How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice College near Lafayette Alabama
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Lafayette Alabama. But after you have chosen the kind of program you would like to work toward, just how do you go about picking a school that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Naturally the college you choose must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will no doubt start by looking for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are additional points that you should investigate before making your final decision. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the college are critical factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online training program will also be a part of your search process. We will cover these and other criteria that you might wish to include in your vetting process when picking the right criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees offered along with the benefits of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Lafayette AL
As with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently needed for many positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the job opportunities available in Lafayette AL. There are four degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial system. A growing number of police departments are seeking applicants with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree typically addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates more options for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional 2 years of classes in addition to obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a specific aspect of criminal justice. In addition to the options provided with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. Finally, for those interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is available also. Usually taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for earning any one of the four degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are many specialties to pick from when determining which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after watching countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV shows. Or maybe you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career goal, you need to pick a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a school and program that focuses on that specialty would certainly be the ideal decision toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that case, it would be a good idea to explore all of the degree alternatives offered from the numerous universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Lafayette 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 decided on, investigate the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Just because 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 essential to choose a major first before selecting a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Schools Online
Many 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 domiciled within the USA that provide online degree programs much like the ones offered on-campus. And for a number of Lafayette AL students, particularly those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges in many cases make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, just like for any school you are considering, that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can study in this kind of unsupervised setting, then earning your degree online may be the best alternative for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
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 obtain your degree online or by going to classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start looking for Lafayette AL area colleges and narrowing down your options. Because there are so many colleges to choose from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing schools. Clearly cost is a significant factor and you will need to enroll in a program that fits within your academic budget. And we have already addressed several others as well, including accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those issues and more, following is a list of questions you might want to ask the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Numerous criminal justice schools have earned one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. Among the most highly regarded 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 teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to make sure that the degree program and college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. Along with helping confirm that you obtain a top notch education, it will also help in securing student loans or financial aid, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of Lafayette AL employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the College’s Reputation? As mentioned previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you enroll in is important also. It’s particularly crucial if you are getting in the field with no relevant previous employment history. With no prior experience, Lafayette AL employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can obtain college reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the teachers and other variables contributing to the academic programs. Remember that a school 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 percentages are for the Lafayette AL schools you are reviewing. A low rate might be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also essential that the schools have job placement programs with high placement rates. A job assistance program will help you get that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help affirm that the college has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a substantial network of employers to help students obtain jobs upon graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, one of the first things you will most likely consider when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or possibly live on campus, the school you pick will need to be within commuting distance of your Lafayette AL residence. Certainly attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to attend a school outside of your resident state, you might be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state colleges and universities. 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 option for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes afford little chance of getting personalized instruction if needed. One method to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a couple of classes before making your final decision. Speak with some of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s important to make sure that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lafayette AL, make certain 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 need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Lafayette AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Lafayette AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Lafayette area where your school campus will be located.
LaFayette (/ləˈfeɪ.ɛt, -ˈfaɪ-/ lə-F(A)Y-et, /ˈlʌfeɪ.ɛt/ LUF-ay-et) is the county seat of Chambers County, Alabama, United States, 47 miles (76 km) northwest of Columbus, Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 3,003.
Chambers County was formed in 1832. The newly elected county officials opted to locate the county seat as near as possible to the center of the county. Lots for the new town were auctioned in October 1833, with proceeds from the sale financing the construction of a courthouse and jail. The town was first called "Chambersville", but by the time of incorporation on January 7, 1835, the town name had been changed to "Lafayette", named after the Marquis de Lafayette; its spelling was changed to "LaFayette" due to the influence of newspaper editor Johnson J. Hooper, who created a fictional character called Captain Simon Suggs, a backwoods southerner who pronounced the town's name as "La Fait". The city's newspaper, The LaFayette Sun, was founded under the name The Alabama Standard in April 1841 and adopted its current name on August 3, 1881.
Lafayette is the birthplace of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. An 8-foot (2.4 m) bronze statue, executed by sculptor Casey Downing Jr. of Mobile, Alabama, was erected in Louis' honor in front of the Chambers County courthouse. It is also the hometown of Hoyt L. Sherman, one of artist Roy Lichtenstein's principal art professor/mentors at Ohio State University.
Pick the Right Criminal Justice School near Lafayette AL
Making sure that you pick the right criminal justice school near Lafayette AL is essential to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers value which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Achieving the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the best criminal justice school predicated upon your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Additionally, confirm that the school has a job assistance program with a high success rate for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Associates Degree Criminal Justice. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at in order to narrow down your options and make the right choice. And when you have made the best decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
Check Out More Law Abiding Locations in Alabama