How to Select the Right Criminal Justice School near West Monroe Louisiana
So you have made the decision to pursue a criminal justice degree near West Monroe Louisiana. But after you have selected the kind of program you want to work toward, just how do you tackle selecting a college that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the institution you select must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will no doubt start by searching for colleges that are close to your home and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other factors that you need to examine before making your final selection. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are significant factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online degree program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will deal with these and other qualifications that you might want 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 available as well as the advantages of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near West Monroe LA
Similar to most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly needed for many positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in West Monroe LA. There are four degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a two year degree, it provides 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 topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education creates more opportunities for such professions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional 2 years of classes in addition to obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a particular area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And finally, for individuals interested in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered also. Generally requiring anywhere from four to seven years to finish, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for obtaining any one of the four degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors Offered
There are many specialties to pick from when determining which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after watching countless episodes of the different crime scene investigation TV shows. Or perhaps you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career goal, you need to choose a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a school and program that specializes in that specialty would naturally be the best option toward that end. Possibly you have not yet made up your mind on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that situation, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree alternatives available from the various colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the West Monroe LA area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the school you have decided on, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the college. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has a good reputation in general does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is essential to choose a major first before selecting a college to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Colleges Online
Many students might not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their vicinity, or they may just prefer the convenience of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There are numerous schools domiciled within the United States that offer online degree programs similar to the ones offered on campus. And for many West Monroe LA students, especially those who continue to work full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges in many cases make them the only option. And as an additional benefit, online colleges are frequently lower in cost than traditional alternatives. Tuition can be cheaper and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, just like for any college you are reviewing, that the program you choose is accredited by an approved organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can study in this kind of unsupervised setting, then earning your degree online might be the best alternative for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you intend to earn your degree online or by going to classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin searching for West Monroe LA area colleges and narrowing down your options. Because there are numerous schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing colleges. Naturally cost is an important factor and you will need to enroll in a school that is within your academic budget. And we have already addressed a few others also, including accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you might wish to ask the schools you are examining before making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? Many criminal justice colleges have acquired one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. Among 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 screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to confirm that the degree program and college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it will also help in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of West Monroe LA employers have a preference for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the College’s Reputation? As stated previously, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you choose is significant as well. It’s especially crucial if you are getting in the field with no relevant prior job history. Without any previous experience, West Monroe LA employers will be considering the quality of your education as a key factor when going over your resume. There are a number of 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 variables contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you may be interested in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Find out what the graduation rates are for the West Monroe LA schools you are considering. A lower percentage may be a sign that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not capable 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 pivotal job after graduation that denotes the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help confirm that the college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a considerable network of employers to help students obtain positions after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we touched on at the opening of this article, one of the first 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 board on campus, the school you choose will need to be within driving distance of your West Monroe LA home. Certainly attending classes online will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you opt to go to a school not in your resident state, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, attending small classes provides the opportunity for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes allow for little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a couple of classes prior to making your final decision. Speak with some of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You may also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Louisiana criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s crucial to confirm that the final college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near West Monroe LA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near West Monroe LA?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near West Monroe LA, following is some interesting and useful background information about the West Monroe area where your school campus will be located.
West Monroe, Louisiana
West Monroe is a city in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is situated on the Ouachita River, across from the neighboring city of Monroe. The two cities are often referred to as the Twin Cities of northeast Louisiana. Its population was 13,065 at the 2010 census and it is part of the Monroe Metropolitan Statistical Area. The mayor is Staci Albritton Mitchell.
Originally laid out in 1837 as Byron by John Campbell at the foot of the ferry landing to Monroe, the town floundered and Campbell went bankrupt. The area was bought by Christopher Dabbs, a doctor from Virginia who submitted the plans for Cotton Port in 1854; it was officially recognized in 1859. It too languished until the arrival of the Vicksburg, Shreveport, & Texas Railroad and the construction of the bridge over the Ouachita. Cotton Port boomed as a river port and rail depot.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.0 square miles (20.6 km²), of which 7.7 square miles (20.0 km²) is land and 0.2 square mile (0.6 km²) (3.14%) is water.
Enroll in the Ideal Criminal Justice School near West Monroe LA
Making sure that you choose the ideal criminal justice college near West Monroe LA is essential to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers value which school you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care as well. Attaining the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the ideal criminal justice school predicated upon your career goals. 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 strong track record for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Law Enforcement Degree. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess 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 get the proper training so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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