When choosing a criminal justice school, you always should consider the school’s accreditation. Most criminal justice careers require you to prove that you have completed the appropriate courses or obtained the appropriate degree from an accredited school before you begin your career. In fact, most of the departments or agencies to which you eventually will apply will not only check the school’s accreditation, but will also check the organizations that issued that accreditation to make sure that the school received its accreditation from a reliable source. In order for you to obtain a position in the criminal justice field, you have to know a little more about the accreditation process and the organizations that typically accredit schools.
- First, a school must meet a series of standards in order to obtain its accreditation. These standards, set by the organizations that issue each accreditation, are designed to ensure that each school or criminal justice program has the resources necessary to teach you about the field of criminal justice. In other words, a school must have the financial resources to fund its criminal justice program, a sufficient number of professors with an advanced knowledge of the criminal justice field, courses that cover a variety of subjects related to the criminal justice field, and a number of other characteristics in order to receive its accreditation.
- Second, in order for a school actually to receive its accreditation, it must file an application with a major accreditation agency. In most cases, a school files an application with a national accreditation organization such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or a regional accreditation organization such as the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the New England Association of Colleges and Schools, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Northwest Association of Colleges and Schools, or the Western Association of Colleges and Schools. Once the agency has reviewed the school’s application, the agency will review the school to determine whether the school meets required standards and then offer accredit the school if it does.