Picking the Right Criminal Justice College near Montgomery Alabama
So you have made the decision to attain a criminal justice degree near Montgomery Alabama. But once you have selected the type of degree you want to work toward, just how do you go about selecting a school that will offer the proper training to help you realize your career objectives? Of course the institution you select must provide the criminal justice degree and major that you have an interest in. And you will probably start by searching for colleges that are near your residence and comparing the cost for each college. But there are other points that you must examine before making your final choice. For instance, the reputation and accreditation of the school are significant factors also. And if you have an interest in attending classes sitting at your computer instead of sitting in a classroom, then locating a quality online degree program will also be a part of your due diligence process. We will address these and other criteria that you might wish to include in your vetting process when selecting the ideal criminal justice college for you. But first, let’s take a look at the criminal justice majors and degrees available along with the advantages of attending online schools.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs near Montgomery AL
Similar to many other professions, degrees in criminal justice are becoming more commonly required for a number of careers in the field. And as the level of education and degree obtained advances, so increases the employment opportunities available in Montgomery AL. There are four degree levels available, starting with the Associate Degree in criminal justice. Typically a two year degree, it provides an introduction to such specialties as corrections, law enforcement and the judiciary system. A growing number of police departments are seeking candidates with at least an Associate Degree. The four year Bachelor’s Degree usually addresses the same topics as the Associate Degree, just more in depth. 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 require an additional 2 years of classes after obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree. The Master’s Degree makes it possible for students to become specialists in a particular aspect of criminal justice. In addition to the opportunities offered with the lesser degrees, graduates can also become instructors, social caseworkers or court officers. And last, for individuals with an interest in teaching at the college level or research, the Doctoral Degree or PhD is offered as well. Generally requiring anywhere from four to seven years to complete, it is a far more rigorous version of the Master’s program. Of course the time requirements for obtaining any one of the 4 degrees will be dependent on the course load carried by the student.
Criminal Justice Majors
There are numerous specializations to pick from when determining which major to elect for your criminal justice degree. Maybe CSI has always interested you after enjoying countless episodes of the different crime scene investigation shows. Or quite possibly you have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer, or even an FBI agent. No matter what your career objective, you must select a major and a degree in criminal justice that will prepare and qualify you for that job. Enrolling in a program and a school that focuses on that area would clearly be the ideal decision toward that end. Maybe 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 options available from the various universities and colleges. Following is a partial list of criminal justice degree majors offered in the Montgomery AL 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 decided on, investigate the degree program you have an interest in along with the school. Just because a criminal justice college is accredited and has a good reputation as a whole does not mean that all of its specialty programs are similarly highly regarded. That’s why it is essential to decide on a major first prior to choosing a school to enroll in.
Criminal Justice Degree Programs Online
Some students might not have access to a criminal justice degree program in their area, or they may just want the independence of earning an online degree. In either case, they will find that there are accredited online options available. There a large number of schools domiciled within the USA that offer online degree programs similar to those offered on campus. And for many Montgomery AL students, especially those who continue to work full or part-time while attending college, the accessibility and convenience of online programs may make them the sole option. And as an added benefit, online colleges are frequently lower in cost than traditional alternatives. Tuition can be lower and expenses for such things as commuting and study materials may be eliminated or reduced as well. Just verify, as with any college you are looking at, that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (more on accreditation later). But if you are disciplined, and can learn in this type of independent environment, then earning your degree online may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Criminal Justice Colleges
By now you have no doubt decided on a criminal justice degree program and a major, 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 start searching for Montgomery AL area colleges and fine tuning your options. Considering that there are numerous schools to choose from, literally hundreds within the United States alone, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifying questions to ask when assessing colleges. Obviously cost is a significant consideration and you will need to choose a college that is within your academic budget. And we have already pointed out several others as well, including reputation, location and accreditation. To help you focus on those concerns and more, below is a list of questions you may want to ask the colleges you are thinking about prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Criminal Justice College Accredited? A large number of criminal justice colleges have earned one or more accreditations from national or regional agencies. Among the most highly regarded is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Colleges and programs that have been accredited by the ACJS have gone through a rigorous screening of their teachers and course of instruction. It’s imperative to confirm that the program and school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for a number of reasons. Along with helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it will also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Montgomery AL employers have a preference for graduates of schools that are accredited with good reputations.
What is the Reputation of the School? As previously mentioned, along with accreditation the reputation of the college you choose is important as well. It’s particularly critical if you are going into the field with no relevant prior employment history. With no previous experience, Montgomery AL employers will be considering the quality of your education as a primary factor when going over your resume. There are several school rating organizations where you can get school reviews and rankings, including U.S. News and World Report. They look at the quality of the core curriculum, the reputation of the teachers and other variables contributing to the academic programs. Remember that a college with an overall less than outstanding reputation might still be highly respected for a particular degree program that you might be interested in.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Ask what the graduation percentages are for the Montgomery AL schools you are reviewing. A low rate might be an indicator that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out, or that the instructors were not up to the task of teaching the curriculum. It’s also essential that the schools have job placement programs with higher placement rates. A job placement program will help you obtain that first crucial job after graduation that denotes the start of your career in criminal justice. A high placement rate will not only help affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but that it also has a sizable network of contacts to help students secure positions upon graduation.
Where are the Colleges Located? As we discussed at the opening of this article, among the initial things you will most likely 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 Montgomery AL home. Of course attending online classes will remove the necessity for travel and make location a moot issue. Something to keep in mind is that if you opt to attend a school not in your resident state, you could be required to pay a higher tuition than resident students, particularly for state universities and colleges. Community colleges also usually charge students higher fees if they reside outside of the school district or state.
How Large are the Classrooms? Unless you prefer to get lost in the crowd, attending smaller classes provides the opportunity for more interaction with the instructors. Big classes allow for little chance of getting one-on-one instruction if needed. One way to assess the interaction between faculty and students is to sit in on a few classes before making your ultimate decision. 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 experiences have been in the Alabama criminal justice profession.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it’s critical to confirm that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enrolling in a Criminal Justice School near Montgomery AL?
If you are considering attending a criminal justice college near Montgomery AL, following is some interesting and useful background information about the Montgomery area where your school campus will be located.
Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2010 Census, Montgomery's population was 205,764. It is the second most populous city in Alabama, after Birmingham, and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area's population in 2010 was estimated at 374,536; it is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.
The city was incorporated in 1819 as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area of Alabama with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and the rise of Mobile as a mercantile port on the Gulf Coast. In February 1861, Montgomery was chosen the first capital of the Confederate States of America, which it remained until the Confederate seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia, in May of that year. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major center of events and protests in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence, due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; two private post-secondary institutions, Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and many cultural attractions, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
Enroll in the Right Criminal Justice Degree Program near Montgomery AL
Making sure that you pick the right criminal justice school near Montgomery AL is crucial to your obtaining the proper training to be successful in this growing and exciting profession. Employers care which college your criminal justice degree came from, so it’s to your benefit to care as well. Attaining the greatest potential success in your criminal justice career begins with picking the optimal criminal justice college predicated upon your career goals. As we have discussed in this article, it’s essential that the school and degree program you select both are accredited and have excellent reputations. In addition, confirm that the school has a job assistance program with a high success rate for placing its students. You originally came to this site due to an interest in Colleges Near Me That Offer Criminal Justice. However, by using our checklist of questions, you will be able to assess and compare the criminal justice colleges you are looking at in order to narrow down your choices and make the right selection. And when you have made the correct decision, you will get the appropriate education so that you can launch your successful career in criminal justice.
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