How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice College near Santa Fe New Mexico
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Santa Fe New Mexico. But once you have chosen the type of degree you would like to pursue, just how do you undertake choosing a college that will provide the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the school you pick 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 cost for each college. But there are other points that you must evaluate prior to making your ultimate choice. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the college are significant factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a reputable online training program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will address these and other qualifications that you might wish to include in your vetting process when deciding on the right criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s take a look at the criminal justice degrees and majors available along with the benefits of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Santa Fe NM
As with many other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently needed for many careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained advances, so increases the employment opportunities to choose from in Santa Fe NM. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a 2 year degree, it provides an introduction to such areas as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial system. More and more police departments are looking for candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually includes the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates more options 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 after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become experts in a particular area of criminal justice. Along with the options afforded with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And last, for those interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered also. Usually taking anywhere from four to seven years to complete, 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 depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are a number of specializations to pick from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after watching numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV shows. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you must select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Selecting a school and program that specializes in that specialty would certainly be the best decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that case, it would be best to research all of the degree alternatives available from the various colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Santa Fe NM area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the school you have selected, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. 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 equally highly regarded. That’s why it is very important to choose a major first prior to selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Schools Online
Many prospective students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their area, or they may just want the flexibility of earning an online degree. In either case, they will discover that there are accredited options available online. There a large number of colleges domiciled within the USA that provide online degree programs much like those offered on-campus. And for many Santa Fe NM students, especially those who continue to work part or full-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online colleges may make them the sole option. And as an additional benefit, online colleges are frequently more affordable than on campus alternatives. Tuition can be cheaper and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain, just like for any school you are reviewing, that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can study in this kind of unsupervised environment, then earning your degree online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
At this point you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, 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 begin searching for Santa Fe NM area colleges and fine tuning your options. Because there are so many schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s important to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when evaluating colleges. Naturally cost is an important consideration and you will need to select a program that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already mentioned several others as well, including location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those issues and more, following is a list of questions you might want to ask the colleges you are thinking about prior to making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have obtained one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. 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 confirm that the degree program and school you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a top notch education, it will also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Santa Fe NM employers are looking for graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As stated previously, together with accreditation the reputation of the college you select is significant as well. It’s especially critical if you are going into the field with no relevant prior job history. With no prior experience, Santa Fe NM employers will be considering the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are several 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 core curriculum, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the educational programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation may still be well respected for a particular degree program that you may have an interest in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Santa Fe NM schools you are looking at. A lower rate may be a sign that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the course of study. It’s also important that the schools have job placement programs with high placement rates. A job assistance program will help you get that first crucial job after graduation that marks the start of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it also has a substantial network of employers to help students in obtaining jobs upon graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? As we mentioned at the opening of this article, among the first things you will most likely look at when looking 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 pick will have to be within commuting distance of your Santa Fe NM residence. Certainly attending classes online will remove the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to go to a college not in your resident state, you could be charged a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Community 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 disappear in the crowd, going to small classes offers the option for more interaction with the teachers. Large classes provide little chance of getting personalized instruction if needed. One way to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to monitor a couple of classes before making your final determination. Talk to several of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching approaches are. You might also want to inquire as to what their experiences have been in the New Mexico criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it’s crucial to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Santa Fe NM, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. 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 Santa Fe NM?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Santa Fe NM, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Santa Fe area where your school campus will be located.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe (/ˌsæntəˈfeɪ/ or /ˈsæntəˌfeɪ/;[nb 1]Tewa: Oghá P’o'oge, Navajo: Yootó) is the capital and fourth-most populous city of the U.S. state of New Mexico. In addition to being the eponymous seat of Santa Fe County, it has approximately 83,875 inhabitants with a metropolitan area population of approximately 144,170. Due to its geographic location in Northern New Mexico–at the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Rocky Mountains–Santa Fe exhibits an alpine and dry steppe climate with pronounced forestry, various mountain ranges, and large plains, along its city limits. During the winter season, Santa Fe typically experiences large amounts of snowfall and drops in temperature allowing it to maintain New Mexico's third-largest ski resort, Ski Santa Fe, following Angel Fire Resort and Taos Ski Valley. The city's subalpine land elevation is 7,199 feet above sea level, making it the third most highest city in elevation in the United States. It is jointly-eponymous with Santa Fe, Granada, Spain–both cities feature a castle, lion, and the Spanish imperial eagle on their official seals and flags.Spanish culture is celebrated annually in Santa Fe, most notably with Fiestas de Santa Fe and the burning of Zozobra.
The area of Santa Fe has been continuously occupied since 900 BCE, originally inhabited by prehistoric Pueblo and Tanoan hunter-gatherers. Formal settlements spread in the early 1200s, making Santa Fe one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in the Western Hemisphere. Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate led an envoy into the city during the early 17th century as a part of Spain's larger effort to colonize the Americas. New Mexico's first colonial governor, Pedro de Peralta, designated Santa Fe the capital of the Kingdom of New Mexico in 1610, making it the oldest state capital in the United States. The full name of the City of Santa Fe (Spanish: Ciudad de Santa Fe) as founded remains La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís ("The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi"). As the capital of the New Spain, Santa Fe de Nuevo México served as the seat of power for the Spanish Empire in North America. It briefly gained independence from 1680 to 1692 after Pueblo peoples intermittently revolted. After Diego de Vargas reconquered the city for New Spain in the late 1690s, it remained under Spanish rule for more than a century. While Spain lost Santa Fe to Mexico in 1810, Mexico suppressed a Texan raid on Santa Fe in 1841 only to lose it to the United States five years later. Santa Fe was designated the capital of the U.S. State of New Mexico in 1912.
As the cultural and economic centre of New Mexico, the city exerts substantial influence in the state's politics, education, entertainment, environment, media, fashion, science, culture, and the arts. The Governor's Mansion, New Mexico Legislature, and Supreme Court of New Mexico are all headquartered in Santa Fe. It is home to the New Mexico Museum of Art, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, operating the International Folk Art Market and Santa Fe Indian Market during the summers. While it possesses modern infrastructure, the city has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets. Its landmarks include the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, San Miguel Mission, and Santa Fe Plaza. In addition to numerous parks and woodlands, the Santa Fe National Forest is within its northern city limits. The city has one of the most expensive real estate and rental markets in the country. Known for its art market, Santa Fe has the third-largest art market value in the United States, with nearly 250 art galleries and brokers. The city was designated a UNESCO World Creative City in 2005 for its efforts in cultural preservation.
Choose the Ideal Criminal Justice College near Santa Fe NM
Making certain that you choose the right criminal justice program near Santa Fe NM is vital to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers respect which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Achieving the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the right criminal justice school predicated upon your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you decide on both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Also, verify that the college 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. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to evaluate and compare the criminal justice schools you are reviewing in order to narrow down your choices and make the right selection. And when you have made the right decision, you will get the appropriate training so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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