Criminal Justice Schools: Tips to Find the Right One

Considering getting a criminal justice degree? If so then there are lots of criminal justice schools to choose from. These schools offer on campus and online courses on certificate programs as well as other degree programs such as associate degree, bachelor’s degree and even a master’s degree.

Online Criminal Justice Schools

Technology has made it possible to earn a criminal justice degree or certificate from an online medium. These types of online programs are designed especially for those people who cannot attain a campus based program because of their busy schedule or a family or job responsibility. Throughout United States, there are several schools that offer online programs in criminal justice.

However, the term online does not necessarily mean that the program is completely online, it is only the theoretical component of the course that is presented via online means such as online lectures, discussions, group and live chats, video streaming and schedule video chatting. And this is the portion of the program that can be taken from anywhere and at anytime with the help of a computer that has a dedicated internet connection.

Criminal Justice Schools

For the next portion of the program, the students are required to visit the college premises where they will learn the practical component of the course in a real life setting. Students will get the opportunity to apply their learned skills in a real life setting that will enhance and advances their criminal justice knowledge and skills.

Onsite Criminal Justice Schools

There are several public as well as private onsite institutions that offer a range of certification as well as associate degree, bachelor’s degree and even master’s degree program in criminal justice. With states, the costs and requirements of the same training program varies so it is important to read the descriptions properly before applying into any of the training program.

For affordable and convenient options, community colleges are the best ones out there. Most of the community colleges offer criminal justice training programs at affordable rates as compared to the private institutions.

The rates at private institutions may be high but they include additional features like internships, fewer students so that you will get personal attention from the instructor and externships. So in the end it can be worth it to spend few more dollars at the private institutions.

How to get started in criminal justice?

·         Decide what exactly are your career goals and the work areas where you are interested to work. A career as a detective or a chief of police demands at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. For entry level positions such as the police force, an associate degree is a must. Master’s degree is for those individuals wanting to  lead and research position in the field.

·         Depending on your career goals you can decide on the degree program. It’s better to get an associate degree before applying for the bachelor’s degree program. That way you will have strong background on the subject and hence will help you advance in the field.

·         Next is to search for an accredited school or university that offers such degree programs. Remember there are online as well as onsite options to choose from, so decide on the one that fits your needs.

·         Next, you need to meet the prerequisites or requirements stated by the school in order to apply for the program. Besides, educational prerequisites, you need to have a clean history because prior to the admission you need to complete a background and drug test.

·         You may also be asked to provide a recent health reports showing that you are in good health and that you do not have any contagious diseases. 

·         Upon completion of the training program, it is mandatory to take and pass the state certification exam to receive a state approved license.

How to choose a good criminal justice school?

Since there are numerous options to choose from when it comes to selecting a criminal justice school, finding the right one could be an overwhelming task, so below here are few guidelines that will help you find the school that is just perfect for you.

·         List out the colleges and universities within your area that offer the degree program in criminal justice that you think will help you meet your career goals.

·         Next is to find out the details about the degree program and the school. Start your search from internet. Read the articles and reviews about the school and its degree program.

·         Check whether the school is accredited or not. A degree from a non accredited school has no value so do make sure that the school you are looking forward to join is accredited by a recognized agency.

·         Check the school’s reputation. Get feedbacks from the past as well as current students and professors. Listen what they have to say about the school and ask them if they are satisfied with the training program it offers.

·         If possible, visit the college premises personally, and attain a meeting with the instructor or program director. Discuss about your career goals and any confusions or questions you have regarding the training program.  

·         Make a note for each of the school you researched, highlight the costs, included features, courses and length of the degree program it offers.

·         Online program needs to have a technical support team 24/7 and an experienced instructor who is qualified enough to present the courses online.

·         When the search is over, compare the notes and choose the one that seems to be the best among them.

·         Remember online program is an option but is not for everyone. Those who lacks time management skills and needs assistance from teacher should not apply for the online programs.

·         Also remember the more time you spend on the search, the more likely to find the perfect school. So do spend enough time for the search.

Wrap Up

A career in the criminal justice field is a demanding and a rewarding career in these tough economic crises. With an advance degree such as bachelor’s or master’s degree you can open new doors of opportunities in the field. Several online and onsite schools throughout United States offer different degree programs in criminal justice. Decide the one that lets you meet your career goals. So best of luck.   

Best Criminal Justice Schools

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  • B.S. in Justice Studies
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  • Criminal Justice (MS)
  • Criminal Justice (BS)

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