How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice College near Wakefield Nebraska
So you have made the decision to earn a criminal justice degree near Wakefield Nebraska. But after you have chosen the type of degree you want to work toward, just how do you tackle choosing a school that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the school you select must offer the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will no doubt start by looking for colleges that are close to your home and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other factors that you should evaluate prior to making your final selection. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the college are important factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than 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 take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees offered as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Wakefield NE
Similar to many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently required for various careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the employment opportunities available in Wakefield NE. There are four degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial system. An increasing number of police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree usually includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more comprehensive education creates more options for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes after obtaining 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 afforded with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for individuals interested in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered also. Usually taking 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 attaining any one of the four degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are a number of specializations to choose from when deciding which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always interested you after enjoying numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation shows. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you must choose a major and a degree in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Choosing a program and a school that focuses on that specialty would clearly be the ideal option toward that end. Maybe you have not yet made up your mind on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that case, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree options offered from the various colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Wakefield NE area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the college you have chosen, research the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Just because a criminal justice school is accredited and has a good reputation as a whole does not guarantee that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is very important to decide on a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Schools
A number of prospective students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their vicinity, or they may just want the flexibility of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There many schools located within the USA that provide degree programs online much like those offered on-campus. And for a number of Wakefield NE students, especially those who continue working part or full-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges may make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online schools are frequently lower in cost than on campus options. Tuition can be cheaper and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure, just like for any school you are considering, that the program you choose 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 environment, then earning your degree online might be the right option for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, including if you want to earn your degree online or by attending classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin looking for Wakefield NE area colleges and narrowing down your options. Since there are numerous schools to select from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing schools. Clearly cost is an important consideration and you will need to select a school that fits within your academic budget. And we have already discussed several others as well, including accreditation, reputation and location. To help you focus on those issues and more, below is a list of questions you might want to ask the colleges you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have acquired 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 an extensive screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative to make sure that the degree program and college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it will also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, many Wakefield NE employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Program’s Reputation? As mentioned previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the school you select is important as well. It’s particularly crucial if you are going into the profession with no relevant previous work history. Without any previous experience, Wakefield NE employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are a number of school rating organizations where you can obtain college reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other aspects contributing to the academic programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation could still be well regarded for a particular degree program that you might have an interest in.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Wakefield NE schools you are considering. A low percentage might be a sign that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the curriculum. 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 a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a sizable network of employers to assist students obtain positions after graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, among the initial things you will probably consider when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or possibly live on campus, the school you choose will need to be within commuting distance of your Wakefield NE home. Naturally attending classes online will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to go to a school outside of your resident state, you may 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 like to get lost in the crowd, going to smaller classes offers the option for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes afford little chance of getting personalized instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to audit a couple of classes prior to making your final decision. Talk to several of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You may also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the Nebraska criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it’s critical to make sure that the final college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wakefield NE, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Wakefield NE?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Wakefield NE, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Wakefield area where your school campus will be located.
Wakefield had its start in the year 1881 by the building of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway through that territory. It was named for L. W. Wakefield, a railroad engineer. Wakefield was incorporated in 1883.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,451 people, 534 households, and 352 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,667.8 inhabitants per square mile (643.9/km2). There were 575 housing units at an average density of 660.9 per square mile (255.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.6% White, 0.4% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 21.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 33.6% of the population.
There were 534 households of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.1% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.23.
Select the Best Criminal Justice Degree Program near Wakefield NE
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice program near Wakefield NE is vital to your receiving the proper training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers value which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Achieving the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the ideal criminal justice college based on your career goals. As we have addressed in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you select both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, verify 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 Accelerated Criminal Justice Degree. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess and compare the criminal justice colleges you are considering so that you can narrow down your options and make the right choice. And when you have made the best decision, you will receive the appropriate training so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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