Criminal Justice Schools

Now that you have decided to pursue a criminal justice career, you must decide which school you want to attend. There are thousands of different schools to choose from. Online colleges, community colleges, technical schools, and traditional universities all offer criminal justice programs. Each school offers its own unique perspective on the field. Traditional subject matter will be taught along with classes designed as part of that particular school's criminal justice program.

It is important to do your research when looking at schools. Schools are businesses. They produce slick ads and flashy websites to entice students to attend. However, it is important to look beyond those advertisements. A world famous criminologist may have attended the school, but that does not necessarily mean it is right for your goals and aspirations.

Think about your career goals. What types of criminal justice jobs do you want to pursue? Are you looking to become a detective in a local police force or do you want to become a criminologist for the FBI? This will help you determine the schools you should consider. Certain schools offer strong criminology programs while others offer programs geared more towards criminal administration.

Learn more about the faculty who teach the programs. It is not enough to be taught by a professor with solely academic experience. You want to be taught by someone who has actual experience in the field and understands the challenges faced on a daily basis. An investigation course is much more powerful when it is taught by a former federal agent. His experiences will further enhance the material being taught and offer skills and techniques you can use on the job. Take a look at the course structure offered to make sure the topics covered will help you advance professionally.

Find out what a school's application requirements are. High school or college transcripts, letters of recommendation, work experience, and standardized test scores are often required. Each school is different and will have different application deadlines. You never want to wait until the last minute to apply. Often, schools begin accepting applicants prior to the deadline.

Unfortunately, not all colleges are legitimate. Yes, you can earn a degree from these schools, but the degree will not carry much weight. These programs have not been independently verified, the faculty may be questionable, and the coursework is not designed to prepare the student to enter the workforce. Make sure that the schools you are interested in are accredited. Accreditation shows the degree you earned is legitimate. In fact, most state, local, and federal agencies will only accept degrees earned from accredited schools.

Last Updated: 04/29/2014