How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice College near Warrensburg Illinois
So you have made the decision to earn a criminal justice degree near Warrensburg Illinois. But once you have decided on the kind of program you want to pursue, just how do you undertake choosing a college that will offer the proper training to help you realize your career goals? Of course the school you select must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will no doubt begin by searching for schools that are nearby your home and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are additional issues that you need to examine prior to making your final choice. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the college are significant factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online degree program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will discuss these and other qualifications that you might want to utilize in your vetting process when picking 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 advantages of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Warrensburg IL
Similar to many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently needed for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the job opportunities available in Warrensburg IL. There are four degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it offers an introduction to 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 four year Bachelor’s Degree usually addresses the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education creates more opportunities for such positions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional 2 years of classes after earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become experts in a particular aspect of criminal justice. Along with the options offered with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And finally, for students interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is available also. Usually taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Naturally the time requirements for obtaining any of the four degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are many specialties to pick from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after watching countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV programs. Or maybe you have always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you must pick a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Choosing a school and program that specializes in that area would obviously be the ideal option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that scenario, it would be best to research all of the degree alternatives available from the various colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Warrensburg IL area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the college you have selected, research the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation as a whole does not mean that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is very important to decide on a major first before choosing a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Classes Online
A number of students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they may just want the convenience of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There many schools domiciled within the USA that offer online degree programs similar to the ones offered on-campus. And for many Warrensburg IL students, particularly those who continue working part or full-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges in many cases make them the sole option. And as an additional advantage, online colleges are often more affordable than on campus options. Tuition can be lower and costs for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just verify, as with any school you are considering, that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can study in this type of independent environment, then earning your degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
By now you have no doubt decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you intend to earn your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start looking for Warrensburg IL area schools and fine tuning your options. Because there are so many schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s essential to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when reviewing colleges. Certainly cost is an important factor and you will need to choose a college that fits within your academic budget. And we have already discussed a few others as well, including accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you might wish to ask the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? Many criminal justice colleges have acquired one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. 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 imperative to verify that the degree program and college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it will also help in qualifying for student loans or financial aid, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Warrensburg IL employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As previously mentioned, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you select is significant also. It’s especially crucial if you are getting in the field with no relevant prior employment history. Without any previous experience, Warrensburg IL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can get college 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 teachers and other variables contributing to the academic programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be highly respected for a specific degree program that you might have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Warrensburg IL schools you are reviewing. A low rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 important that the colleges have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job assistance program will help you get that first crucial job after graduation that marks the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help validate that the college has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a substantial network of contacts to assist students secure jobs upon graduation.
Where are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the beginning of this article, one of the initial things you will most likely consider when searching for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or possibly board on campus, the school you choose will have to be within commuting distance of your Warrensburg IL home. Certainly attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to attend a school not in your resident state, you may be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community colleges also often charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, going to smaller classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes allow for little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a few classes prior to making your final 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 might also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Illinois criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s important to make sure that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Warrensburg IL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Warrensburg IL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Warrensburg IL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Warrensburg area where your school campus will be located.
Warrensburg is a village in Macon County, Illinois, United States whose population was 1,289 at the 2000 census, and 1,160 in 2009. It is included in the Decatur, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area. Warrensburg was established in 1841.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,289 people, 500 households, and 364 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,900.6 people per square mile (731.9/km²). There were 527 housing units at an average density of 777.0 per square mile (299.2/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 97.67% White, 0.62% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.08% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.47% of the population.
There were 500 households out of which 35.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.6% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.2% were non-families. 22.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.03.
Select the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Warrensburg IL
Making certain that you select the right criminal justice college near Warrensburg IL is vital to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers respect which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care as well. Achieving the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career starts with selecting the optimal criminal justice college based on your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important that the college and degree program you select both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, make sure that the school has a job placement program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Law Enforcement Courses. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to assess and compare the criminal justice schools you are looking at so that you can narrow down your choices and make the right selection. And when you have made the correct decision, you will get the appropriate training so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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