ashford on US 84.
Ashford's former mayor is Jonathon Grecu, he resigned from office on December 31, 2017. On January 8, 2018 Carole Barfield took office. As of October 2018, the current mayor is Carole Barfield, and City Council members are Gary Gibson, Ronnie Whitehead, Alan Anderson, James Smith, and Denise Herndon. The recreation director for the City of Ashford is Louis Edmondson. The City Clerk is currently open for employment.
Choose the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Ashford AL
Making certain that you select the ideal criminal justice program near Ashford AL is crucial to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers value which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Attaining the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the optimal criminal justice college predicated upon your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you select 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 Master Degrees. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are looking at so that you can narrow down your options and make the best selection. And when you have made the best decision, you will receive the proper education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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