How to Select the Right Criminal Justice College near Fairhope Alabama
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Fairhope Alabama. But once you have selected the kind of program you would like to pursue, just how do you undertake choosing a college that will offer the proper training to help you realize your career goals? Of course the college you pick must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will probably begin by searching for schools that are nearby your home and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other issues that you should evaluate prior to making your final choice. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are important factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then locating a reputable online degree program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will cover these and other qualifications that you might want to include in your vetting process when choosing the ideal criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees offered along with the benefits of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Fairhope AL
As with many other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly required for various careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Fairhope AL. There are four degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a two year degree, it offers an introduction to such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. A growing number of police departments are seeking applicants with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually addresses the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates additional options for such positions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional 2 years of classes after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become experts in a particular area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. Finally, for individuals interested in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered as well. Generally requiring anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for obtaining any of the four degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specializations to pick from when determining which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after watching 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 goal, you need to pick a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a program and a school that focuses on that specialty would clearly be the best decision 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 a good idea to investigate 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 Fairhope AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the college you have selected, research the degree program you are interested in as well as the school. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation as a whole does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are equally highly respected. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Classes Online
Many 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. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous schools domiciled within the USA that offer degree programs online similar to the ones offered on campus. And for a number of Fairhope AL students, particularly those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the convenience and accessibility of online programs in many cases make them the sole option. And as an added advantage, online schools are frequently lower in cost than traditional options. Tuition can be lower and costs for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, as with any college 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 kind of unsupervised setting, then earning your degree online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, 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 searching for Fairhope AL area schools and fine tuning your options. Since there are a large number of colleges to pick from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when evaluating colleges. Clearly cost is an important factor and you will need to select a school that is within your academic budget. And we have already addressed a few others also, including location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you might wish to ask the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have obtained one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. Among 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 course of instruction and teachers. It’s important to make sure that the degree program and college you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping assure that you obtain an excellent education, it will also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Fairhope AL employers have a preference for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As previously stated, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you select is significant as well. It’s particularly critical if you are entering the field with no relevant prior job history. Without any prior experience, Fairhope AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can find school 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 academic programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation could still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you might have an interest in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Fairhope AL schools you are reviewing. A lower rate may be a sign that students were dissatisfied 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 colleges have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help validate that the college has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a substantial network of contacts to help students obtain positions after graduation.
How Far Away are the Schools Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, among the first things you will probably look at 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 select will have to be within driving distance of your Fairhope AL home. Certainly attending online classes will remove the need for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to go to a college outside of your state of residence, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes offers the opportunity for more interaction with the teachers. Large classes allow for little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One means to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to sit in on a couple of classes before making your final decision. Talk to some of the students and ask what they have experienced. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You might also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it’s critical to make sure that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairhope AL, check that 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 protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Fairhope AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Fairhope AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Fairhope area where your school campus will be located.
Fairhope is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, on a sloping plateau, along the cliffs and shoreline of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 15,326. Fairhope is a principal city of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area, which includes all of Baldwin County. In 2016, Fairhope was named the best small town in the South by Southern Living magazine.
Fairhope was founded in November 1894 on the site of the former Alabama City as a radical Georgist "Single-Tax" colony by the Fairhope Industrial Association, a group of 28 followers of economist Henry George who had incorporated earlier that year in Des Moines, Iowa. Their corporate constitution explained their purpose in founding a new colony:
In forming their demonstration project, they pooled their funds to purchase land at "Stapleton's pasture" on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay and then divided it into a number of long-term leaseholds. The corporation paid all governmental taxes from rents paid by the lessees, thus simulating a single-tax. The purpose of the single-tax colony was to eliminate disincentives for productive use of land and thereby retain the value of land for the community.
Find the Ideal Criminal Justice College near Fairhope AL
Making sure that you pick the ideal criminal justice program near Fairhope AL is vital to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers respect which school 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 begins with selecting the ideal criminal justice college based on your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s essential that the college and degree program you pick both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Also, make certain that the college has a job placement program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Degree Online Accredited. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to assess and compare the criminal justice colleges you are considering in order to narrow down your options and make the right selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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