How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice School near Zelienople Pennsylvania
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Zelienople Pennsylvania. But after you have chosen the kind of degree you would like to work toward, just how do you go about choosing a college that will offer the right training to help you achieve your career objectives? Naturally the school you select must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will probably begin by looking for schools that are nearby your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are additional issues that you need to investigate before making your ultimate selection. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the school are important factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at your computer rather than sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online degree program will similarly be a part of your search process. We will deal with these and other criteria that you may want to utilize in your vetting process when picking the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees offered as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Zelienople PA
Just like with many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly required for various careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the job opportunities to choose from in Zelienople PA. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting 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 system. A growing number of police departments are seeking applicants with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree typically covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates additional opportunities for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can take an additional two years of classes in addition to attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become specialists in a particular area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities afforded with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for individuals with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is offered as well. Typically taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for earning any of the 4 degrees will depend on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are many specializations to choose from when determining which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after enjoying numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation shows. Or perhaps you have always wanted to be a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you must select a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a school and program that focuses on that area 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 scenario, it would be advisable to explore all of the degree options offered from the various universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Zelienople PA 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 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 indicate that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly respected. That’s why it is extremely important to decide on a major first prior to picking a college to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Colleges Online
Some students may not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their region, or they might just want the flexibility of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There many colleges domiciled within the USA that provide online degree programs similar to those offered on-campus. And for many Zelienople PA students, particularly those who continue working part or full-time while earning their degree, the accessibility and convenience of online programs in many cases make them the sole option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are frequently more affordable than on campus alternatives. Tuition can be lower and expenditures for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain, as with any college you are reviewing, that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as 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 earning your degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
By now you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you intend to earn your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin searching for Zelienople PA area colleges and fine tuning your options. Since there are a large number of colleges to choose from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s essential to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing schools. Obviously cost is an important factor and you will need to select a college that fits within your academic budget. And we have already discussed several others also, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you might wish to ask the schools you are examining before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have earned one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. One of the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to make sure that the program and college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it will also assist in qualifying for student loans or financial aid, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Zelienople PA employers have a preference for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As stated previously, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you attend is significant as well. It’s especially critical if you are getting in the field with no relevant prior employment history. Without any previous experience, Zelienople PA 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 obtain school 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 aspects contributing to the educational programs. Bear in mind that a school with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be well respected for a particular degree program that you might be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Zelienople PA colleges you are looking at. A lower percentage may be a sign that students were unhappy with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the curriculum. It’s also essential that the colleges have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you get that first crucial job after graduation that marks the starting point 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 sizable network of employers to help students obtain positions after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, one of the first things you will most likely consider when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will move or possibly live on campus, the college you pick will have to be within commuting distance of your Zelienople PA home. Of course attending online classes will eliminate the need for travel and make location a non-issue. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to attend a school not in your state of residence, you could be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also often charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classes? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, going to small classes offers the possibility for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes allow for little chance of receiving one-on-one instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a couple of classes prior to making your final determination. Speak with some of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, speak with the instructors and inquire what their teaching styles are. You might also want to ask what their experiences have been in the Pennsylvania criminal justice field.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it’s important to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Zelienople PA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And find out 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 Zelienople PA?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Zelienople PA, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Zelienople area where your school campus will be located.
Zelienople is located in southwestern Butler County, situated on the south bank of Connoquenessing Creek, in an area that is rich with coal and iron ore. The elevation is 935 feet (285 m) above sea level. The borough is bordered by Jackson Township on the north, southeast, and south, and by the borough of Harmony on the northeast. The western border of Zelienople is the Beaver County line.
U.S. Route 19 (Perry Highway) is the main north-south road through the center of town. Interstate 79, running generally parallel to US 19, passes just to the east of the borough, with access from Exits 85, 87, and 88. Via I-79 and I-279 it is 28 miles (45 km) south to downtown Pittsburgh. To the north I-79 leads 100 miles (160 km) to Erie. Pennsylvania Route 68 runs east from US 19 as East Grandview Avenue and southwest as West Beaver Street. Via PA 68 it is 17 miles (27 km) east to Butler, the county seat, and 12 miles (19 km) southwest to Rochester on the Ohio River. Routes 288 and 588 lead west from town on West New Castle Street, PA 288 turning northwest to lead 10 miles (16 km) to Ellwood City, and PA 588 leading 14 miles (23 km) west to Beaver Falls.
Zelienople was named for the eldest daughter of Baron Dettmar Basse (1762–1836), whose chosen name was Zelie (her given name was Fredericka) which she named herself after her favorite doll. Baron Basse arrived in 1802 from Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and purchased a tract of 10,000 acres (40 km2) of land in Butler and Beaver counties.
Choose the Right Criminal Justice School near Zelienople PA
Making sure that you enroll in the right criminal justice school near Zelienople PA is vital to your obtaining 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 greatest potential success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the ideal criminal justice school based on your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important that the college and degree program you decide on both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, confirm that the school 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 Bachelors In Criminal Justice. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to assess and compare the criminal justice colleges you are reviewing in order to narrow down your options and make the best selection. And when you have made the best decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can start your successful career in criminal justice.
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