Selecting the Right Criminal Justice College near Lakeside Arizona
So you have made the decision to pursue a criminal justice degree near Lakeside Arizona. But after you have decided on the type of degree you would like to pursue, just how do you tackle picking a school that will provide the right training to help you realize your career goals? Of course the institution you pick must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you are interested in. And you will undoubtedly begin by looking for colleges that are close to your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are additional points that you need to evaluate before making your final selection. For example, the accreditation and reputation of the college are critical factors also. And if you are interested in attending classes sitting at 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 may want to utilize in your vetting process when picking the best criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the criminal justice degrees and majors available along with the advantages of attending school online.
Available Criminal Justice Degrees near Lakeside AZ
Just like with most other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more frequently required for many careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained advances, so increases the job opportunities available in Lakeside AZ. There are 4 degree levels offered, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a 2 year degree, it offers an overview of such areas 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 typically covers the same subjects as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. The more comprehensive education makes available additional options for such positions as FBI agents, probation officers or intelligence analysits. Advancing to a Master’s Degree can involve an additional two years of classes in addition to earning the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree allows students to become experts in a particular area of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lower degrees, graduates may also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And finally, for those with an interest in research or teaching at the college level, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is available as well. Typically taking anywhere from four to seven 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 be dependent on the credit load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are many specializations to select from when deciding which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after enjoying numerous episodes of the different crime scene investigation TV shows. Or quite possibly you have always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. Whatever your career objective, you need to select a degree and a major in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that position. Enrolling in a school and program that focuses on 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 situation, it would be a good idea to explore all of the degree alternatives offered from the numerous colleges and universities. Following is a partial list of majors for criminal justice degrees offered in the Lakeside AZ area:
- Law enforcement
- Homeland security
- Forensic science
- Social Work
- Crime scene investigation
- Pre-law Studies
- Police science
Prior to enrolling in the school you have chosen, investigate the degree program you are interested in as well as the school. 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 equally highly regarded. That’s why it is extremely important to decide on a major first before selecting a school to enroll in.
Attending Criminal Justice Schools Online
A number of prospective students may not have access to a criminal justice degree college in their vicinity, or they may just want the independence of earning a degree online. Regardless of the reason, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of schools domiciled within the United States that offer degree programs online similar to those offered on campus. And for a number of Lakeside AZ students, particularly those who continue working part or full-time while earning their degree, the convenience and accessibility of online colleges in many cases make them the sole option. And as an added benefit, online schools are frequently more affordable than on campus options. Tuition may be cheaper and expenditures for such things as commuting and study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain, just like for any school you are looking at, 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 motivated, and can study in this type of unsupervised setting, then obtaining your degree online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
By now you have undoubtedly come to a decision on a criminal justice major and degree program, as well as if you want to obtain your degree online or by going to classes on-campus. Having made those decisions, it’s time to begin searching for Lakeside AZ area colleges and narrowing down your options. Because there are so many colleges to select from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s imperative to have a list of qualifying questions to utilize when assessing colleges. Naturally cost is an important consideration and you will need to choose a program that is within your academic budget. And we have already mentioned several others as well, such as location, accreditation and reputation. To help you focus on those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you might want to ask the schools you are examining before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? Many criminal justice schools have earned one or more accreditations from national or regional organizations. Among the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Schools and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have undergone a rigorous screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s essential to confirm that the degree program and college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping assure that you get a quality education, it will also help in qualifying for student loans or financial aid, which are frequently not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of Lakeside AZ employers prefer graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the College? As previously stated, together with accreditation the reputation of the college you select is important as well. It’s especially crucial if you are getting in the field with no relevant previous employment history. With no previous experience, Lakeside AZ 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 obtain college reviews and rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report. They evaluate the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the teachers and other variables contributing to the academic programs. Keep in mind that a school with an overall less than excellent reputation could still be well regarded for a specific degree program that you may be interested in.
What are the Job Placement Rates? Find out what the graduation rates are for the Lakeside AZ schools you are considering. A lower rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit, or that the instructors were not capable of teaching the course of study. It’s also essential that the schools have job assistance programs with high placement rates. A job placement program will help you land that first pivotal 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 considerable network of employers to assist students in obtaining jobs after graduation.
Where are the Colleges Located? As we touched on at the opening of this article, one of the first things you will probably look at when looking for criminal justice colleges is the location of the schools. Unless you have determined that you will relocate or perhaps board on campus, the college you choose will have to be within driving distance of your Lakeside AZ residence. Naturally attending online classes will eliminate the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to go to a college outside of your resident state, you might be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state colleges and universities. Community colleges also tend to charge students higher fees if their residence is outside of the state or school district.
How Big are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, going to smaller classes provides the possibility for more interaction with the teachers. Larger classes afford little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One method to evaluate the interaction between students and faulty is to sit in on a few classes prior to making your ultimate determination. Talk to some of the students and ask what their experiences have been. Also, talk to the instructors and inquire what their teaching approaches are. You may also want to inquire as to what their backgrounds have been in the Arizona criminal justice profession.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s important to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lakeside AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Lakeside AZ?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Lakeside AZ, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Lakeside area where your school campus will be located.
Pinetop–Lakeside is a small town in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. According to 2010 census, the population of the town is 4,282. It was founded in 1984 when the neighboring towns of Pinetop and Lakeside merged.
Pinetop–Lakeside is a popular summer resort and second-home area for Arizona desert residents. In 2002, a large forest fire, the Rodeo-Chediski fire, threatened the town and forced an evacuation. The town is near extensive forests, and in normal times is a popular recreational area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.3 square miles (29 km2), of which, 11.3 square miles (29 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.71%) is water.
Select the Ideal Criminal Justice Degree Program near Lakeside AZ
Making sure that you enroll in the right criminal justice program near Lakeside AZ is vital 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. Attaining the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career begins with choosing the optimal criminal justice college predicated upon your career goals. As we have addressed in this article, it’s essential that the college and degree program you decide on both are accredited and have excellent reputations. Also, make certain that the school has a job placement program with a high success rate for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Criminal Justice Online Schools. 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 choice. And when you have made the right decision, you will receive the appropriate education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
Check Out More Law Abiding Locations in Arizona