Picking the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Stratford Connecticut
So you have made the decision to earn a criminal justice degree near Stratford Connecticut. But once you have selected the type of degree you would like to pursue, just how do you tackle selecting a school that will provide the proper training to help you realize your career goals? Of course the school you select must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you are interested in. And you will probably start by looking for colleges that are close to your home and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are additional points that you should examine prior to making your ultimate choice. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the college are important factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online degree program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will address these and other criteria that you might want to include 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 along with the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Stratford CT
As with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly required for a number of positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Stratford CT. There are 4 degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a two year degree, it provides an introduction to such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judiciary system. A growing number of police departments are looking for applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree normally includes the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates more opportunities for such professions 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 allows students to become specialists in a particular aspect of criminal justice. In addition to the options provided with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for students interested in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available also. Generally requiring anywhere from four to seven years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for obtaining any one of the four degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specializations to pick from when considering which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after watching numerous episodes of the different crime scene investigation TV programs. Or perhaps you have always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you need to choose a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Choosing a program and a school that specializes in that specialty would clearly be the best decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that situation, it would be best to investigate all of the degree alternatives offered from the numerous universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Stratford CT area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the school you have selected, investigate 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 guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first prior to choosing a college to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Colleges Online
A number of students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their vicinity, or they might just want the independence of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of colleges located within the United States that offer degree programs online similar to those offered on-campus. And for a number of Stratford CT students, particularly those who continue working part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online programs may make them the only option. And as an added advantage, online schools are frequently lower in cost than traditional options. Tuition can be cheaper and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced also. Just verify, as with any college you are looking at, that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can learn in this type of unsupervised environment, then earning your degree online might be the right alternative for you.
Concerns 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 want to obtain your degree online or by going to classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start searching for Stratford CT area schools and fine tuning your options. Since there are numerous colleges to select from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing schools. Certainly cost is an important consideration and you will need to select a college that is within your academic budget. And we have already pointed out several others as well, including reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you may want to ask the colleges you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? Many criminal justice schools have received one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. One of the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s essential to verify that the degree program and college you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. Along with helping assure that you get a top notch education, it will also help in securing student loans or financial aid, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of Stratford CT employers are looking for graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As previously mentioned, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you enroll in is important as well. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the profession with no relevant prior work history. With no prior experience, Stratford CT employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can get college reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other elements contributing to the academic programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be highly regarded for a specific degree program that you might be interested in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Stratford CT schools you are considering. A lower rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also important that the schools 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 field, but that it additionally has a substantial network of employers to help students obtain positions after graduation.
Where are the Campuses Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, one of 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 relocate or perhaps board on campus, the school you choose will need to be within driving distance of your Stratford CT home. Of course attending classes online will remove the need for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you opt to attend a school outside of your resident state, you could be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community and junior colleges also often charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, going to smaller classes offers the option for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes allow for little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One method to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a few classes before making your ultimate determination. Speak with some of the students and find out 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 Connecticut criminal justice field.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Stratford CT, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Stratford CT?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Stratford CT, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Stratford area where your school campus will be located.
Stratford is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It is situated on Long Island Sound along Connecticut's "Gold Coast" at the mouth of the Housatonic River. Stratford is in the Bridgeport–Stamford–Norwalk Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was founded by Puritans in 1639.
The population was 51,384 as of the 2010 census. It is bordered on the west by Bridgeport, to the north by Trumbull and Shelton, and on the east by Milford (across the Housatonic River). Stratford has a historical legacy in aviation, the military, and theater.
Stratford was founded in 1639 by Puritan leader Reverend Adam Blakeman, William Beardsley, and either 16 families (according to legend) or approximately 35 families (suggested by later research) who had recently arrived in Connecticut from England seeking religious freedom. In 1639 the General Court in Hartford made reference to the town as the "new plantation at Pequannock". In 1640 the community was known as Cupheag, a Native American Paugussett word meaning "at the enclosed place" or "place of shelter". By April 13, 1643, the growing town was known as Stratford, changed to honor William Shakespeare's birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon in England.
Find the Right Criminal Justice School near Stratford CT
Making sure that you pick the right criminal justice school near Stratford CT is crucial to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers care which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Attaining the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career starts with picking the best criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you choose both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, verify that the college 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 Top Criminal Justice Programs. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will be able to analyze 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 best decision, you will receive the appropriate training so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
Check Out More Law Abiding Locations in Connecticut