Picking the Right Criminal Justice College near Marion Alabama
So you have made the decision to pursue a criminal justice degree near Marion Alabama. But after you have chosen 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 goals? Of course the school you choose must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will no doubt begin by looking for colleges that are close to your home and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other issues that you need to examine before making your final decision. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the school are critical factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online training program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will discuss these and other criteria that you may wish to include 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 majors and degrees offered along with the advantages of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Marion AL
Just like with many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly needed for a number of positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Marion AL. There are four degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a two year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as corrections, law enforcement 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 normally includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates additional opportunities for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional 2 years of classes in addition to earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a particular facet of criminal justice. Along with the options provided with the lesser degrees, graduates may 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. Typically taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for earning any one of the 4 degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specialties to select from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after enjoying numerous 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 objective, you must pick a major and a degree in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Choosing a program and a school that focuses on that area would obviously be the best option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that situation, it would be best to research all of the degree options offered from the various universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Marion AL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the college you have selected, investigate the degree program you are interested in as well as the school. 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 respected. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first prior to selecting a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Schools
Many students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their vicinity, or they may just prefer the independence of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous colleges domiciled within the United States that offer degree programs online similar to the ones offered on campus. And for a number of Marion AL students, especially those who continue to work full or part-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online schools in many cases make them the sole option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are often lower in cost than on campus options. Tuition may be lower and expenditures for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just verify, as with any school you are considering, that the program you choose is accredited by an approved organization, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can study in this type of unsupervised setting, then obtaining your degree online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
By now you have undoubtedly come to a decision 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. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start searching for Marion AL area colleges and narrowing down your options. Because there are a large number of colleges to select from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when reviewing schools. Naturally cost is an important consideration and you will need to enroll in a school that fits within your academic budget. And we have already pointed out several others also, including reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Numerous criminal justice colleges have earned one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. One of the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to make sure that the program and college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping confirm that you get a quality education, it will also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Marion AL employers are looking 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 enroll in is important also. It’s particularly critical if you are going into the field with no relevant prior job history. With no previous experience, Marion AL employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can get school reviews and rankings, such as 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 educational programs. Remember that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you may be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Marion AL schools you are looking at. A lower percentage might be an indication 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 essential that the schools have job assistance programs with high 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 high placement rate will not only help affirm that the college has a good reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a sizable network of contacts to assist students in obtaining positions upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Campuses Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, among the initial things you will probably consider when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or possibly board on campus, the college you select will need to be within commuting distance of your Marion AL residence. Of course attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you opt to go to a college outside of your resident state, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state colleges and universities. Community and junior 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 get lost in the crowd, attending small classes offers the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Large classes afford little chance of receiving individualized instruction if needed. One means to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a couple of classes prior to making your ultimate determination. Speak with some of the students and ask what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You might also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s important to confirm that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Marion AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 Marion AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Marion AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Marion area where your school campus will be located.
Marion is a city in, and the county seat of, Perry County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,686, up 4.8% over 2000. First known as Muckle Ridge, the city was renamed after a hero of the American Revolution, Francis Marion.
Formerly the territory of the Creek Indians, it was founded shortly after 1819 as Muckle Ridge. The city was renamed in honor of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox," hero of the American Revolutionary War, in 1822. It incorporated as a town the same year and also became the second county seat after the hamlet of Perry Ridge was unsuitable. In 1829, it upgraded from a town to a city. From the very early days, Marion created considerable history for a small town on the western frontier of Alabama. The old City Hall (1832) is but one of many antebellum public buildings, churches, and homes in the city today.
At the 1844 meeting of the Alabama Baptist State Convention in Marion, the "Alabama Resolutions" were passed. This was one of the factors that led to the 1845 formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in Augusta, Georgia.
Pick the Right Criminal Justice School near Marion AL
Making certain that you choose the right criminal justice program near Marion AL is crucial to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers value which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit 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 covered in this article, it’s essential that the college and degree program you decide on both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, make certain that the school has a job assistance program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Degree Courses. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at so that you can narrow down your choices and make the best selection. And when you have made the best decision, you will get the appropriate training so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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