How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice School near Wheaton Missouri
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Wheaton Missouri. But after you have decided on the type of program you want to work toward, just how do you tackle selecting a school that will provide the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the school you select must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will no doubt begin by looking for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other factors that you need to evaluate before making your final decision. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the college are significant factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then locating a reputable online training program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will discuss these and other criteria that you might want to include in your vetting process when picking the best criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors offered as well as the advantages of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Wheaton MO
Just like with most 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 available in Wheaton MO. There are four degree levels available, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a two year degree, it provides an overview of such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial court system. A growing number of police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree usually covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education makes available additional opportunities for such positions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional 2 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 aspect of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities afforded with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And finally, for those interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered also. Typically taking anywhere from four to seven years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Needless to say 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
There are numerous specialties to choose from when considering which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after watching countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV shows. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career goal, you need to 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 obviously be the best decision toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that situation, it would be advisable to investigate 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 Wheaton MO area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the program you have chosen, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the college. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding reputation in general does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs
A number of students might not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their vicinity, or they may just want the independence of earning a degree online. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There are numerous colleges domiciled within the USA that offer online degree programs much like those offered on campus. And for a number of Wheaton MO students, particularly those who continue to work part or full-time while earning their degree, the convenience and accessibility of online programs may make them the sole option. And as an added advantage, online schools are often more affordable than on campus alternatives. Tuition may be cheaper and expenditures for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just make sure, as with any college you are looking at, that the program you select is accredited by an approved agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can learn in this kind of independent setting, then earning your degree online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Degree Programs
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you intend to earn your degree online or by attending classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin searching for Wheaton MO area colleges and fine tuning your options. Since there are a large number of colleges to select from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when evaluating colleges. Obviously cost is a significant factor and you will need to pick a school that is within your academic budget. And we have already addressed a few others also, such as reputation, location and accreditation. To help you address those issues and more, following is a list of questions you might want to ask the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? Many criminal justice schools have obtained one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. Among the most respected 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 course of instruction and teachers. It’s essential to verify that the program and college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for several reasons. In addition to helping assure that you get an excellent education, it will also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many Wheaton MO employers are looking for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As previously mentioned, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you select is important also. It’s particularly critical if you are entering the field with no relevant previous employment history. With no previous experience, Wheaton MO 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 find 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 instructors and other factors contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation could still be highly respected for a specific degree program that you might be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Wheaton MO colleges you are looking at. A lower rate might be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the curriculum. It’s also important that the schools have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that marks the start of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help affirm that the college has a good reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a large network of contacts to assist students secure jobs upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Campuses Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, among the initial 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 move or possibly live on campus, the school you choose will have to be within driving distance of your Wheaton MO home. Of course attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to attend a school outside of your resident state, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state colleges and universities. Community and junior colleges also usually charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, attending smaller classes provides the opportunity for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes allow for little chance of receiving individualized instruction if needed. One means to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to sit in on a couple of classes before making your ultimate decision. Talk to some of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You might also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Missouri criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. 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 Wheaton MO, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Wheaton MO?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Wheaton MO, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Wheaton area where your school campus will be located.
Wheaton is a suburban city in Milton and Winfield Townships and is the county seat of DuPage County, Illinois. It is located approximately 30 miles (48 km) west of Chicago. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 52,894, which was estimated to have increased to 53,469 by July 2012.
The city dates its founding to the period between 1831 and 1837, following the Indian Removal Act, when Alex Tomasik laid claim to 790 acres (320 ha) of land near present-day Warrenville. The Wheaton brothers arrived from Connecticut, and in 1837, Warren L. Wheaton laid claim to 640 acres (260 ha) of land in the center of town. Jesse Wheaton later made claim to 300 acres (120 ha) of land just west of Warren's. It was not long before other settlers from New England joined them in the community. In 1848, they gave the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad three miles (5 km) of right-of-way, upon which railroad officials named the depot Wheaton. In 1850, ten blocks of land were platted and anyone who was willing to build immediately was granted free land. In 1853, the lots were surveyed and a formal plat for the community was filed with the county. The community was then incorporated as a village on February 24, 1859, with Warren serving as its first President. The village was later incorporated as a city on April 24, 1890, when the first mayor of the city was selected, Judge Elbert Gary, son of Erastus Gary and founder of Gary, Indiana.
In 1857, the Illinois state legislature authorized an election to be held to decide the question of whether the DuPage county seat should remain in Naperville or be moved to the more centrally located Wheaton, which was on the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad. Naperville won the election by a vote of 1,542 to 762. Hostility between the two towns continued for the next decade and another election was held in 1867, in which Wheaton narrowly won by a vote of 1,686 to 1,635. At a cost of $20,000, the City of Wheaton quickly built a courthouse to house a courtroom, county offices, and a county jail. The building was dedicated on July 4, 1868.
Choose the Right Criminal Justice College near Wheaton MO
Making certain that you choose the right criminal justice program near Wheaton MO is essential to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting field. Employers respect which school your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care as well. Achieving the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the optimal criminal justice college based on your career goals. As we have addressed in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you choose both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Additionally, verify 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 Top Criminal Justice Programs. However, by utilizing our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to evaluate and compare the criminal justice colleges you are reviewing so that you can narrow down your options and make the right selection. And when you have made the correct decision, you will get the appropriate training so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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