Choosing the Right Criminal Justice School near Southaven Mississippi
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Southaven Mississippi. But after you have decided on the kind of program you want to work toward, just how do you tackle picking a school that will offer the proper training to help you realize your career goals? Naturally the college you choose must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will undoubtedly start by searching for colleges that are close to your residence and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are additional points that you need to evaluate before making your ultimate decision. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college 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 reputable online degree program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will address these and other qualifications that you might want to utilize in your vetting process when deciding on the right criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors available as well as the advantages of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Southaven MS
As with many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently required for many careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Southaven MS. There are 4 degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are seeking applicants with no less than an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree normally includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education creates more opportunities for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional two years of classes in addition to earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a particular facet of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities provided with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And last, for individuals with an interest in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered as well. Usually requiring anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete, 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 Majors Offered
There are many specialties to pick from when considering which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after viewing countless episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation shows. Or maybe you have always wanted to be a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you must select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a school and program that specializes in that specialty would obviously 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 situation, it would be advisable to research all of the degree options available from the various universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Southaven MS area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the program you have selected, research the degree program you have an interest in along with the college. Just because a criminal justice school is accredited and has an excellent reputation as a whole does not mean that all of its specialty programs are equally highly respected. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first prior to selecting a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Online Schools
Many students might not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their vicinity, or they might just want the independence of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There a large number of colleges domiciled within the United States that provide online degree programs similar to the ones offered on campus. And for a number of Southaven MS students, particularly those who continue working full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges in many cases make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are often more affordable than on-campus options. Tuition may be cheaper and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just verify, just like for any college you are considering, that the program you enroll in 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 learn in this type of independent environment, then obtaining your degree online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
By now you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, as well as if you want to obtain your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start searching for Southaven MS area colleges and fine tuning your options. Because there are numerous schools to pick from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when assessing schools. Obviously cost is a significant consideration and you will need to choose a program that fits within your academic budget. And we have already addressed several others as well, including reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those issues and more, following is a list of questions you may wish to ask the schools you are examining prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have obtained one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. One of the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through a rigorous screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to confirm that the degree program and school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. Along with helping confirm that you get a top notch education, it will also help in acquiring student loans or financial aid, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Southaven MS employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As previously mentioned, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the school you select is significant as well. It’s especially crucial if you are getting in the profession with no relevant previous work history. With no previous experience, Southaven MS 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 college reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They consider 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 college with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be well regarded for a specific degree program that you may be interested in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Southaven MS colleges you are considering. A low rate may be an indicator that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also essential that the schools have job placement programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that marks the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help verify that the college has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a substantial network of contacts to help students secure positions upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Campuses Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the initial things you will probably look at when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will relocate or possibly live on campus, the college you select will need to be within commuting distance of your Southaven MS home. Of course attending classes online will remove the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to attend a school not in your resident state, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community and junior colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you prefer to disappear in the crowd, attending small classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Bigger classes allow for little chance of getting personalized instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to sit in on a few classes prior to making your final decision. Speak with several of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Mississippi criminal justice field.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it’s important to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Southaven MS, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Southaven MS?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Southaven MS, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Southaven area where your school campus will be located.
Southaven is a city in DeSoto County, Mississippi, United States. It is a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, and a principal city in the Memphis metropolitan area. The 2010 census reported a population of 48,982, making Southaven the third-largest city in Mississippi and the second most populous suburb of Memphis. Southaven is traversed from north to south by the I-55/I-69 freeway. The city's name derives from the fact that Southaven is located south of Whitehaven, a neighborhood in Memphis.
Southaven began as a village when Memphis homebuilder Kemmons Wilson (founder of Holiday Inn) wished to develop a few residential subdivisions featuring small starter homes just across the Mississippi border from Whitehaven, Tennessee, an unincorporated suburb of Memphis. Whitehaven was eventually annexed by Memphis. Officially incorporated in 1980, Southaven is one of the fastest-growing cities in the southeastern United States. In just 20 years, Southaven doubled its land area, while its population tripled.
The construction of Interstate 55 through Southaven in the 1970s helped to promote growth and make for easier access to the city from Memphis, Jackson, St. Louis, and Chicago. Interstate 69, which will eventually run from Canada to Mexico, was cosigned with I-55 in Southaven in 2007.
Find the Ideal Criminal Justice Degree Program near Southaven MS
Making certain that you select the right criminal justice school near Southaven MS is essential to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this exciting and growing profession. Employers value which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care also. Achieving the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career starts with selecting the ideal criminal justice college predicated upon your career goals. As we have covered in this article, it’s important that the college and degree program you pick both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Also, confirm that the college has a job assistance program with a high success rate for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Law Enforcement Colleges. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess and compare the criminal justice schools you are reviewing in order to narrow down your options and make the right choice. And when you have made the correct decision, you will receive the proper education so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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