How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Anniston Alabama
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Anniston Alabama. But after you have chosen the type of degree you want to pursue, just how do you undertake choosing a college that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Of course the college you select must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will undoubtedly start by looking for schools that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each school. But there are other points that you need to examine prior to making your final decision. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the school are important factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes in front of your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online degree program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will address these and other qualifications that you might want to utilize in your vetting process when selecting the ideal criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors available along with the benefits of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Anniston AL
Similar to most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly required for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Anniston AL. There are four degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judiciary system. More and more police departments are seeking candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree usually includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates additional opportunities for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional 2 years of classes after earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become experts in a specific aspect of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities provided with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for students interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered also. Typically 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 of the four degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are numerous specializations to select from when considering which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after viewing numerous 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. No matter what your career objective, you must select a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Choosing a program and a school that focuses on that area would certainly be the best option toward that end. Possibly you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree options available from the numerous universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Anniston 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 chosen, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has a good reputation as a whole does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is essential to choose a major first prior to choosing a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Schools Online
A number of prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their area, or they may just prefer the flexibility of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There many schools domiciled within the United States that provide degree programs online much like the ones offered on campus. And for many Anniston AL students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online schools may make them the only option. And as an additional advantage, online schools are frequently lower in cost than on campus alternatives. Tuition may be cheaper and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make certain, as with any college you are considering, that the program you enroll in is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can learn in this type of unsupervised environment, then obtaining your degree online might be the best option for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
By now you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you want to obtain your degree online or by attending classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin searching for Anniston AL area schools and narrowing down your options. Since there are a large number of colleges to select from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when assessing schools. Clearly cost is a significant consideration and you will need to select a college that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already pointed out several others also, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you focus on those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you might wish to ask the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? Numerous criminal justice colleges have earned one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. One of the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s essential to verify that the degree program and school 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 receive a top notch education, it will also aid in securing student loans or financial aid, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Anniston AL employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the College? As mentioned previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you choose is important also. It’s particularly crucial if you are going into the field with no relevant prior job history. Without any prior experience, Anniston AL employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can obtain college reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be highly respected for a particular degree program that you may be interested in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Anniston AL schools you are reviewing. A lower rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the curriculum. 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 crucial job after graduation that marks the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help confirm that the college has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a considerable network of employers to assist students secure jobs upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we mentioned at the opening of this article, one of the first things you will most likely consider when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or possibly board on campus, the school you choose will need to be within driving distance of your Anniston AL home. Naturally attending online classes will eliminate the need for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you opt 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. Junior and community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, going to smaller classes offers the option for more interaction with the teachers. Large classes allow for little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a few classes before making your ultimate decision. Speak with some of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, talk to the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You might also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s crucial to verify that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anniston AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Anniston AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Anniston AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Anniston area where your school campus will be located.
Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County in Alabama and is one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
In 1872, the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, and started a planned community named Woodstock, soon renamed "Annie's Town" for Annie Scott Tyler, Daniel's daughter and wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.
Enroll in the Best Criminal Justice Degree Program near Anniston AL
Making sure that you select the ideal criminal justice program near Anniston AL is vital to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers value which college 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 starts with choosing the best criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have covered in this article, it’s important that the college and degree program you pick both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Additionally, verify 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 Introduction To Criminal Justice. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to analyze and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at so that you can narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the best decision, you will receive the appropriate education so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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