Being a criminal investigator is a dream for many. However, a lot of times, students find themselves victims of diploma or course mills that are not accredited in the first place.
These are schools which offer criminal justice programs but don’t have the right accreditation status. This ends up in being issued with degrees that are essentially worthless. This can happen when you take your university or even college accreditation lightly. As a result, it’s likely to have some consequences for your career and even your finances.
An unaccredited program means wasting tens of thousands of dollars on a degree you can’t use and lacks credibility. The worth of your criminal justice degree diploma will depend on the kind of school in which it is attained. If that school lacks accreditation, it will have an impact on your career and educational advancements. This especially rings true when you’re planning to pursue graduate studies at a reputable institution.
Why Accreditation is Important
Accreditation is generally a mark of approval of the quality standards. It certifies that the quality of education offered at a particular criminal justice school can satisfactorily meet the quality levels. These criteria have been set by reputable accrediting organizations.
These accrediting bodies can be regional or national in their scope and have been approved by the US Department of Education. Their role is come up with a set of evaluations standards to be used in evaluating the schools. They also carry out the necessary peer assessment in order to ascertain whether a certain school has met those standards. Institutions or programs from reputable schools generally request such accreditation in order to raise the profile and appeal of their courses.
Having an accreditation is not just about the appeal. It unlocks plenty of opportunities for the school which will have a bearing on the careers and educational journey of the students. For example, schools which have been accredited are able to offer their students’ federally approved financial assistance.
More About Regional Accreditation
Regional accreditation is particularly advantageous for a number of reasons. These include the following:
- A school that is national accredited generally accepts credits from the criminal justice schools which are regionally accredited.
- On the other hand, schools which are regionally accredited are unlikely to accept credit transfers from schools which are nationally accredited.
- A lot of graduate schools where you can go for the MSc or Ph.D. are generally regionally accredited. They will readily accept credit transfers from other regionally accredited schools.
- With very few exceptions, students from schools which are regionally accredited generally have to grapple with less scrutiny compared to those who come from the criminal justice schools which are nationally accredited.
However advantageous regionally accredited schools are, they may not be convenient or accessible to all kinds of students. If that is the case, a nationally accredited institution will suffice. Make sure the school you’re attending has any of these forms of accreditation as a primary consideration. Recruiters and managers particularly, pay very close attention to the reputation and accreditation status of the school you’ve attended. There are some schools which will simply carry more weight in the jobs marketplace.
Guarantees of Accredited Schools
Schools that have an accreditation status generally guarantee you that there is some oversight on the instructions issued and that they’re authorized to issue those degrees. Additional steps that you can undertake in order to ensure accreditation include the following:
- Check if the school or program is recognized by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
- Ensure the school is accredited by any of the seven regional accrediting organizations which are recognized by the federal government.
Remember that regional accreditation is the most desirable option, This is due to the ease with which you can transfer your credits to another regional or nationally accredited institution.
Ensure the program in the school has also been accredited by reputable professional organizations such as the National Bar Association. Ascertaining the programmatic accreditation can tell you about your chances of being hired after graduating from a particular school.
What To Be Wary Of
Watch out on the “international accreditation” status touted by some criminal justice schools. Some of these programs which are unable to meet the US national and regional accreditation may begin touting some worthless “international accreditation” in order to look more credible.
Check the school’s website and determine if they have proudly displayed their accreditation status. If it is not there, give them a call and ask. Your future depends on your taking those extra steps in due diligence.