Selecting the Right Criminal Justice College near Gardendale Alabama
So you have made the decision to attain a criminal justice degree near Gardendale Alabama. But after you have decided on the type of program you want to work toward, just how do you undertake selecting a college that will provide the right training to help you realize your career goals? Naturally the college you pick must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will no doubt start by looking for schools that are nearby your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other issues that you must examine before making your ultimate decision. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are significant factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online degree program will also be a part of your search process. We will deal with these and other qualifications that you may want to utilize in your vetting process when deciding on the ideal criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors offered along with the benefits of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Gardendale AL
As with 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 obtained advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Gardendale AL. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree typically covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates additional options for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can involve 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 specialists in a specific aspect of criminal justice. Along with the options provided with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for those interested in research or teaching at the college level, 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. Of course the time requirements for obtaining any of the four degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are many specialties to choose from when deciding which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying numerous episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation TV programs. Or perhaps you have always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career goal, 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 certainly be the best option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be a good idea to research all of the degree alternatives offered from the various colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Gardendale 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 selected, research the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Just because a criminal justice school is accredited and has a good reputation as a whole does not mean that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first prior to picking a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Online Schools
A number of students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their region, or they might just prefer the independence of earning a degree online. In either case, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There a large number of colleges domiciled within the USA that offer degree programs online similar to the ones offered on campus. And for many Gardendale 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 only option. And as an added advantage, online schools are often lower in cost than on-campus alternatives. Tuition may be cheaper and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure, as with any college you are looking at, that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can study in this kind of independent setting, then earning your degree online may be the ideal alternative for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you intend to obtain your degree online or by attending classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin searching for Gardendale AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Considering that there are so many colleges to select from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when analyzing colleges. Obviously cost is an important consideration and you will need to enroll in a college that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already discussed a few others also, including reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you may wish to ask the colleges you are thinking about before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have received one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. 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 an extensive screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to confirm that the program and school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a top notch education, it will also aid in securing student loans or financial aid, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Gardendale AL employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As previously mentioned, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you select is significant also. It’s particularly critical if you are getting in the profession with no relevant previous employment history. With no prior experience, Gardendale AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can get school rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other aspects contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Gardendale AL colleges you are reviewing. A low rate might 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 important that the schools have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the start 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 in obtaining jobs after graduation.
Where are the Campuses Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the initial 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 move or possibly board on campus, the school you select will have to be within commuting distance of your Gardendale AL residence. Of course attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to go to a school 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 tend to charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the instructors. Larger classes allow for little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One means to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a couple of classes prior to making your ultimate determination. 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 might also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it’s crucial to verify that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gardendale AL, make sure 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 find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Gardendale AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Gardendale AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Gardendale area where your school campus will be located.
A large farm settlement near the area today known as Gardendale was settled around 1825. Some years later, other settlers began to move into the community commonly known as Jugtown, a name given to the area based on the presence of a large jug and churn factory that operated in the area. Some years later, Hettie Thomason Cargo, a school teacher, would lead a campaign to change the name of the community. In 1906, the name Gardendale was selected, and in 1955, the City of Gardendale was officially incorporated. Today, with more than 13,000 residents (estimated), the city of Gardendale has grown to include more than 400 businesses, 4 schools, and 24 churches.
In 1996, the Olympic torch run passed through the city during the weeks leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before Interstate 65 was constructed, the main route between Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama was U.S. Route 31. Prior to being built as a four-lane road, U.S. 31 was a twisting two-lane road that is still largely visible today. From the north end of Gardendale, it is now Snow Rogers Road, North Road, Moncrief Road, and then Main Street southward through the city to the Fultondale city limit where it becomes Stouts Road. In the fall of 2008, new signs were placed along the original route of Stouts Road through Gardendale denoting its historical significance as a stagecoach route between Tennessee and Birmingham during the 19th century. The first traffic signals in the city were located along U.S. 31 at Tarrant Road, Fieldstown Road, and Moncrief Road as well as Tarrant Road at Pineywood Road. A new signal at the intersection of Fieldstown Road and Main Street near city hall replaced a blinking signal shortly thereafter. Fieldstown Road was a narrow two lane road from U.S. 31 westward until Interstate 65 was built and then Fieldstown Road was re-routed onto the new road in the mid-1980s. An abundance of traffic signals have been erected in the city since those early days. In approximately 1970, the city installed street lights along U.S. 31 from the Fultondale city limits northward to the Moncrief Road intersection. The technology at that time was for blue vapor lights. Today, nearly 40 years later those same blue vapor lights still exist with some being replaced with the more modern bulbs near major intersections. Since 1980, Gardendale has annexed considerable amounts of land on the north, east, and west sides. Much of the eastern area is uninhabited. The western annexation is centered along Fieldstown Road. Most of the newest residential development has been in this area and along Shady Grove Road south of Fieldstown Road. The northern annexation has centered along US 31 and extends nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) farther north than 1980. The city has a working historical society, established January 23, 2006, that is working to record the history of the Gardendale area. They have a museum that is open to the public on Saturday mornings each week. It contains a variety of photographs, documents, and other historical memorabilia from Gardendale.
Gardendale is located at 33°39′36″N 86°48′46″W / 33.66000°N 86.81278°W / 33.66000; -86.81278 (33.6601033, -86.8127702). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), all land. However, with the recent annexation of several thousand acres from the community of Mt. Olive and other unincorporated areas, the city now has an estimated total area of around 25.0 square miles (65 km2). Gardendale is situated along one of the three major transportation corridors from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast (I-75, I-65, I-55). A tremendous volume of freight (via rail and truck) passes through or near Gardendale.
Find the Best Criminal Justice Degree Program near Gardendale AL
Making certain that you choose the right criminal justice college near Gardendale AL is vital to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers respect which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Attaining the greatest possible success in your criminal justice career starts with selecting the best criminal justice school based on your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Also, verify that the school has a job assistance program with a high success rate for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Degree Classes. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are considering in order to narrow down your options and make the right selection. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will receive the appropriate education so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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