How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice School near Worthington Minnesota
So you have made the decision to earn a criminal justice degree near Worthington Minnesota. But once you have selected the type of program you would like to work toward, just how do you tackle selecting a school that will offer the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the school you pick must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will no doubt begin by looking for colleges that are close to your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other points that you need to investigate prior to making your ultimate selection. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the school are significant factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online training program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will deal with these and other criteria that you may wish to utilize in your vetting process when choosing the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees available along with the benefits of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Worthington MN
As with most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently needed for many careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Worthington MN. There are four degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a two year degree, it offers an introduction to such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree typically addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education makes available additional opportunities for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes after earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a specific aspect of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for individuals interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered as well. Generally requiring anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Naturally the time requirements for earning any of the four degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are numerous specializations to choose from when determining which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after watching numerous episodes of the different crime scene investigation TV shows. Or perhaps you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you must pick a major and a degree in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Choosing a school and program that specializes in that specialty would obviously be the ideal option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that case, it would be advisable to research all of the degree options offered from the numerous universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Worthington MN 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, investigate the degree program you have an interest in as well as the college. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has a good reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is extremely important to choose a major first before choosing a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online
A number of students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their area, or they might just want the flexibility of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There are numerous schools located within the United States that offer online degree programs much like those offered on campus. And for a number of Worthington MN students, particularly those who continue to work full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online programs in many cases make them the sole option. And as an added benefit, online schools are frequently lower in cost than on-campus options. Tuition may be lower and expenditures for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced also. Just make sure, just like for any school you are considering, that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can learn in this kind of unsupervised environment, then obtaining your degree online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
By now you have no doubt 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 attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start looking for Worthington MN area schools and fine tuning your options. Because there are a large number of schools to pick from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when analyzing colleges. Certainly cost is a significant consideration and you will need to enroll in a college that fits within your scholastic budget. And we have already pointed out a few others as well, including reputation, location and accreditation. To help you focus on those issues and more, below is a list of questions you may want to ask the colleges you are examining before making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have acquired one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. One of the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone an extensive screening of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s imperative to confirm that the degree 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 confirm that you obtain a top notch education, it will also aid in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Worthington MN employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the College? As previously stated, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the school you enroll in is significant as well. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the field with no relevant previous employment history. Without any prior experience, Worthington MN employers will be considering 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 obtain college rankings and reviews, such as U.S. News and World Report. They examine the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation could still be highly respected for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Worthington MN schools you are reviewing. A lower percentage might be an indicator that students were unhappy with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also imperative that the schools have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that marks the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help verify that the college has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a sizable network of employers to help students secure positions after graduation.
Where are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, among the initial things you will most likely look at when looking for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or perhaps live on campus, the school you select will need to be within driving distance of your Worthington MN residence. Certainly attending classes online will remove the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to attend a school outside of your state of residence, you may be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state colleges and universities. Community and junior colleges also tend to 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 small classes offers the option for more interaction with the teachers. Larger classes allow for little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One way to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a couple of classes prior to making your final determination. Talk to several of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, talk to the instructors and ask them what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Minnesota criminal justice field.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it’s important to confirm that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Worthington MN, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. 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 Worthington MN?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Worthington MN, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Worthington area where your school campus will be located.
The city's site was first settled in the 1870s as Okabena Station on a line of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway, later the Chicago and North Western Railway (now part of the Union Pacific Railroad) where steam engines would take on water from adjacent Lake Okabena. More people entered along with one A.P. Miller of Toledo, Ohio, under a firm called the National Colony Organization. Miller named the new city after his wife's maiden name. As of 2016 the city has often been called “Woo Town”, a slang abbreviation of the phrase “Worthington Town.” created by centennials around late 1990s.
The first European likely to have visited the Nobles County area of southwestern Minnesota was French explorer Joseph Nicollet. Nicollet mapped the area between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in the 1830s. He called the region “Sisseton Country” in honor of the Sisseton band of Dakota Indians then living there. It was a rolling sea of wide open prairie grass that extended as far as the eye could see. One small lake in Sisseton Country was given the name “Lake Okabena” on Nicollet’s map, “Okabena” being a Dakota word meaning “nesting place of the herons.”
In 1871, the St. Paul & Sioux City Railway Company began connecting its two namesake cities with a rail line. The steam engines of that time required a large quantity of water, resulting in water stations being needed every eight to twelve miles (13 to 19 km) along their routes. One of these stations, at the site of present-day Worthington, was designated as “The Okabena Railway Station.”
Select the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Worthington MN
Making certain that you pick the ideal criminal justice college near Worthington MN is essential to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers value which school you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Attaining the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the best criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have addressed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you decide on both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Also, make sure that the college has a job placement program with a high success rate for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Degree Schools. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at so that you can narrow down your options and make the best selection. And when you have made the correct decision, you will get the proper training so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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