The dangers of comparing online universities for a criminal justice degree
By Jim Greenberg
With criminal justice becoming a hot topic with lucrative careers awaiting those who have degrees in the subject, a host of colleges and universities are today offering online criminal justice degrees.
Consequently students seeking to enroll in some college or university to get an online criminal justice degree face an almost unsolvable maze. There is a lot of hype and advertising with the result that the most aggressive advertisers are there everywhere while the less aggressive ones, even if they are good are not to be found anywhere. So there are many dangers in comparing online universities offering a criminal justice degree.
The first danger is, of course, that comprehensive and accurate information is not available at any single site or resource. You have to do a lot of hard work yourself and there is no escaping that. You have to find out for each college or university – the course content they are offering, the kind of faculty they have, the kind of costs involved, the time that will be required to get the degree, whether the college or university is accredited or not and whether the degrees being offered are recognized by employers, whether the college or university has a good placement service or not and so on.
All the universities offering online degrees will promise to give you the best – all encompassing degree, in the least possible time, with the best of courseware, authentic accreditation, a host of add-on's and all this at an affordable price and of course at your convenient time, for they are all 100 per cent online courses.
Besides issues such as accreditation, cost or time the single-most important thing you should be careful about is whether the course content will really give you the education that you want. For this you have to give close attention to what will appear on your transcript once you finish the program and get a degree.
Quite an assortment of names for criminal justice programs exist, and many will have "hybrid" names and will be administered by departments of related disciplines like Sociology, Social Work etc. or the degree may be one in which Criminal justice is clubbed with another subject like Sociology, Political Science, Human Services or Public Policy.
You will sometime find that pure Sociology departments and their like will offer, what is called a "concentration" or "specialization" in Criminal Justice. A concentration is not a major. Dangers such as these are hidden and will never come to the fore, when you are comparing online universities and programs.
The administrators of such universities and colleges exploit the fact that enrollments are growing in this field and they want to cash in on the popularity of the subject.
The faculty of such programs could be of the kind that may have, at one time worked in law enforcement, or corrections. An experience in such fields definitely does not make up for a lack of academic credits in 'Criminal Justice'.
So always look for degrees that have a large number of courses having the prefix CRJ, JUS, CRIM or a few other select prefixes that clearly indicate that they are criminal justice courses. Programs that have more courses with prefixes such as SOC, POL or INT or a host of other prefixes that are definitely not indicative of criminal justice coursework should be avoided.
Ultimately, what matters is that you should have a criminal justice degree that teaches you criminal justice in content and is not just a criminal justice degree by name.
About the Author
Jim Greenberg recommends you visit the Online Criminal Justice Degree Guide for more information on comparing criminal justice degrees. See http://www.ocjdg.com/2006/02/which_online_un.html for more information.
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