Choosing the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Toccoa Georgia
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Toccoa Georgia. But once you have selected the type of program you would like to pursue, just how do you go about choosing a college that will provide the proper training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the college you select must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you are interested in. And you will no doubt start by searching for colleges that are close to your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are additional issues that you need to evaluate prior to making your final choice. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the college 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 locating a reputable online training program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will cover these and other qualifications that you may wish to utilize in your vetting process when selecting the right criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors available as well as the benefits of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees near Toccoa GA
As with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently required for various positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Toccoa GA. 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 judiciary system. An increasing number of police departments are seeking candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates additional options for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional 2 years of classes in addition to obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a particular facet of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. Finally, for those interested in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered as well. Typically requiring anywhere from four to seven years to finish, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for earning any one of the four degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are many specializations to choose from when determining which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after enjoying countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation shows. Or quite possibly you have always wanted to be a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you must select a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Selecting a school and program that specializes in that area would certainly be the ideal decision toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet made up your mind on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that scenario, it would be advisable to research all of the degree options offered from the numerous universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Toccoa GA area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the school you have decided on, investigate the degree program you are interested in along with the school. Just because a criminal justice school is accredited and has a good reputation as a whole does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are equally highly respected. That’s why it is essential to decide on a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Colleges Online
Some students may not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their vicinity, or they might just want the flexibility of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of schools located within the United States that provide degree programs online much like the ones offered on campus. And for many Toccoa GA students, particularly those who continue to work full or part-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges may make them the sole option. And as an additional benefit, online schools are frequently more affordable than on campus options. Tuition may be lower and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just verify, just like for any school you are looking at, that the program you choose is accredited by an approved organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can study in this kind of unsupervised environment, then earning your degree online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, as well as if you intend to obtain your degree online or by attending classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start looking for Toccoa GA area schools and narrowing down your options. Since there are a large number of schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing schools. Clearly cost is an important factor and you will need to choose a program that fits within your scholastic budget. And we have already addressed several others also, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you focus on those issues and more, following is a list of questions you may want to ask the schools you are examining before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? Numerous criminal justice colleges have obtained 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 undergone a rigorous screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s essential to make sure that the degree program and school you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it will also aid in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, many Toccoa GA employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As stated previously, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is significant also. It’s especially crucial if you are entering the profession with no relevant prior employment history. With no prior experience, Toccoa GA 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 find school reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other aspects contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a college with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you might be interested in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Toccoa GA schools you are considering. A low percentage may be a sign that students were disappointed with the program and quit, 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 higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you land that first pivotal job after graduation that marks the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but that it also has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain positions upon graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, among the initial things you will probably consider when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or possibly live on campus, the school you pick will have to be within driving distance of your Toccoa GA residence. Certainly attending classes online will eliminate the need for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to attend a college not in your resident state, you might 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 they reside outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, going to smaller classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Large classes provide little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One way to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to sit in on a few classes before making your ultimate determination. Speak with several of the students and ask what they have experienced. 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 Georgia criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s critical to verify that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Toccoa GA, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Toccoa GA?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Toccoa GA, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Toccoa area where your school campus will be located.
Toccoa is a city in, and the county seat of, Stephens County, Georgia, United States, located about 50 miles (80 km) from Athens and about 90 miles (140 km) northeast of Atlanta. The population was 8,491 as of the 2010 census.
Indian agent Col. George Chicken was one of the first people to mention Toccoa in his journal from 1725. The first residents of European descent were a small number of American Revolutionary War veterans led by Col. William H. Wofford who moved to the area when the war ended. The area was referred to as Wofford's Tract, or Wofford's Settlement. Col. Wofford is buried near Toccoa Falls. His son, William T. Wofford, was born near Toccoa (then part of Habersham County), and was an officer during the Mexican–American War and a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.
The Georgia Land Lottery of 1820 spurred the migration of Scots-Irish from North Carolina and the Georgia coast. The Georgia Gold Rush, starting in 1828, and the 1838 removal of the Cherokee on the infamous "Trail of Tears" further changed settlement patterns in the area.
Pick the Right Criminal Justice College near Toccoa GA
Making certain that you select the ideal criminal justice school near Toccoa GA is crucial to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers care which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Achieving the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the ideal criminal justice school based on your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you decide on both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, make sure 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 Getting A Degree In Criminal Justice. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are looking at so that you can narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the best decision, you will receive the appropriate training so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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