How to Select the Right Criminal Justice College near Dothan Alabama
So you have decided to earn a criminal justice degree near Dothan Alabama. But once you have decided on the kind of degree you want to pursue, just how do you tackle choosing a college that will offer the proper training to help you realize 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 colleges that are close to your home and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other points that you must investigate before making your final 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 degree program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will deal with these and other criteria that you might wish to include in your vetting process when choosing the best criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees offered along with the benefits of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Dothan AL
Just like with many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly required for various positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the employment opportunities available in Dothan AL. There are four degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a two year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judiciary system. An increasing number of police departments are seeking applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree typically addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education creates additional opportunities for such professions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional 2 years of classes in addition to earning 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 may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for individuals with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree 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 earning any of the 4 degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specialties to pick from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after watching countless episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation TV programs. Or perhaps you have always wanted to be a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you must pick a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Enrolling in a school and program that specializes in that specialty would naturally be the best decision toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be a good idea to research all of the degree alternatives available from the numerous colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Dothan 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 selected, research the degree program you have an interest in as well as the school. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation in general does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are equally highly respected. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Schools Online
Some prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their region, or they may just prefer the convenience of earning a degree online. In either case, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There a large number of schools located within the USA that provide online degree programs similar to the ones offered on campus. And for many Dothan AL students, especially those who continue to work full or part-time while earning their degree, the convenience and accessibility of online schools may make them the sole option. And as an added advantage, online schools are often more affordable than on-campus options. Tuition may be lower and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make sure, just like for any college you are reviewing, that the program you enroll in is accredited by an approved agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can learn in this kind of unsupervised environment, then earning your degree online might be the right option for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
At this point you have undoubtedly 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 going to classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin searching for Dothan AL area colleges and fine tuning your options. Since there are so many schools to pick from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when evaluating schools. Certainly cost is an important factor and you will need to choose a college that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already mentioned several others as well, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you might wish to ask the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? Numerous criminal justice schools have earned one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. 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 a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative to verify that the degree program and college you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it will also help in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Dothan AL employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Program’s Reputation? As previously mentioned, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you choose is important also. It’s particularly crucial if you are getting in the field with no relevant prior work history. Without any previous experience, Dothan AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can find school rankings and reviews, such as U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other aspects contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation may still be well regarded for a specific degree program that you might have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Dothan AL colleges you are looking at. A low rate may be an indicator 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 imperative that the schools have job placement programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you get 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 college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a considerable network of employers to assist students secure positions after graduation.
How Far Away are the Schools Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the first things you will most likely look at when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will relocate or possibly live on campus, the school you select will have to be within driving distance of your Dothan AL home. Of course attending classes online will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you opt to attend a college outside of your state of residence, you may 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 their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, going to smaller classes offers the option for more interaction with the instructors. Bigger classes allow for little chance of getting personalized instruction if needed. One means to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a few classes prior to making your ultimate decision. Speak with some of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You might also want to inquire as to 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 ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dothan AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Dothan AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Dothan AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Dothan area where your school campus will be located.
Dothan /ˈdoʊθən/ is a city in Dale, Henry, and Houston counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is the largest city and county seat of Houston County, with a population of 65,496 at the 2010 census. It is in the state's southeastern corner, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of the Georgia state line and 16 miles (26 km) north of Florida. It is named after the biblical city, the place where Joseph's brothers threw him into a cistern and sold him into slavery in Egypt.
Dothan is the principal city of the Dothan, Alabama metropolitan area, which encompasses all of Geneva, Henry, and Houston counties; the small portion in Dale County is part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area. The combined population of the entire Dothan metropolitan area in 2010 was 145,639. The city serves as the main transportation and commercial hub for a significant part of southeastern Alabama, southwest Georgia, and nearby portions of the Florida Panhandle. Since approximately one-fourth of the U.S. peanut crop is produced nearby, much of it processed in the city, Dothan is sometimes called "The Peanut Capital of the World". It also hosts the annual National Peanut Festival at the dedicated "Peanut Festival Fairgrounds".
The area that is now Dothan was inhabited for thousands of years by successive cultures of indigenous peoples. In historic times it was occupied by the Alabama and Creek Native American tribes who were hunters and gatherers in the vast forests of pine that covered this region. These tribes had developed complex cultures, and often used to meet and camp for trading near a large spring at the crossroads of two trails.
Select the Ideal Criminal Justice College near Dothan AL
Making certain that you choose the right criminal justice college near Dothan AL is vital to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers value which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Attaining the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career begins with selecting the best criminal justice school predicated upon your career objectives. As we have addressed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, confirm that the school 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 Doctoral Programs. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are considering in order to narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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