How to Choose the Right Criminal Justice College near Orangeburg South Carolina
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Orangeburg South Carolina. But after you have selected the kind of degree you would like to work toward, just how do you tackle selecting a school that will offer the proper training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the school you select must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will probably start by searching for schools that are nearby your residence and comparing the tuition for each college. But there are additional considerations that you should evaluate before making your final choice. For example, the reputation and accreditation of the school are important factors as well. And if you have an interest in attending classes in front of your computer as opposed to 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 want to include in your vetting process when picking the ideal criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees offered as well as the benefits of attending online schools.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Orangeburg SC
As with most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently required for many positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the job opportunities available in Orangeburg SC. There are four degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a two year degree, it provides an introduction to such specialties as law enforcement, corrections and the judicial system. More and more police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The 4 year Bachelor’s Degree usually addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates additional 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 allows students to become experts in a particular aspect of criminal justice. Along with the opportunities afforded with the lower degrees, graduates can also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And last, for individuals with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered as well. Usually taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more intense version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for attaining any of the four degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Available Criminal Justice Majors
There are numerous specialties to select from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying numerous episodes of the various crime scene investigation TV programs. Or perhaps you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career goal, you need to 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 specializes in that specialty would certainly be the ideal decision toward that end. Perhaps you have not yet decided on a career focus or a specialty yet. In that case, it would be advisable to explore 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 Orangeburg SC area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the program you have decided on, research the degree program you have an interest in as well as the college. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has an excellent reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is very important to decide on a major first prior to picking a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs
Many prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their region, or they might just prefer the flexibility of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There many schools domiciled within the United States that offer online degree programs similar to those offered on-campus. And for many Orangeburg SC students, particularly those who continue working part or full-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online colleges in many cases make them the only option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are frequently lower in cost than on-campus alternatives. Tuition can be lower and costs for such things as study materials and commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, just like for any school you are reviewing, that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can study in this type of unsupervised environment, then earning your degree online might be the best alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
By now you have undoubtedly decided on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you intend to obtain your degree online or by attending classes on campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to start looking for Orangeburg SC area colleges and fine tuning your options. Because there are numerous schools to choose from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing schools. Clearly cost is an important factor and you will need to choose a program that is within your scholastic budget. And we have already addressed a few others also, including location, accreditation and reputation. To help you focus on those issues and more, following is a list of questions you may want to ask the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have acquired one or more accreditations from regional or national organizations. One of the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone an extensive screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative to make sure that the degree program and school 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 a top notch education, it will also aid in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of Orangeburg SC employers are looking for graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the Reputation of the Program? As previously stated, together with accreditation the reputation of the college you select is significant also. It’s especially critical if you are going into the profession with no relevant previous employment history. Without any previous experience, Orangeburg SC employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a key factor when going over your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can find college reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the teachers and other factors contributing to the academic 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 may be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Orangeburg SC colleges you are reviewing. A lower percentage might be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the curriculum. It’s also imperative that the colleges have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job assistance program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the starting point of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help affirm that the college has a good reputation within the field, but that it additionally has a considerable network of employers to assist students secure positions after graduation.
Where are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, one of the initial things you will most likely look at when searching for criminal justice degree programs is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will move or possibly board on campus, the college you enroll in will need to be within driving distance of your Orangeburg SC home. Naturally attending online classes will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you opt to go to a school not in your resident state, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the state or school district.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you like to get lost in the crowd, going to small classes offers the option for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes allow for little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between students and faulty is to monitor a couple of classes prior to making your ultimate determination. Speak with several of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, talk to the instructors and ask them what their teaching styles are. You might also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the South Carolina criminal justice field.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Orangeburg SC, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Orangeburg SC?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Orangeburg SC, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Orangeburg area where your school campus will be located.
Orangeburg, South Carolina
Orangeburg, also known as The Garden City, is the principal city in and the county seat of Orangeburg County, South Carolina, United States. The population of the city was 13,964 according to the 2010 United States Census. The city is located 37 miles southeast of Columbia, on the north fork of the Edisto River in the Piedmont area.
European settlement in this area started in 1704 when George Sterling set up a post here for fur trade with Indians. To encourage settlement, the General Assembly of the Province of South Carolina in 1730 organized the area as a township, naming it Orangeburg for Prince William IV of Orange, the son-in-law of King George II of Great Britain. In 1735, a colony of 200 Swiss, German and Dutch immigrants formed a community near the banks of the North Edisto River. The site was attractive because of the fertile soil and the abundance of wildlife. The river provided the all-important transportation waterway to the port of Charleston on the Atlantic coast for the area's agriculture and lumber products, and for shipping goods upriver. The town soon became a well-established and successful colony, composed chiefly of small yeomen farmers.
Orangeburg's first church was established by a German Lutheran congregation. It later identified as an Anglican Church, which was the established church and exempt from colonial taxation. The church building was erected prior to 1763 in the center of the village; it was destroyed by fighting during the Revolutionary War. A new church was built; during the Civil War, it was used as a smallpox hospital by General William Tecumseh Sherman on his march through with Union forces.
Choose the Ideal Criminal Justice Degree Program near Orangeburg SC
Making certain that you choose the right criminal justice college near Orangeburg SC is essential to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers value which college you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care as well. Achieving the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the right criminal justice school based on your career goals. As we have addressed in this article, it’s imperative that the college and degree program you pick both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Also, make certain 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 Best Online Criminal Justice Schools. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess 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 ideal decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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