How to get enroll in Criminal Justice Schools in California

Home to more than 40 million residents, California is the largest and most populous state in the country. The state also has densely populated cities such as Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco. With such a huge population and a number of metropolises, there is bound to be a certain amount of criminal activity. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the state relies on a strong criminal justice system to keep its people safe against harm.
The annual crime rate in California as of 2014 was 4.23 violent crimes per 1000 residents and 27.6 property crimes for every 1000 residents. The overall average crime rate in the state was also slightly higher than the national average of 28.6. With numbers such as these, California has a never ending need of trained professionals to protect its people. This strong need for a well-established criminal justice infrastructure subsequently translates into a greater demand for certified criminal justice degree holders, who not only have proper training but have a good understanding of the entire justice system.
And to become such a professional, students need proper education and training. Earning a degree in criminal justice or acquiring advanced law enforcement training is the best way to get a chance to enter California’s criminal justice system.
How to Get Enrolled in Criminal Justice Schools in California
The first part of the process is enrolling yourself in the relevant school and program. California offers a variety of options for those seeking criminal justice specializations. The state has almost 180 schools that offer a huge variety of programs in this field. You can get all kinds of certifications, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, masters and PhDs as well. Financial aid and scholarship options are also available for qualified students. For scholarships, you are advised to get in touch with organizations such as the American Criminal Justice Association or local organizations like the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Association.
To get a criminal justice degree, you are advised to follow these steps:
• Complete your general education courses: No matter what criminal justice college you apply to, you will need to clear a few courses such as government, economics, American history and English composition before you apply.
• Narrow down a list of potential schools that you would be willing to consider. You will need to figure out whether you want to go to a big pubic university, a community college or a small private institution. You also might need to consider factors such as location, specialization options the schools offer, the kind of schedule you are looking at and the maximum budget you can allot for the education.
• Consider the online and traditional options: Consider these two modes of instruction and decide which one you want to go for. Your decision should depend on the amount of time you can invest and the kind of flexibility you are looking for. If you are already working and need to continue working, you can go for the online option since it offers a greater degree of ease with class schedules.
• Apply to more than one School: Don’t just apply to one particular college because you know they have the best criminal justice department. Make a list of four to five criminal justice programs that seem like the best options for you and apply to all of them. In this way, even if you don’t get into your ideal criminal studies program, you will still have the option of going for the second or third best.
• Look at the specializations: This would be where your personal interests come in as well. With criminal justice, there is a wide variety of concentrations you can go for. For instance, you could take courses in constitutional law, legal history, criminal research, judicial systems, corrections, courts, writing and statistics, ethics and so on. Many criminal justice programs in California also address broader issues such as race, social justice, class differentiation and LGBT rights.
• Gather all your information: For each college, the admission process will vary. You will need to check with the university websites or admission offices to get details of the documents you need to submit along with your application form. However, biographical information, your social security and your GPA is typically required by all schools. You will also need your high school transcripts and might need letters of recommendation from your teachers, coaches, past mentors, etc. In addition to these, a lot of colleges will require you to write an essay or a personal statement on why you want to go for this particular area of studies.
• Know the degree level: Before applying, you need to know what level you want to apply for. If you want to go for an entry level profession in the criminal justice field, you can go for a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree might not be enough in some cases while a master’s would not be necessary for a basic level job. Similarly, if you are going for forensic sciences or higher level professions, you might even need qualifications higher than a master’s degree. So make sure you have a clear future path in mind regarding your higher education plans and career prospects before you enroll in the program.
• Apply and wait: The last step in this process is to fill out the application, submit it with the relevant department at the university and wait to hear from them. The wait could be a few weeks or even months, depending on the particular university’s policy and academic cycle.
California is certainly a great place to pursue a criminal justice degree. Known for its law and society concentration, criminal justice schools in California also have training relations with legal organizations, such as Public Defenders and government departments like juvenile justice centers. So if you are wondering how to get enrolled in criminal justice schools in California, make good use of all this information here and start your application process as soon as you can.

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