Picking the Right Criminal Justice School near Westcliffe Colorado
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Westcliffe Colorado. But after you have selected the type of degree you would like to work toward, just how do you go about choosing a school that will provide the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Of course the institution you pick must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will probably begin by looking for schools that are close to your home and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other factors that you should examine prior to making your final decision. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the college are important factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes in front of 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 address these and other criteria that you might want to utilize in your vetting process when selecting the ideal criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees available as well as the advantages of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Westcliffe CO
As with many other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly required for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the job opportunities available in Westcliffe CO. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it offers an overview of such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are looking for candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree typically covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education makes available additional options for such positions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional 2 years of classes in addition to attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become experts in a particular area 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 individuals with an interest in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered also. Usually requiring anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for attaining any of the four degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are many specialties to pick from when considering which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying numerous episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation TV shows. Or quite possibly you have always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to select 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 obviously be the best option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that case, it would be advisable to explore all of the degree options offered from the various colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Westcliffe CO 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, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Just because 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 essential to choose a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Online Classes
A number of students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their region, or they may just want the independence of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There a large number of colleges located within the USA that offer online degree programs similar to the ones offered on-campus. And for many Westcliffe CO students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online programs in many cases make them the only option. And as an added advantage, online colleges are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, just like for any school you are reviewing, that the program you choose is accredited by an approved agency, 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 environment, then obtaining your degree online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
At this point you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, as well as if you want to earn your degree online or by attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin looking for Westcliffe CO area schools and narrowing down your options. Because there are so many schools to pick from, literally hundreds within the USA alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when evaluating colleges. Obviously cost is a significant factor and you will need to enroll in a program that fits within your scholastic budget. And we have already mentioned several others as well, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you focus on those issues and more, following is a list of questions you may wish to ask the colleges you are thinking about prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Numerous criminal justice schools have earned 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 screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to confirm that the program and college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping confirm that you get a top notch education, it will also help in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, many Westcliffe CO employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As previously stated, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is important as well. It’s especially crucial if you are entering the field with no relevant previous job history. With no prior experience, Westcliffe CO employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can get college rankings and reviews, such as U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the teachers and other variables contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be highly respected for a specific degree program that you may be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Westcliffe CO colleges you are reviewing. A lower rate may 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 curriculum. It’s also important that the colleges have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help verify that the college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a sizable network of employers to help students obtain positions upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Schools Located? As we mentioned at the opening of this article, among the first things you will probably look at when searching for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or perhaps live on campus, the school you pick will have to be within commuting distance of your Westcliffe CO home. Of course attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to attend a school outside of your state of residence, 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 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 provides the opportunity for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes afford little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One means to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a few classes prior to making your ultimate decision. Speak with some of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Colorado criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s critical to verify that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Westcliffe CO, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Westcliffe CO?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Westcliffe CO, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Westcliffe area where your school campus will be located.
Westcliffe is located west of the geographic center of Custer County at 38°7′58″N 105°27′57″W / 38.13278°N 105.46583°W / 38.13278; -105.46583 (38.132874, -105.465920). It lies in the Wet Mountain Valley, between the Wet Mountains to the east and the Sangre de Cristo Range to the west. The town of Silver Cliff is immediately to the east of Westcliffe.
Westcliffe, and neighboring Silver Cliff, Colorado are recognized as IDA International Dark Sky Communities by The International Dark-Sky Association. Gentle persuasion has resulted in residents and business in the towns and surrounding ranch land reducing the amount of light pollution.
As of the census of 2000, there were 417 people, 194 households, and 108 families residing in the town. The population density was 367.1 people per square mile (141.2/km²). There were 246 housing units at an average density of 216.6 per square mile (83.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.44% White, 1.92% Native American, 0.24% Asian, and 2.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.16% of the population.
Enroll in the Best Criminal Justice Degree Program near Westcliffe CO
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice program near Westcliffe CO is crucial to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers respect which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Achieving the greatest possible success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the ideal criminal justice college based on your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Additionally, make certain 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 Bachelors In Criminal Justice Online. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are considering so that you can narrow down your options and make the right selection. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will get the appropriate training so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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