Picking the Right Criminal Justice School near West Friendship Maryland
So you have made the decision to attain a criminal justice degree near West Friendship Maryland. But after you have selected the type of program you want to pursue, just how do you go about picking a school that will provide the right training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the college you pick must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will undoubtedly start by looking for schools that are nearby your home and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other points that you must evaluate before making your ultimate selection. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the school are important factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online degree program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will cover these and other criteria that you may want to utilize in your vetting process when picking the ideal criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors offered along with the advantages of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near West Friendship MD
As with most 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 advances, so increases the employment opportunities available in West Friendship MD. There are four degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a two year degree, it provides an introduction to such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are looking for applicants with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree usually covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education creates more opportunities for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional 2 years of classes in addition to earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become specialists in a particular area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities provided with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And last, for students interested in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered also. Typically requiring anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for earning any of the four degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
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 viewing countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV programs. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you must choose a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Selecting a program and a school that specializes in that specialty would naturally be the best option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that scenario, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree options available from the various colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the West Friendship MD area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the program you have selected, research the degree program you are interested in along with the college. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has an excellent 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.
Attending Criminal Justice Schools Online
A number of students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their region, or they might just want the independence of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There are numerous colleges located within the United States that provide degree programs online much like those offered on campus. And for many West Friendship MD students, particularly those who continue to work part or full-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online programs may make them the sole option. And as an added advantage, online colleges are often lower in cost than on campus options. Tuition may be lower and costs for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, just like for any college you are reviewing, that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example 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 obtaining your degree online might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you want to obtain your degree online or by attending classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin looking for West Friendship MD 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 ask when evaluating schools. Clearly cost is an important consideration and you will need to select a school that is within your academic budget. And we have already addressed a few others also, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you might wish to ask the colleges you are thinking about prior to making your final selection.
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 respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through a rigorous screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative 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 assure that you receive an excellent education, it will also aid in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many West Friendship MD employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the College? As stated previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you attend is important also. It’s especially critical if you are going into the field with no relevant previous work history. Without any prior experience, West Friendship MD employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can get school rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the educational programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation rates are for the West Friendship MD schools you are considering. A lower percentage may be an indication that students were disappointed with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the curriculum. It’s also important that the schools have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you get that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the start of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain positions after graduation.
How Far Away are the Schools Located? As we touched on at the beginning of this article, among the initial things you will most likely look at when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will relocate or perhaps board on campus, the college you choose will need to be within driving distance of your West Friendship MD residence. Naturally attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to attend a college outside of your state of residence, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community and junior colleges also often charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes provides the opportunity for more interaction with the instructors. Bigger classes provide little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to audit a few classes prior to making your ultimate determination. Speak with some of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You might also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Maryland criminal justice field.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s important to confirm that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near West Friendship MD, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near West Friendship MD?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near West Friendship MD, following is some interesting and useful background information about the West Friendship area where your school campus will be located.
Maryland Route 32
Maryland Route 32 (MD 32) is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. The road runs 51.79 miles (83.35 km) from Interstate 97 (I-97) and MD 3 in Millersville west and north to Washington Road in Westminster. The east–west portion of MD 32 is the Patuxent Freeway, a four- to six-lane freeway between I-97 and MD 108 in Clarksville. The freeway passes through Odenton and Fort Meade, the site of Fort George G. Meade and the National Security Agency (NSA), in western Anne Arundel County and along the southern part of Columbia in Howard County. Via I-97, MD 32 connects those communities with U.S. Route 50 and US 301 in Annapolis. The state highway also intersects the four primary highways connecting Baltimore and Washington: the Baltimore–Washington Parkway, US 1, I-95, and US 29. MD 32's north–south section, Sykesville Road, connects Clarksville and Westminster by way of Sykesville and Eldersburg in southern Carroll County.
MD 32 was constructed as the original state road from West Friendship north to Westminster and from Westminster west to Taneytown in the early 1910s. The state highway was extended northwest to the Pennsylvania state line near Emmitsburg in the late 1910s. The portion of MD 32 from Glenelg to US 1 in Savage was built as MD 106 in the 1920s and early 1930s. MD 32 was extended south from West Friendship and assumed all of MD 106 in the mid-1940s. In the mid-1950s, the section of MD 32 from Westminster west to Emmitsburg was renumbered as an extension of MD 97. MD 32 would later be restored to its old route through Westminster and west toward Taneytown when MD 97, which is now MD 140 west of Westminster, was relocated in the early 1960s. MD 32 was truncated to Westminster in the late 1970s and rolled back to its present northern terminus in 2001.
Along its present course, MD 32 bypassed Sykesville and was relocated from Clarksville to Glenelg in the early 1960s. The state highway was also extended east from Savage to Fort Meade in the late 1960s. A disjoint segment of MD 32 was constructed on a new alignment from MD 175 in Odenton to MD 178 in Crownsville in the early 1970s. The Patuxent Freeway was built from Fort Meade to Columbia in the mid-1980s and from Fort Meade to Millersville in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The freeway was completed from Columbia to Clarksville in the mid-1990s and through Fort George G. Meade in 2005. Future plans call for MD 32 to be upgraded to a freeway from Clarksville to West Friendship.
Find the Ideal Criminal Justice Degree Program near West Friendship MD
Making certain that you select the right criminal justice program near West Friendship MD is vital to your receiving the appropriate 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 possible success in your criminal justice career starts with selecting the right criminal justice school based on your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s essential that the college and degree program you decide on both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Also, make certain 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 Bachelor Of Criminology And Criminal Justice. However, by using 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 ideal decision, you will receive the proper training so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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