How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice College near Columbia Alabama
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Columbia Alabama. But once you have decided on the kind of degree you would like to pursue, just how do you undertake picking a school that will provide the proper training to help you realize your career goals? Of course the institution you pick must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will no doubt begin by looking for colleges that are nearby your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are additional considerations that you need to evaluate prior to making your ultimate decision. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are critical factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online training program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will address these and other criteria that you might wish to include in your vetting process when deciding on the best criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees available as well as the benefits of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Columbia AL
As with many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently needed for various positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the job opportunities available in Columbia AL. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a two year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. An increasing number of police departments are seeking candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree typically addresses the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education makes available additional options for such positions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional two years of classes in addition to earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become specialists in a particular facet of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And finally, for those with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available also. Usually taking anywhere from four to seven years to complete, 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 many specializations to pick from when deciding which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after watching countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV programs. Or maybe you have always wanted to be a law enforcement 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 ready and qualify you for that position. Choosing a school and program that focuses on that area would certainly be the best decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that case, it would be best to explore all of the degree options offered from the numerous universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Columbia 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, investigate the degree program you are interested in along with the college. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has an excellent reputation as a whole does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is very important to decide on a major first prior to picking a college to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Classes Online
Some students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their region, or they may just want the independence of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There are numerous schools located within the United States that provide degree programs online much like those offered on-campus. And for many Columbia AL students, especially those who continue to work full or part-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online programs in many cases make them the only option. And as an additional advantage, online colleges are frequently lower in cost than traditional options. Tuition can be cheaper and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make certain, as with any college you are looking at, that the program you select is accredited by an approved agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can learn in this type of independent environment, then obtaining your degree online may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
By now you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you want to earn your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin searching for Columbia AL area colleges and narrowing down your options. Considering that there are numerous colleges to choose from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s essential to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when evaluating schools. Clearly cost is an important factor and you will need to pick a program that fits within your scholastic budget. And we have already discussed a few others as well, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? Numerous criminal justice colleges have received one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. One of 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 course of instruction and teachers. It’s essential to make sure that the degree program and school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it will also assist in qualifying for student loans or financial aid, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Columbia AL employers have a preference for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As previously stated, along with accreditation the reputation of the school you choose is significant as well. It’s especially critical if you are entering the profession with no relevant prior work history. With no previous experience, Columbia AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can find college rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other aspects contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you may be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Columbia AL schools you are looking at. A lower rate might be an indication that students were unhappy 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 colleges have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you land that first crucial job after graduation that marks the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help affirm that the college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a considerable network of employers to help students obtain positions upon graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we touched on at the opening of this article, among the initial things you will probably consider when searching for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or perhaps live on campus, the school you pick will need to be within commuting distance of your Columbia AL home. Naturally attending online classes will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to go to a school outside of your resident state, you might be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the state or school district.
How Big are the Classes? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes offers the option for more interaction with the teachers. Larger classes allow for little chance of receiving personalized instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to monitor a couple of classes prior to making your ultimate decision. Talk to several 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 experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s crucial to make sure that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Columbia AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Columbia AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Columbia AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Columbia area where your school campus will be located.
At the age of 18 Columbia was hired to assist Bill Sienkiewicz in illustrating Alan Moore's ambitious Big Numbers series. When Sienkiewicz withdrew from the series in 1990 after the release of the first two issues, Moore and his backers at Tundra Publishing asked the young Columbia to become its sole artist. In 1992, with no more issues released, Columbia himself left the project under a cloud of rumors and accusations, including claims that he had destroyed his own artwork for Big Numbers #4. Columbia declined to address the subject publicly for several years, writing in a 1998 letter to The Comics Journal that "I could easily launch into a tirade about the extensive horror of my Tundra experience, but I much prefer the very entertaining and conflicting accounts already in circulation." In later statements he confirmed that he destroyed his artwork but disputed other claims by the principal figures in the fiasco.
In a 2011 article reflecting on his Big Numbers experience, Sienkiewicz wrote that he and Columbia had long since reconciled over the matter, and that he was content to "[c]halk the feud up to the folly of youth."
Columbia's first solo comic book, Doghead, was released by Tundra Publishing in 1992. It contains three short stories, two in black and white and one in full color. Paul Gravett described it as "three dark, stylish tales, indebted to Sienkiewicz and McKean but with hints of [Columbia's] emerging singular identity".
Find the Right Criminal Justice College near Columbia AL
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice school near Columbia AL is crucial to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. 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 begins with selecting the best criminal justice college based on your career objectives. As we have addressed in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you decide on both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, verify that the college has a job placement program with a high success rate for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Colleges That Offer Criminal Justice. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to analyze and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at in order to narrow down your choices and make the best selection. 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.
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