How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice College near Gilbert Arizona
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Gilbert Arizona. But once you have decided on the type of program you want to pursue, just how do you tackle picking a school that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the college you choose must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will probably start by searching for schools that are nearby your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are additional issues that you need to evaluate prior to making your ultimate decision. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the school are critical factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online degree program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will address these and other criteria that you may wish to include in your vetting process when choosing the right criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors offered as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Gilbert AZ
Similar to most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly needed 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 Gilbert AZ. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a two year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judiciary system. An increasing number of police departments are looking for applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree usually covers the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates more opportunities for such occupations 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 attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become specialists in a specific area of criminal justice. Along with the options afforded with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for individuals with an interest in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered as well. Generally requiring 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 depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specializations to pick from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying numerous episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation shows. Or maybe you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Selecting a program and a school that specializes in that specialty would certainly be the ideal decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that situation, it would be advisable to research all of the degree alternatives available from the numerous colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Gilbert AZ area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the school you have chosen, research the degree program you have an interest in as well as the college. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has an excellent reputation as a whole does not mean that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is extremely important to decide on a major first prior to selecting a college to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs
Many students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their vicinity, or they may just want the convenience of earning a degree online. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There many schools located within the United States that provide online degree programs much like the ones offered on-campus. And for a number of Gilbert AZ students, especially those who continue to work part or full-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges in many cases make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are often more affordable than on campus options. Tuition may be cheaper and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure, just like for any school you are looking at, that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, 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 environment, then earning your degree online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you want to obtain your degree online or by going to classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start looking for Gilbert AZ area colleges and narrowing down your options. Because there are a large number of colleges to choose from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing colleges. Obviously cost is a significant consideration and you will need to enroll in a school that fits within your scholastic budget. And we have already discussed several others as well, including accreditation, reputation and location. To help you focus on those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you may wish to ask the schools you are examining before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? Many criminal justice colleges have received one or more accreditations from regional or national 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 an extensive assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s essential to verify that the program and college 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 obtain an excellent education, it will also assist in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Gilbert AZ employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As stated previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you attend is important as well. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the profession with no relevant prior job history. With no previous experience, Gilbert AZ employers will be evaluating 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, including U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Gilbert AZ schools you are reviewing. A lower rate may be an indicator that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also important that the schools have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that marks the start of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help verify that the college has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a sizable network of contacts to help students in obtaining positions upon graduation.
Where are the Colleges 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 relocate or possibly board on campus, the school you select will have to be within driving distance of your Gilbert AZ residence. Certainly attending classes online will remove the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you opt to attend a school outside of your state of residence, you could be required to pay 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 Big are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes provides the option for more interaction with the instructors. Larger classes provide little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to monitor a few classes prior to making your ultimate 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 styles are. You might also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Arizona criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s critical to make sure that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Gilbert AZ?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Gilbert AZ, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Gilbert area where your school campus will be located.
Gilbert is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, located southeast of Phoenix, within the Phoenix metropolitan area. Once known as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World", It is the sixth-largest municipality in Arizona, and the fifth-largest in the Metropolitan Phoenix Area.
Gilbert encompasses 76 square miles (197 km2) and has made a rapid transformation from an agriculture-based community to an economically diverse suburban center located in the southeast valley of the Greater Phoenix area. In the last three decades, Gilbert has grown at an extremely high rate, increasing in population from 5,717 in 1980 to 208,453 as of the 2010 census. The town grew at an average annual growth rate of nearly 13% during this 30-year period.
Gilbert owes its beginnings to William "Bobby" Gilbert who provided land to the Arizona Eastern Railway in 1902 to construct a rail line between Phoenix and Florence, Arizona. Ayer's Grocery Store, the first store in Gilbert, opened in 1910 and became the location of the first post office in 1912. The location of the town post office moved several times before settling on the east side of Gilbert Road in downtown, where it still stands today. In 1912, many Mormons who had fled the Mormon colonies in Mexico due to the actions of the forces of Pancho Villa settled in Gilbert. By 1915, they began holding church meetings at the Gilbert Elementary School. In 1918, they were organized into the Gilbert Ward.
Find the Best Criminal Justice Degree Program near Gilbert AZ
Making sure that you choose the right criminal justice program near Gilbert AZ is crucial to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers respect which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Attaining the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the optimal criminal justice school based on your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you pick both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Additionally, make sure that the school has a job placement program with a strong track record 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 assess and compare the criminal justice schools you are reviewing so that you can narrow down your options and make the right selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the appropriate training so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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