Choosing the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Yakima Washington
So you have made the decision to pursue a criminal justice degree near Yakima Washington. But after you have chosen the type of degree you want to pursue, just how do you tackle picking a college that will provide the right training to help you achieve your career goals? Of course the college you pick must offer the criminal justice degree and major that you are interested in. And you will no doubt start by searching for colleges that are close to your home and comparing the cost for each school. But there are additional points that you need to examine before making your final decision. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the college are important factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes in front of your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then finding a quality online training program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will cover these and other criteria that you might want to utilize in your vetting process when choosing the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees available along with the benefits of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered near Yakima WA
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 obtained increases, so increases the employment opportunities available in Yakima WA. There are 4 degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Usually a two year degree, it offers an overview of such areas as law enforcement, corrections and the judiciary system. An increasing number of police departments are seeking candidates with no less than an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree normally addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more expansive education creates more opportunities for such professions as FBI agents, intelligence analysts or probation officers. Progressing to a Master’s Degree can require an additional two years of classes after earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree enables students to become specialists in a specific area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities afforded with the lesser degrees, graduates may also become instructors, court officers or social caseworkers. And finally, for individuals interested in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available as well. Generally 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 Offered
There are a number of specializations to choose from when determining which major to pursue for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always fascinated you after enjoying countless episodes of the various crime scene investigation shows. Or maybe you have always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career goal, you need to select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a program and a school that focuses on that specialty would clearly be the ideal decision toward that end. Possibly you have not yet decided on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that situation, it would be advisable to investigate all of the degree alternatives offered from the various universities and colleges. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Yakima WA area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the program you have decided on, research the degree program you are interested in along with the school. Even if a criminal justice school is accredited and has a good reputation as a whole does not indicate that all of its specialty programs are equally highly respected. That’s why it is extremely important to decide on a major first before choosing a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online
A number of prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their region, or they might just want the convenience of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There many colleges located within the USA that offer degree programs online much like those offered on-campus. And for many Yakima WA students, particularly those who continue working 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 schools are frequently lower in cost than on campus options. Tuition may be cheaper and expenses for such things as study materials and commuting may be eliminated or reduced also. Just make certain, just like for any school you are considering, that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are dedicated, and can learn in this type of independent environment, then obtaining your degree online might be the best option for you.
Concerns to Ask Criminal Justice Programs
By now you have no doubt come to a decision on a criminal justice degree program and a major, as well as if you want to obtain your degree online or by attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to start looking for Yakima WA area schools and narrowing down your options. Because there are a large number of schools to pick from, in fact hundreds within the USA alone, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifying questions to utilize when evaluating schools. Certainly cost is a significant factor and you will need to pick a program that is within your academic budget. And we have already addressed several others also, such as accreditation, reputation and location. To help you address those issues and more, below is a list of questions you may wish to ask the colleges you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Criminal Justice Degree Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice schools have obtained one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. Among the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through a rigorous assessment of their course of instruction and teachers. It’s important to verify that the program and college you enroll in are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for a number of reasons. In addition to helping assure that you get a quality education, it will also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Additionally, a number of Yakima WA employers are looking for 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 college you select is important also. It’s particularly crucial if you are going into the profession with no relevant prior job history. Without any previous experience, Yakima WA 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 find college reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They consider the quality of the course of instruction, the reputation of the instructors and other variables contributing to the academic programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be highly regarded for a specific degree program that you may have an interest in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Yakima WA colleges you are considering. A lower rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also important that the colleges have job assistance programs with higher placement rates. A job assistance program will help you obtain that first pivotal job after graduation that denotes the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A higher placement rate will not only help substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but that it additionally has a sizable network of employers to help students secure positions upon graduation.
How Far Away are the Schools Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, among the first things you will probably consider when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have decided that you will relocate or perhaps live on campus, the college you pick will have to be within commuting distance of your Yakima WA residence. Of course attending online classes will eliminate the need for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to attend a school outside of your state of residence, you could be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state universities and colleges. Community and junior colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the state or school district.
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 teachers. Big classes allow for little chance of receiving individualized instruction if needed. One way to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to sit in on a few classes before making your ultimate determination. Talk to some of the students and find out what they have experienced. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to ask what their backgrounds have been in the Washington criminal justice field.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s critical to verify that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Yakima WA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Yakima WA?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Yakima WA, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Yakima area where your school campus will be located.
Yakima (/ˈjækɪmɑː/ or /ˈjækɪmə/) is a city in and the county seat of Yakima County, Washington, and the state's eleventh-largest city by population. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 91,067 and a metropolitan population of 243,231. The unincorporated suburban areas of West Valley and Terrace Heights are considered a part of greater Yakima.
Yakima is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Mount Rainier in Washington. It is situated in the Yakima Valley, a productive agricultural region noted for apple, wine and hop production. As of 2011, the Yakima Valley produces 77% of all hops grown in the United States. The name Yakima originates from the Yakama Nation Native American tribe, whose reservation is located south of the city.
The Yakama people were the first known inhabitants of the Yakima Valley. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition came to the area and discovered abundant wildlife and rich soil, prompting the settlement of homesteaders. A Catholic Mission was established in Ahtanum, southwest of present-day Yakima, in 1847. The arrival of settlers and their conflicts with the natives resulted in the Yakima War. The U.S. Army established Fort Simcoe in 1856 near present-day White Swan as a response to the uprising. The Yakamas were defeated and forced to relocate to the Yakama Indian Reservation.
Find the Right Criminal Justice College near Yakima WA
Making certain that you select the right criminal justice school near Yakima WA is crucial to your obtaining the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers respect which school you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s in your best interest to care as well. Attaining the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the right criminal justice college predicated upon your career objectives. As we have addressed in this article, it’s important that the school and degree program you select both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Additionally, verify that the school has a job assistance program with a strong track record for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Online Criminal Justice Programs. However, by going through our checklist of questions, you will have the ability to analyze and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at so that you can narrow down your options and make the best selection. And when you have made the ideal decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can begin your successful career in criminal justice.
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