Selecting the Right Criminal Justice School near Winston Salem North Carolina
So you have decided to pursue a criminal justice degree near Winston Salem North Carolina. But once you have selected the type of program you want to pursue, just how do you undertake picking a college that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Of course the school you pick must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will probably start by searching for colleges that are near your home and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are additional issues that you must evaluate before making your ultimate decision. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are critical factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online training program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will discuss these and other qualifications that you may wish to include in your vetting process when deciding on the right criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors available along with the advantages of attending school online.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Winston Salem NC
Just like with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly required for many careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Winston Salem NC. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it provides an overview of such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial system. More and more police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree typically covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more expansive education creates more options for such occupations as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional 2 years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become experts in a particular area of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities provided with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And finally, for individuals with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered as well. Usually taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for obtaining any of the four degrees will be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are many specializations to choose from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after watching countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV programs. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you need to pick a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Choosing a school and program that specializes in that specialty would certainly be the best option toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that case, it would be a good idea 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 Winston Salem NC area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the college you have chosen, research the degree program you have an interest in along with the college. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an outstanding 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 prior to picking a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Classes Online
Some prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their region, or they may just want the independence of earning a degree online. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There are numerous colleges located within the USA that provide online degree programs similar to those offered on campus. And for many Winston Salem NC students, especially those who continue working full or part-time while earning their degree, the convenience and accessibility of online schools may make them the sole option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are frequently lower in cost than on campus alternatives. Tuition may be cheaper and costs for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just verify, as with any college you are reviewing, that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can learn in this kind of unsupervised environment, then earning your degree online might be the best alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you intend to earn your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin searching for Winston Salem NC area colleges and fine tuning your options. Since there are so many colleges to select from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when evaluating schools. Obviously cost is an important consideration and you will need to select a program that is within your academic budget. And we have already pointed out several others as well, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you focus on those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you might want to ask the schools you are thinking about prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have received 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 a rigorous screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s essential to verify that the program and school you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it will also assist in acquiring student loans or financial aid, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Winston Salem NC employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Program’s Reputation? As previously mentioned, together with accreditation the reputation of the school you attend is important as well. It’s especially crucial if you are going into the profession with no relevant prior job history. Without any previous experience, Winston Salem NC employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can get college reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the teachers and other variables contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be highly respected for a particular degree program that you might have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Winston Salem NC schools you are reviewing. A low rate may be an indication that students were disappointed 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 imperative that the colleges have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that marks the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but that it also has a substantial network of employers to assist students obtain jobs after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, among the first things you will probably consider when searching 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 Winston Salem NC home. Of course attending online classes will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to go to a school outside of your state of residence, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Junior and community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, attending smaller classes offers the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Bigger classes allow for little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to audit a couple of classes prior to making your ultimate decision. Talk to some of the students and find out what their experiences have been. Also, speak with the instructors and ask them what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the North Carolina criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it’s critical to confirm that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Winston Salem NC, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Winston Salem NC?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Winston Salem NC, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Winston Salem area where your school campus will be located.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem is a city in and the county seat of Forsyth County, North Carolina, United States. With a 2018 estimated population of 245,549 it is the second largest municipality in the Piedmont Triad region and the 5th-most populous city in North Carolina, and the 89th-most populous city in the United States. With a metropolitan population of 667,733 it is the fourth largest metropolitan area in North Carolina and is expected to keep that fourth spot for many more years. Winston-Salem is home to the tallest office building in the region, 100 North Main Street, formerly the Wachovia Building and now known locally as the Wells Fargo Center.
Winston-Salem is called the "Twin City" for its dual heritage and "City of the Arts and Innovation" for its dedication to fine arts and theater and technological research. "Camel City" is a reference to the city's historic involvement in the tobacco industry related to locally based R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company's Camel cigarettes. Many locals refer to the city as "Winston" in informal speech. Another nickname, "the Dash," comes from the (-) in the city's name, although technically it is a hyphen, not a dash; this nickname is only used by the local minor league baseball team, the Winston-Salem Dash.
In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the U.S. by CBS MoneyWatch. Winston-Salem has seen an explosion in growth and urbanization in the downtown area with hotels, entertainment, and apartments being constructed. In 2017, the city was ranked the second-most livable downtown in America by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Pick the Ideal Criminal Justice School near Winston Salem NC
Making certain that you select the ideal criminal justice school near Winston Salem NC is vital to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers respect which school you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Attaining the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the ideal criminal justice college predicated upon your career goals. As we have addressed in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you pick both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, make certain that the college has a job placement program with a strong track record for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Best Criminal Justice Programs. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to assess and compare the criminal justice schools you are considering so that you can narrow down your choices and make the right selection. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will get the proper education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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