How to Pick the Right Criminal Justice School near Weatherford Texas
So you have made the decision to pursue a criminal justice degree near Weatherford Texas. But after you have chosen the kind of program you want to pursue, just how do you go about picking a college that will offer the right training to help you realize your career objectives? Of course the institution you choose must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you are interested in. And you will undoubtedly start by looking for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other factors that you should examine before making your ultimate selection. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the college are critical factors as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then locating a reputable online degree program will also be a part of your search process. We will address these and other criteria 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 as well as the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Weatherford TX
As with most other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more commonly needed for many positions in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Weatherford TX. There are 4 degree levels offered, beginning with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Normally a 2 year degree, it offers an overview of such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judicial court system. More and more police departments are looking for applicants with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually covers the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education creates more opportunities for such occupations as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing 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 experts in a specific aspect of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities afforded with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And last, for those interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available also. Generally taking anywhere from 4 to 7 years to finish, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Needless to say the time requirements for obtaining any one of the 4 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 elect for your criminal justice degree. Perhaps CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying countless episodes of the assorted crime scene investigation shows. Or perhaps you have always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career goal, you need to choose a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Selecting a program and a school that specializes in that area would naturally be the best 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 best to research all of the degree alternatives available from the various universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Weatherford TX area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Before enrolling in the college you have decided on, research the degree program you are interested in as well as the college. Even if a criminal justice college is accredited and has an excellent reputation in general does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are equally highly regarded. That’s why it is essential to choose a major first before choosing a college to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Online Schools
Many students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their region, or they might just want the flexibility of earning an online degree. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited options available online. There many colleges domiciled within the United States that provide online degree programs similar to the ones offered on-campus. And for many Weatherford TX students, particularly those who continue to work part or full-time while earning their degree, the convenience and accessibility of online colleges may make them the sole option. And as an additional benefit, online colleges are frequently lower in cost than on-campus alternatives. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain, as with any school you are reviewing, that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are motivated, and can study in this type of independent environment, then obtaining your degree online may be the best alternative for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Schools
At this point you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, including if you want to earn your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin searching for Weatherford TX area colleges and narrowing down your options. Because there are numerous colleges to pick from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s essential to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing schools. Obviously cost is a significant factor and you will need to select a program that is within your academic budget. And we have already mentioned several others also, including location, accreditation and reputation. To help you address those concerns and more, following is a list of questions you may wish to ask the schools you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice School Accredited? Many criminal justice schools have acquired one or more accreditations from regional or national 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 an extensive screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s essential to make sure that the degree program and school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. In addition to helping assure that you get a top notch education, it will also assist in qualifying for financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Weatherford TX employers prefer graduates of colleges that are accredited with excellent reputations.
What is the School’s Reputation? As stated previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you attend is significant as well. It’s particularly crucial if you are going into the field with no relevant prior work history. Without any previous experience, Weatherford TX employers will be evaluating the quality of your education as a key factor when reviewing your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can get school reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other factors contributing to the educational programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than excellent reputation might still be highly regarded for a particular degree program that you might have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation percentages are for the Weatherford TX colleges you are reviewing. A lower rate might 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 course of study. It’s also imperative that the colleges 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 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 obtain jobs after graduation.
How Far Away are the Colleges Located? As we touched on at the opening of this article, among the initial things you will probably look at when searching for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or perhaps live on campus, the school you choose will need to be within commuting distance of your Weatherford TX home. Naturally attending classes online will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you opt to attend a college not in your resident state, you may be charged a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state universities and colleges. Junior and community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the state or school district.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, going to small classes provides the opportunity for more interaction with the teachers. Large classes provide little chance of getting 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 decision. Talk to 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 may also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Texas criminal justice field.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it’s critical to verify that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Weatherford TX, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Weatherford TX?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Weatherford TX, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Weatherford area where your school campus will be located.
In 1854, Methodist Reverend Pleasant Tackett led 15 pioneer families into a land they called "Goshen," which would later become part of Parker County, itself to be created the following year by the efforts of State Representative Isaac Parker and State Senator Thomas Jefferson Weatherford in the Texas State Legislature.[a] Evidence of a prior, failed attempt to colonize the region can be found in the abandoned cabin from 1852-53 located 6 miles (9.7 km) south of modern Weatherford on the J.H. Voorhies farm. In 1856
The railroad arrived in June 1880. The Santa Fe Depot (which houses the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce) was built in 1908 under Jim Crow laws, with waiting rooms segregated and separated by the ticket office.
Cattle drover Oliver Loving is buried in Weatherford's Greenwood Cemetery. After being attacked by Indians in New Mexico in 1867, Loving's dying wish to his friend, Charles Goodnight, was to be buried at his home, Parker County. Goodnight brought the body back six hundred miles by wagon for burial. The story is the inspiration behind Texas author Larry McMurtry’s novel, Lonesome Dove.
Pick the Best Criminal Justice College near Weatherford TX
Making certain that you pick the ideal criminal justice program near Weatherford TX is vital to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this exciting and growing field. Employers care which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s in your best interest to care as well. Achieving the ultimate possible success in your criminal justice career begins with selecting the best criminal justice school based on your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you decide on both have excellent reputations and are accredited. In addition, verify that the school has a job assistance program with a strong track record for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Studies. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess and compare the criminal justice schools you are reviewing so that you can narrow down your options and make the best choice. And when you have made the best decision, you will receive the appropriate training so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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