Selecting the Right Criminal Justice College near Westminster Maryland
So you have made the decision to attain a criminal justice degree near Westminster Maryland. But once you have decided on the type of degree you would like to work toward, just how do you go about selecting a college that will offer the proper training to help you achieve your career objectives? Of course the school you choose 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 nearby your home and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other issues that you should investigate before making your ultimate selection. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the school are significant factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online degree program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will deal with these and other qualifications that you may wish to include in your vetting process when choosing the right 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 school online.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Westminster MD
Similar to many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly needed for a number of positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Westminster MD. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial system. A growing number of police departments are seeking candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree normally covers the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education makes available additional opportunities for such professions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes in addition to attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a specific area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And finally, for students interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered as well. Usually requiring anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Naturally the time requirements for attaining any of the four degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are numerous specialties to select from when considering which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after watching countless episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation shows. Or maybe you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career goal, you need to pick a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a program and a school that specializes in that area would clearly be the ideal option toward that end. Possibly you have not yet made up your mind on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that case, it would be best to explore all of the degree options available from the numerous colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Westminster MD 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 chosen, research the degree program you are interested in along with the college. Just because a criminal justice college 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 extremely important to choose a major first prior to choosing a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Classes Online
A number of students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their vicinity, or they might just want the convenience of earning a degree online. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous colleges domiciled within the United States that provide online degree programs much like the ones offered on campus. And for many Westminster MD students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the convenience and accessibility of online programs may make them the sole option. And as an additional advantage, online schools are often lower in cost than on-campus alternatives. Tuition may be lower and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make sure, just like for any school you are looking at, that the program you enroll in is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can study in this kind of independent environment, then obtaining your degree online might be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
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 Westminster MD area colleges and narrowing down your options. Since there are numerous colleges to select from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to ask when evaluating schools. Obviously cost is a significant consideration and you will need to select a program that fits within your academic budget. And we have already discussed a few others as well, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you may wish to ask the colleges you are examining before making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? Many criminal justice colleges have obtained one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. Among the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative to make sure that the program and college you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for several reasons. In addition to helping assure that you receive a top notch education, it will also assist in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Westminster MD employers have a preference for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As previously mentioned, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you choose is significant as well. It’s especially critical if you are entering the field with no relevant previous work history. Without any previous experience, Westminster MD employers will be considering the quality of your education as a key factor when going over your resume. There are a number of college rating organizations where you can obtain school rankings and reviews, including U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other elements contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation may still be well respected for a particular degree program that you may be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Westminster MD schools you are considering. A low rate may be a sign that students were unhappy 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 schools have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job placement 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 substantiate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a large network of employers to assist students in obtaining jobs upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Campuses Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the first things you will most likely consider when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will relocate or perhaps board on campus, the college you pick will need to be within driving distance of your Westminster MD residence. Certainly attending online classes will eliminate 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 not in your resident state, you could be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Junior and community colleges also often charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, going to smaller classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Large classes afford little chance of receiving personalized instruction if needed. One method to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to audit a couple of classes prior to making your final decision. Speak with some of the students and find out what their experiences have been. 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 Maryland criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s important to make sure that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Westminster MD, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And ask 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 Westminster MD?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Westminster MD, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Westminster area where your school campus will be located.
Westminster is a city in northern Maryland, United States. A suburb of Baltimore, it is the seat of Carroll County. The city's population was 18,590 at the 2010 census. Westminster is an outlying community within the Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA, which is part of a greater Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV CSA.
William Winchester (1706-1790) purchased approximately 167 acres of land called White's Level in 1754 which became known as the city of Winchester. The Maryland General Assembly later changed the name of the town to Westminster to avoid confusion with Winchester, the seat of nearby Frederick County, Virginia.
On June 28, 1863, the cavalry skirmish known as Corbit's Charge was fought in the streets of Westminster, when two companies of Delaware cavalry attacked a much larger Confederate force under General J.E.B. Stuart, during the Gettysburg Campaign.
Find the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Westminster MD
Making sure that you select the right criminal justice college near Westminster MD is crucial to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers care which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care as well. Attaining the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the right criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have covered in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you select both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, make certain 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 Colleges That Offer Criminal Justice Majors. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are considering in order to narrow down your options and make the best selection. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will get the proper education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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