How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice School near Oxford Alabama
So you have decided to earn a criminal justice degree near Oxford Alabama. But once you have decided on the type of program you would like to work toward, just how do you tackle selecting a school that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the school you pick must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will probably start by searching for schools that are close to your residence and comparing the cost for each school. But there are additional considerations that you should examine before making your final selection. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the college are important 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 reputable online degree program will also be a part of your search process. We will deal with these and other criteria that you may want to include in your vetting process when selecting the best criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors offered along with the benefits of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Oxford AL
Just like with many other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently needed for a number of positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Oxford AL. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting 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 applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree typically includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates additional options for such professions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes after earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become specialists in a particular area of criminal justice. In addition to the options offered with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for those with an interest in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered as well. Usually 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 depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are many specialties to pick from when considering which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after viewing numerous episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation TV shows. Or quite possibly 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 ready and qualify you for that position. Selecting a program and a school that specializes in that specialty would certainly be the best decision toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that case, it would be best to investigate all of the degree options offered from the various universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Oxford AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the school you have chosen, research the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an excellent reputation as a whole does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is extremely important to choose a major first before selecting a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Classes
Many prospective students may not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they might just prefer the independence of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of schools located within the USA that offer degree programs online similar to the ones offered on-campus. And for a number of Oxford AL students, especially those who continue working full or part-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 frequently lower in cost than on-campus options. Tuition may be cheaper and expenditures for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced also. Just make sure, just like for any school you are looking at, that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can study in this kind of independent environment, then earning your degree online might be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
By now you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, 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 begin searching for Oxford AL area schools and fine tuning your options. Since there are a large number of colleges to choose from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing schools. Clearly cost is an important consideration and you will need to enroll in a school that fits within your academic budget. And we have already pointed out several others also, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you might wish to ask the colleges you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? Many criminal justice colleges have obtained one or more accreditations from national or regional 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 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 pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it will also assist in qualifying for student loans or financial aid, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Oxford AL employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As previously stated, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you enroll in is significant also. It’s especially critical if you are entering the field with no relevant prior work history. Without any previous experience, Oxford AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key factor when going over your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can obtain school rankings and reviews, such as U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the teachers and other aspects contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be well respected for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Oxford AL schools you are considering. A lower rate may be a sign that students were unhappy with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the curriculum. It’s also imperative that the colleges have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you land that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the start of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help substantiate that the college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a considerable network of contacts to help students secure jobs after graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the first things you will probably consider when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will relocate or possibly board on campus, the school you choose will need to be within driving distance of your Oxford AL home. Certainly attending online classes will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to attend a college outside of your state of residence, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also often charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, going to smaller classes offers the possibility for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes allow for little chance of receiving individualized instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to sit in on a few classes before making your final decision. Speak with several of the students and find out what they have experienced. 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 Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s important to verify that the final school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Oxford AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Oxford AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Oxford AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Oxford area where your school campus will be located.
Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated, in 1852. The name "Oxford" was due to the presence of a narrow crossing of Chocolocco Creek that allowed farmers to ford cattle from one side of the creek to the other. Since 1970, Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south and west, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970, it was all in Calhoun County, but today it includes areas in Talladega County.
A smaller municipality, Hobson City, was once a part of Oxford. The area, then known as the Mooree Quarter, is one square mile, and is located north and west of Oxford, and south and west of Anniston. In the last years of the 19th century, according to tradition, in the course of political elections, a black man managed to be elected justice of the peace in Oxford. This being unacceptable to the city fathers, they appealed to the powers in the state capital, and an 'arrangement' was made. The city boundaries were redrawn, in similar fashion to a gerrymander, and the quarter was excluded, becoming a town unto itself. The new town became incorporated on August 16, 1899 as Hobson City, taking the name of a naval hero of the Spanish–American War. The intention was that the largely black population of this quarter would no longer skew the elections of the now almost exclusively white Oxford. Another result was the creation of only the second town in the United States (after Eatonville, Florida) with 100% black government, and an almost 100% black population (at least at first).
Pick the Best Criminal Justice School near Oxford AL
Making sure that you choose the ideal criminal justice college near Oxford AL is vital to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers value which school you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Achieving the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the best criminal justice school based on your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Also, confirm that the college has a job placement program with a high success rate for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Bachelor Degree. 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 options and make the best selection. And when you have made the correct decision, you will get the proper training so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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