How to Select the Right Criminal Justice School near Northport Alabama
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Northport Alabama. But after you have chosen the kind of degree you would like to pursue, just how do you undertake picking a college that will provide the proper training to help you realize your career goals? Naturally the college you choose must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will undoubtedly start by searching for schools that are near your home and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other considerations that you should evaluate before making your ultimate choice. For example, the accreditation and reputation 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 reputable online training program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will deal with these and other criteria that you might want to include in your vetting process when selecting the right criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors available as well as the advantages of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Northport AL
As with most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly required for various careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Northport AL. There are 4 degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Generally a two year degree, it provides an introduction to such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial system. A growing number of police departments are looking for candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree normally covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates additional opportunities for such positions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing 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 allows students to become experts in a particular facet of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities offered with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for students interested in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available as well. Usually taking anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for obtaining any of the four degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are numerous specializations to pick from when determining which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after enjoying countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation shows. Or maybe you have always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career goal, you need to select a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a program and a school that focuses on that area would obviously be the best option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that case, it would be best to research all of the degree alternatives offered from the various universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Northport 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 decided on, research the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has a good reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is essential to choose a major first prior to picking a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs
Some prospective students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their area, or they may just prefer the convenience of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of colleges located within the United States that provide online degree programs much like the ones offered on campus. And for a number of Northport AL students, especially those who continue to work part or full-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online schools may make them the sole option. And as an added advantage, online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition may be cheaper and costs for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just verify, just like for any school you are considering, that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can learn in this type of independent setting, then earning your degree online might be the ideal alternative for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
By now 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 attending classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin looking for Northport AL area colleges and fine tuning your options. Since there are a large number of schools to select from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when analyzing colleges. Certainly cost is an important consideration and you will need to select a school that fits within your academic budget. And we have already discussed several others as well, including accreditation, reputation and location. To help you focus on those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you may want to ask the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? Numerous criminal justice colleges have acquired 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 teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to make sure that the program and school you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. In addition to helping assure that you receive an excellent education, it will also assist in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Northport AL employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As previously mentioned, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is significant as well. It’s especially crucial if you are entering the field with no relevant previous work history. Without any prior experience, Northport AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can obtain school reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other aspects contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation may still be well respected for a specific degree program that you may be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Northport AL schools you are considering. A low rate may be a sign that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not capable 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 land that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it also has a substantial network of contacts to assist students obtain jobs after graduation.
How Far Away are the Schools Located? As we mentioned at the opening of this article, one of the first things you will probably look at when looking for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or possibly live on campus, the school you pick will have to be within commuting distance of your Northport AL home. Certainly attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to go to a college outside of your state of residence, you could be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, going to small classes offers the option for more interaction with the teachers. Larger classes afford little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One way to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a couple of classes before making your final decision. Speak with some of the students and ask what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and ask them what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s critical to verify that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Northport AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Northport AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Northport AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Northport area where your school campus will be located.
Northport is a city in Tuscaloosa County in the west central part of the State of Alabama. Located on the Black Warrior River across from downtown Tuscaloosa, it is currently the 21st largest city in Alabama with an estimated population of 24,497 in 2013. It incorporated in 1871. It is part of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As Northport is adjacent to the larger city of Tuscaloosa, many residents work in Tuscaloosa or other parts of Tuscaloosa County. Although the two cities share a land boundary, much of their boundary (and historically all of the boundary) is the Black Warrior River.
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,435 people, 7,844 households, and 5,255 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,328.3 people per square mile (512.9/km²). There were 8,509 housing units at an average density of 581.6 per square mile (224.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.11% White, 26.03% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.02% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 1.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Select the Best Criminal Justice School near Northport AL
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice school near Northport AL is vital to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers value which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Achieving the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career starts with selecting the best criminal justice school predicated upon your career goals. As we have addressed in this article, it’s important that the college and degree program you decide on both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, verify that the college has a job assistance program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Degrees. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to assess and compare the criminal justice colleges you are reviewing in order to narrow down your choices and make the best selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will receive the proper training so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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