Selecting the Right Criminal Justice School near Walnut Creek California
So you have made the decision to attain a criminal justice degree near Walnut Creek California. But after you have decided on the type of degree you want to work toward, just how do you tackle selecting a college that will offer the right training to help you realize your career objectives? Naturally the institution you pick must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will no doubt start by searching for colleges that are nearby your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are additional points that you must examine prior to making your final decision. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the school are significant factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online degree program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will discuss these and other qualifications that you may want to include in your vetting process when picking the ideal criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors available as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Walnut Creek CA
Similar to many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly required for many careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained advances, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Walnut Creek CA. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a two year degree, it offers an introduction to such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are seeking candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree normally covers the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education makes available additional opportunities for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional 2 years of classes in addition to earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become experts in a particular facet of criminal justice. Along with the options offered with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And finally, for students interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered as well. Typically 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 attaining any of the 4 degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are many specialties to select from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps 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 focuses on that specialty would clearly be the best option toward that end. Possibly you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree alternatives available from the numerous universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Walnut Creek CA area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the program you have selected, research the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation as a whole does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are equally highly respected. That’s why it is essential to decide on a major first prior to picking a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Online Schools
Many prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their vicinity, or they might just prefer the independence of earning a degree online. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of schools domiciled within the USA that provide online degree programs much like those offered on campus. And for many Walnut Creek CA students, particularly those who continue to work full or part-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online schools in many cases make them the sole option. And as an added advantage, online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make certain, as with any school you are looking at, that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can study in this type of independent setting, then obtaining your degree online may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, as well as if you intend to obtain your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin looking for Walnut Creek CA area schools and fine tuning your options. Considering that 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 a significant consideration and you will need to enroll in a school that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already pointed out several others also, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you focus on those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you might wish to ask the colleges you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? Numerous criminal justice schools have received one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. 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 a rigorous screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s essential to make sure that the degree program and school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it will also help in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of Walnut Creek CA employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As stated previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is important also. It’s especially crucial if you are getting in the field with no relevant previous work history. With no prior experience, Walnut Creek CA employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can obtain college rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you might be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Walnut Creek CA colleges you are considering. A lower rate 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 placement programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you get that first crucial job after graduation that marks the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help substantiate that the college has a good reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a considerable network of contacts to assist students secure jobs upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the beginning of this article, among the initial things you will most likely look at when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or possibly board on campus, the school you pick will need to be within commuting distance of your Walnut Creek CA home. Certainly attending classes online will remove the need for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to attend a school outside of your resident state, you could be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state colleges and universities. Junior and community colleges also often charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, attending small classes offers the option for more interaction with the teachers. Bigger classes provide little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One method to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to monitor a few classes before making your final decision. Speak with some of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You might also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the California criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it’s critical to make sure that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Walnut Creek CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Walnut Creek CA?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Walnut Creek CA, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Walnut Creek area where your school campus will be located.
Walnut Creek, California
Walnut Creek is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, about 16 miles (26 kilometres) east of the city of Oakland. With a total estimated population of 69,122, Walnut Creek serves as a hub for its neighboring cities because of its location at the junction of the highways from Sacramento and San Jose (I-680) and San Francisco/Oakland (SR-24) and its accessibility by BART. Its active downtown neighborhood features hundred-year-old buildings and extensive high-end retail establishments, restaurants and entertainment venues.
There are three bands of Bay Miwok Indians associated with early Walnut Creek: the Saclan, whose territory extended through the hills east of present-day Oakland, Rossmoor, Lafayette, Moraga and Walnut Creek; the Volvon (also spelled Bolbon, Wolwon and Zuicun) near Mt. Diablo; and the Tactan located on the San Ramon Creek in Danville and Walnut Creek.
Today's Walnut Creek is located within the earlier site of four Mexican land grants. One of these land grants – measuring 18,000 acres (73 km2) – belonged to Juana Sanchez de Pacheco, who eventually passed the land down to her two grandsons. Ygnacio Sibrian, one of the grandsons, created the first roofed home in the valley in about 1850. The grant was called Rancho Arroyo de Las Nueces y Bolbones, named after the principal waterway, Arroyo de las Nueces (Walnut Creek), as well as for the local group of indigenous Americans (Bolbones). The Arroyo de las Nueces was named for the evidence of the native species of walnut tree, the California Walnut.
Choose the Best Criminal Justice College near Walnut Creek CA
Making sure that you pick the ideal criminal justice program near Walnut Creek CA is crucial to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers value which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Attaining the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the ideal criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have addressed in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you pick both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, confirm that the college has a job assistance program with a high success rate for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Degree Programs. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are reviewing in order to narrow down your choices and make the best selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the proper training so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
Check Out More Law Abiding Locations in California