Choosing the Right Criminal Justice College near Cullman Alabama
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Cullman Alabama. But after you have decided on the type of degree you would like to work toward, just how do you go about choosing a college that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the school you choose must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will undoubtedly begin by looking for schools that are nearby your home and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are other considerations that you must investigate prior to making your ultimate selection. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the school are significant factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online degree program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will discuss these and other criteria that you might wish to include in your vetting process when deciding on the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees available as well as the benefits of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Cullman AL
Similar to most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently required for many careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the job opportunities available in Cullman AL. There are 4 degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a two year degree, it provides an introduction to such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judiciary system. More and more police departments are looking for candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education makes available additional options for such professions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. 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 experts in a particular aspect of criminal justice. Along with the options provided with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. Finally, for individuals interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered also. Typically taking anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for obtaining any one of the four degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are many specializations to choose from when deciding which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after viewing numerous episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation shows. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you must choose a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Selecting a program and a school that specializes in that specialty would naturally be the ideal decision toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that situation, it would be a good idea to explore all of the degree alternatives available from the various colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Cullman 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 decided on, 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 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 before choosing a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Classes Online
Many students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their vicinity, or they might just want the flexibility of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous colleges domiciled within the USA that provide degree programs online much like those offered on campus. And for many Cullman AL students, especially those who continue to work part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online colleges may make them the sole option. And as an additional advantage, online colleges are often lower in cost than on-campus alternatives. Tuition may be lower and expenditures for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain, just like for any college you are looking at, that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can learn in this type of unsupervised setting, then obtaining your degree online might be the best alternative for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice 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 earn your degree online or by attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start looking for Cullman AL area colleges and narrowing down your options. Since there are so many colleges to select from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when evaluating schools. Obviously cost is an important factor and you will need to enroll in a program that fits within your scholastic budget. And we have already discussed a few others as well, including reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those issues and more, following is a list of questions you might want to ask the schools you are considering prior to 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 agencies. One of the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone a rigorous screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s important to make sure that the degree program and school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. Along with helping assure that you receive a quality education, it will also help in acquiring student loans or financial aid, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Cullman AL employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the College? As stated previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the school you enroll in is significant also. It’s especially crucial if you are entering the profession with no relevant previous work history. Without any previous experience, Cullman AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can obtain school reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other elements contributing to the educational programs. Keep in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you might have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Cullman AL colleges you are looking at. A low percentage might be an indicator that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the curriculum. It’s also imperative that the schools have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help validate that the college has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a large network of contacts to help students secure positions upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Campuses Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the first things you will probably look at 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 pick will need to be within commuting distance of your Cullman AL home. Certainly attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you opt to attend a school not in your resident state, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, attending small classes offers the option for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes allow for little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a couple of classes prior to making your ultimate determination. Talk to several of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Cullman AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Cullman AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Cullman AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Cullman area where your school campus will be located.
Cullman is a city in and the county seat of Cullman County, Alabama, United States. It is located along Interstate 65, about 50 miles (80 km) north of Birmingham and about 55 miles (89 km) south of Huntsville. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 14,775, with an estimated population of 15,385 in 2017.
In the time before European settlement, the area that today includes Cullman was originally in the territory of the Cherokee Nation. The region was traversed by a trail known as the Black Warrior's Path, which led from the Tennessee River near the present location of Florence, Alabama, to a point on the Black Warrior River south of Cullman. This trail figured significantly in Cherokee history, and it featured prominently in the American Indian Wars prior to the establishment of the state of Alabama and the relocation of several American Indian tribes, including the Creek people westward along the Trail of Tears. During the Creek War in 1813, General Andrew Jackson of the U.S. Army dispatched a contingent of troops down the trail, one of which included the frontiersman Davy Crockett.
In the 1820s and the 1830s, two toll roads were built linking the Tennessee Valley to present-day Birmingham. In 1822, Abraham Stout was given a charter by the Alabama Legislature to open and turnpike a road beginning from Gandy's Cove in Morgan County to the ghost town of Baltimore on the Mulberry Fork near Colony. The road passed near present-day Vinemont through Cullman, Good Hope, and down the current Interstate 65 corridor to the Mulberry Fork. The road was later extended to Elyton (Birmingham) in 1827. It then became known as Stout's Road. Mace Thomas Payne Brindley was given a charter in 1833 to turnpike two roads, one running between Blount Springs to Somerville by way of his homestead in present-day Simcoe, and the second road passing west of Hanceville and east of Downtown Cullman to join Stout's Road north of the city. What later became the Brindley Turnpike became an extension of Stout's Road to Decatur. Cullman later became located between the juncture of the two roads, and they predated the corridor of U.S. Route 31.
Enroll in the Ideal Criminal Justice Degree Program near Cullman AL
Making sure that you pick the right criminal justice college near Cullman AL is crucial to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers care which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Achieving the greatest possible success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the optimal criminal justice college based on your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s essential that the college and degree program you pick both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Also, make certain 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 Degree Requirements. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are looking at in order to narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the right decision, you will receive the appropriate education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
Check Out More Law Abiding Locations in Alabama