Picking the Right Criminal Justice School near Sheffield Alabama
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Sheffield Alabama. But once you have chosen the type of program you would like to pursue, just how do you tackle choosing a school that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Naturally the institution you select must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will probably start by searching for schools that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are additional issues that you must evaluate before making your ultimate choice. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the college are critical factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online degree program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will discuss these and other qualifications that you might want to utilize in your vetting process when choosing the best criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors offered as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Sheffield AL
Just like with most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently needed for many careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Sheffield AL. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a 2 year degree, it offers an introduction to such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial system. More and more police departments are looking for candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree typically addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education makes available more options for such positions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional 2 years of classes in addition to earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become specialists in a particular facet of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities afforded with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And finally, for students interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered as well. Generally taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for earning any of the four degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specialties to choose from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after watching countless episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation TV shows. Or perhaps you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career goal, you must choose a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Enrolling in a program and a school that focuses on that area would clearly be the best decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet made up your mind on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that scenario, it would be best to research all of the degree options offered from the various colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Sheffield 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, research the degree program you are interested in as well as the school. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is very important to decide on a major first prior to selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Colleges
Many students might not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their area, or they may just want the flexibility of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous colleges located within the USA that offer degree programs online similar to those offered on-campus. And for a number of Sheffield AL students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain, just like for any college you are considering, that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can study in this type of unsupervised environment, then obtaining your degree online might be the ideal alternative for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have no doubt decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, 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 searching for Sheffield AL area schools and fine tuning your options. Considering that there are so many schools to pick from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing schools. Naturally cost is a significant consideration and you will need to pick a college that fits within your academic budget. And we have already mentioned 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 considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? Numerous criminal justice schools have received one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. 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 gone through a rigorous screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to confirm that the degree program and college you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it will also aid in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Sheffield AL employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the College? As previously mentioned, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you choose is important as well. It’s particularly crucial if you are going into the field with no relevant prior work history. Without any prior experience, Sheffield AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can get school reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other factors contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Sheffield AL colleges you are reviewing. A low rate may be a sign that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the course of study. It’s also important that the schools have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you get that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a substantial network of employers to help students secure positions after graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we mentioned at the opening of this article, one of the initial things you will probably consider when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or perhaps board on campus, the college you choose will have to be within driving distance of your Sheffield AL residence. Naturally attending classes online will remove the need for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to go to a college outside of your state of residence, you might be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state colleges and universities. Junior and community colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Big are the Classes? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, going to small classes offers the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes provide little chance of receiving personalized instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a couple of classes prior to making your ultimate determination. Talk to several of the students and ask what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s important to make sure that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Sheffield AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Sheffield AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Sheffield AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Sheffield area where your school campus will be located.
Sheffield is a city in Colbert County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Shoals metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 9,039. Sheffield is the birthplace of "country-soul pioneer" and songwriter Arthur Alexander, French horn player Willie Ruff, notable attorney, actor, former senator and presidential contender Fred Thompson, Watergate committee U.S. Senator Howell Heflin and U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, whose father was working in nearby Athens when he was born. It sometimes is referred to as "the City of Senators" due to the births of Heflin, McConnell and Thompson within its borders. Col. Harland Sanders worked in the Sheffield depot for Southern Railway in the 1900s. It is also home to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio where many popular 20th century musicians recorded their work, including Alexander and Ruff. It is the site of historic Helen Keller Hospital, formerly known as Colbert County Hospital and originally constructed in 1921. It was changed to Helen Keller Hospital in 1979, and Keller's birthplace Ivy Green is located less than one mile southwest of the hospital in adjacent Tuscumbia.
Sheffield is located in eastern Colbert County at 34°45′35″N 87°41′41″W / 34.75972°N 87.69472°W / 34.75972; -87.69472 (34.759721, -87.694592), on the south bank of the Tennessee River. Sheffield is bordered to the south by the city of Tuscumbia, to the southeast by Muscle Shoals, and to the north, across the river, by Florence.
Sheffield was one of the Colbert County sites of embarkation by riverboat and barge on the Tennessee River during the forced relocation of Eastern and Southern United States Indian tribes, known as the Trail of Tears. The embarkation site was at what is now the Spring Creek boat launch and park area.
Select the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Sheffield AL
Making sure that you pick the ideal criminal justice program near Sheffield AL is vital to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers care which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care as well. Achieving the greatest possible success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the right criminal justice college predicated upon your career goals. As we have addressed in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you decide on both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Also, confirm that the college 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 Good Criminal Justice Colleges. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to assess and compare the criminal justice schools you are considering in order to narrow down your choices and make the right selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the proper education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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