How do I Choose the Best Criminal Justice School?

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Criminal justice school is the first step to entering several exciting careers. Students can become police officers, prison guards, criminologists, forensic specialists, and more. A criminal justice degree can also be a starting point for careers in forensic psychology or as a federal agent. There are dozens of options available to students who attend a great criminal justice school.

Criminal justice training will prepare an individual for police work.
Criminal justice training will prepare an individual for police work.

There are fantastic criminal justice schools all over the world. It can be a challenge to narrow it down to the few schools you will apply to. The first thing to consider when choosing a school is location. Within the United States, in-state tuition is usually cheaper, and being able to stay at home while attending classes can save a lot of money on student housing costs. Alternatively, some students prefer to move away from home to attend college, enjoying the freedom and new opportunities that a different community can provide.

The best criminal justice school might focus on a particular area, such as working in a courtroom.
The best criminal justice school might focus on a particular area, such as working in a courtroom.

Another factor to consider is the cost of the criminal justice school. If cost is an important consideration, it may be a good idea to look at less expensive schools, or schools that offer a lot of scholarships. There are a lot of really wonderful colleges and universities that have reasonable tuition, and the education is usually just as good as the education that you could receive from one of the more high-profile, expensive schools.

Criminal justice programs may include crime scene analysis.
Criminal justice programs may include crime scene analysis.

The third thing to consider when choosing a criminal justice school is the school itself. The quality and reputation of the school should be researched. Many schools offer job placement programs, free tutoring services, and a lot of student activities. The size of the school may also be a factor. Some students prefer the smaller class sizes that are only available in smaller schools, while other students may enjoy the excitement and opportunities that are available in a larger school.

The most important aspect of choosing a criminal justice school is the criminal justice program itself. The school should offer a wide variety of courses in many areas. Students who already know which area of criminal justice they want to work in should look for a program that caters to those interests. For example, a student who wants to become a forensic psychologist would look for a school that offers a lot of criminology courses and that also has a strong psychology program. A student interested in becoming a police officer would want a school that offers a range of courses on patrol work, criminal investigation, and criminal law.

There are a lot of great criminal justice schools available. The only way to determine which one is best is to decide what you want, or need, to get from attending it. If a school doesn't provide you with the education you want, then, even if it is an Ivy League school, it is not the best for you. Take your time to really research schools, and only apply to the ones you think will be a good match for your needs.

Someone wanting to become a judge should pursue a criminal justice degree.
Someone wanting to become a judge should pursue a criminal justice degree.
Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal wiseGEEK writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

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