How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice College near Southport Connecticut
So you have decided to earn a criminal justice degree near Southport Connecticut. But after you have decided on the kind of program you would like to work toward, just how do you undertake choosing a school that will offer the right training to help you realize your career goals? Of course the college you pick must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will probably start by looking for colleges that are close to your residence and comparing the cost for each school. But there are additional points that you need to examine prior to making your final choice. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the school are critical factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes in front of your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online training program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will discuss these and other qualifications that you might wish to include in your vetting process when picking the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees offered as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Southport CT
As with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly needed for many positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Southport CT. There are four degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a two year degree, it offers an overview of such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial system. More and more police departments are seeking candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree usually includes the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates more opportunities for such professions 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 provided with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And finally, for students interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered as well. Typically taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for attaining any one of the four degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specializations to choose from when deciding which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after viewing numerous episodes of the different crime scene investigation shows. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career goal, you must select a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Choosing a program and a school that specializes in that specialty would obviously be the ideal option toward that end. Possibly you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that scenario, it would be advisable to research all of the degree alternatives available from the various colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Southport CT area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the college you have selected, research the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. 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 respected. That’s why it is extremely important to choose a major first prior to selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online
Many students may not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they may just want the independence of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous schools domiciled within the United States that provide degree programs online much like those offered on-campus. And for a number of Southport CT students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online schools in many cases make them the sole option. And as an added advantage, online schools are often lower in cost than on-campus options. Tuition may be lower and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced also. Just make certain, just like for any school you are looking at, that the program you enroll in is accredited by an approved agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can learn in this type of independent environment, then earning your degree online might be the best alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, 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 searching for Southport CT area schools and narrowing down your options. Considering that there are a large number of schools to select from, literally hundreds within the USA alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when assessing colleges. Obviously cost is a significant factor and you will need to select a school that fits within your academic budget. And we have already pointed out several others as well, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you focus on those issues and more, below is a list of questions you might wish to ask the colleges you are examining prior to making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have received one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s important to verify that the degree program and college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for several reasons. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it will also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Southport CT employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As previously mentioned, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you enroll in is important also. It’s particularly crucial if you are getting in the field with no relevant previous job history. With no previous experience, Southport CT employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key factor when going over your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can get school reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the teachers and other aspects contributing to the academic programs. Remember that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be well regarded for a specific degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Southport CT schools you are considering. A low percentage may be an indicator that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the curriculum. It’s also imperative that the colleges have job placement programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you get that first pivotal job after graduation that marks the start of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help substantiate that the college has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it also has a large network of contacts to assist students in obtaining jobs after graduation.
How Far Away are the Schools Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, one of the initial things you will probably look at when looking for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or perhaps board on campus, the college you select will need to be within driving distance of your Southport CT residence. Of course attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to go to a school outside of your state of residence, you may be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, attending smaller classes provides the option for more interaction with the teachers. Larger classes afford little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a few classes prior to making your ultimate decision. Speak with some of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and ask them what their teaching approaches are. You might also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Connecticut criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it’s important to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Southport CT, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Southport CT?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Southport CT, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Southport area where your school campus will be located.
Southport is a former borough in the town of Fairfield, Connecticut, and also a census-designated place. It is located along Long Island Sound between Mill River and Sasco Brook, where it borders Westport. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 1,585. Settled in 1639, Southport center has been designated a local historic district since 1967, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 as the Southport Historic District.
The earliest recorded event in Southport's history was "The Great Swamp Fight" or "Fairfield Swamp Fight" of July 1637 (not to be confused with the later Great Swamp Fight of King Philip's War), an episode of the Pequot War in which English colonial forces led by John Mason and Roger Ludlow vanquished a band of about 80 to 100 Pequot Indians who had earlier fled from their home territory in the Mystic area and had taken refuge with about 200 Sasqua Indians who inhabited the area that is now Fairfield. The exact location of the battle is not known, but it is known to have been in the vicinity of Southport.
In the eighteenth century, Mill River village, a part of Fairfield, was a small hamlet of a few houses and a wharf at the mouth of Fairfield's Mill River. Farm products from the surrounding area were shipped from Mill River's small harbor to ports in New York and beyond.
Find the Right Criminal Justice School near Southport CT
Making sure that you choose the right criminal justice program near Southport CT is vital to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers respect which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Achieving the greatest possible success in your criminal justice career starts with picking the ideal criminal justice college based on your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you select both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, verify that the school has a job placement program with a high success rate for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in 2 Year Criminal Justice Degree. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are looking at in order to narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the proper training so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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