Criminal Justice School Accreditation

Students want to be assured that they are receiving a quality criminal justice education. Employers want to know that the recent graduates they are hiring have the knowledge and skills to make an immediate impact. There are over 4,000 colleges and universities throughout the country. So, how do students and employers know these schools are legitimate?

Accreditation verifies that a criminal justice school is offering high quality education programs. In order to be accredited, schools must voluntarily submit themselves to the process. There is plenty of competition between schools when it comes to attracting students. A legitimate school will not hesitate to have the quality of their program verified.

There is a set process schools must follow in order to receive accreditation. Initially, schools submit an application showing why their programs should be independently reviewed. If the accreditation committee feels the school may be eligible, they perform an in-depth analysis. Coursework is reviewed to ensure that the material being taught is up-to-date by today's education standards. Course material is examined to make sure it prepares students for the workplace. Faculty members are interviewed and their work examined to ensure they have the proper training and experience to teach college students. Administrative staff and the school's financial records are also reviewed. Then, a final decision is made concerning whether or not to grant accreditation. This status will only be valid for a few years. Then, the school will have to submit themselves once again to scrutiny.

There are a variety of accreditations a school may choose to apply for. The most significant accreditations are awarded by one of six regional groups. The Council for Higher Education and the Department of Education recognize the following regional accrediting bodies.

If you have any questions about a particular school's accreditation status, ask the school. This information should be readily available. If not, red flags should go up.

It is extremely important to attend an accredited school. If you have dreams of landing criminal justice jobs in a federal agency, you must attend an accredited school. In fact, most employers will only accept degrees earned at accredited criminal justice schools.

Last Updated: 04/29/2014