Choosing the Right Criminal Justice School near Stephenson West Virginia
So you have decided to attain a criminal justice degree near Stephenson West Virginia. But after you have decided on the kind of program you would like to work toward, just how do you go about choosing a school that will provide the right training to help you realize your career objectives? Naturally the institution you select must provide the criminal justice major and degree that you have an interest in. And you will probably begin by looking for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the tuition for each school. But there are other factors that you need to evaluate before making your ultimate choice. For instance, the accreditation and reputation of the college are significant factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes in front of your computer as opposed to sitting in a classroom, then locating a reputable online degree program will similarly be a part of your due diligence process. We will deal with these and other qualifications that you may wish to include in your vetting process when picking the right criminal justice college for you. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice majors and degrees offered along with the benefits of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Stephenson WV
As with many other professions, criminal justice degrees are becoming more frequently required for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree earned increases, so increases the employment opportunities available in Stephenson WV. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a two 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 at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree normally addresses the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more extensively. The more comprehensive education makes available additional options for such professions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional 2 years of classes in addition to attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become experts in a specific area of criminal justice. In addition to the options afforded with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. Finally, for students interested in research or teaching at the college level, the PhD or Doctoral Degree is available also. Typically taking anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Naturally the time requirements for earning any one of the four degrees will depend on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Major Programs
There are numerous specialties to select from when considering 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 TV programs. Or perhaps you have always dreamed of being a police officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career goal, you must pick a degree and a major in criminal justice that will ready and qualify you for that job. Selecting a school and program that focuses on that area would obviously be the best decision toward that end. Maybe you have not yet made up your mind on a specialty or a career focus yet. In that case, it would be a good idea to explore all of the degree alternatives offered from the numerous colleges and universities. Below is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Stephenson WV 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 selected, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Just because 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 extremely important to choose a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online
A number of prospective students might not have access to a criminal justice degree school in their region, or they may just prefer the flexibility of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will discover that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of colleges located within the USA that offer online degree programs much like those offered on-campus. And for many Stephenson WV students, particularly those who continue to work full or part-time while attending college, the convenience and accessibility of online schools in many cases make them the only option. And as an additional benefit, online schools are frequently more affordable than on campus options. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure, just like for any school you are considering, that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged 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 setting, then obtaining your degree online may be the ideal 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 attending classes on campus. With those decisions made, it’s time to begin searching for Stephenson WV area colleges and fine tuning your options. Because there are a large number of schools to pick from, in fact hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when reviewing colleges. Naturally cost is an important consideration and you will need to enroll in a program that fits within your academic budget. And we have already addressed a few others also, including reputation, location and accreditation. To help you focus on those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you might want to ask the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice Program Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have obtained one or more accreditations from regional or national agencies. One of the most respected is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through an extensive screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s important to confirm that the program and college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization for several reasons. In addition to helping ensure that you get a top notch education, it will also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Stephenson WV employers are looking for graduates of colleges that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As mentioned previously, in conjunction with accreditation the reputation of the college you choose is important as well. It’s especially critical if you are entering the field with no relevant previous employment history. Without any prior experience, Stephenson WV employers will be weighing the quality of your education as a primary factor when reviewing your resume. There are several college rating organizations where you can obtain 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 educational programs. Keep in mind that a college with an overall less than outstanding reputation could still be highly respected for a particular degree program that you might have an interest in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Ask what the graduation rates are for the Stephenson WV schools you are reviewing. A lower rate might be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not capable 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 get that first crucial job after graduation that marks the beginning of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help validate that the college has an excellent reputation within the industry, but that it also has a sizable network of employers to assist students secure positions upon graduation.
Where are the Campuses Located? As we touched on at the beginning of this article, among the initial things you will most likely consider 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 pick will need to be within driving distance of your Stephenson WV home. Naturally attending classes online will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a non-issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to attend a school not in your state of residence, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, especially for state colleges and universities. Junior and community colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the state or school district.
How Big are the Classes? Unless you like to disappear in the crowd, attending smaller classes provides the option for more interaction with the teachers. Big classes allow for little chance of getting individualized instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a couple of classes prior to making your final decision. Speak with some 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 inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the West Virginia criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? 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 true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Stephenson WV, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. 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 Stephenson WV?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Stephenson WV, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Stephenson area where your school campus will be located.
Stephenson, West Virginia
Stephenson is an unincorporated community in Wyoming County, West Virginia, United States. Part of the community was known as Devils Fork, West Virginia until 1935. The community was named after W. G. Stephenson, a mining official.
Enroll in the Best Criminal Justice Degree Program near Stephenson WV
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal criminal justice college near Stephenson WV is essential to your receiving the appropriate training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers care which school you earned your criminal justice degree from, so it’s to your benefit to care also. Attaining the ultimate potential success in your criminal justice career starts with choosing the optimal criminal justice college based on your career objectives. As we have discussed in this article, it’s imperative that the school and degree program you select both have excellent reputations and are accredited. Additionally, make sure that the school has a job assistance program with a high success rate for placing its graduates. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Bachelor Degree. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to analyze and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at so that you can narrow down your options and make the right choice. And when you have made the correct decision, you will receive the appropriate training so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
Check Out More Law Abiding Locations in West Virginia