Almost everyone who embarks on a criminal justice training and/or education program in the state of Rhode Island, or anywhere else for that matter, does so with the intention of getting the best possible education and/or training, one that will propel them to success in the field.

In reality though, what does it mean to have the “best” education? Most people think of it as attending a very successful program, one that has many of its graduates working in the field in lucrative and prestigious positions. Others think of it as programs affiliated with top notch colleges and universities.

In truth, though, at least in the criminal justice fields, the best educations are simply those that adequately prepare you for the job that you wish to ultimately have.

Unlike other fields, in which everyone trains for the exact same type of job, criminal justice is very vast and varied. Those with criminal justice backgrounds work in literally hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of different positions in the state and beyond.

As such, it’s extremely important that you have a clear idea of the job you would like to have and what its requirements and qualifications are. This will help you to plan your education accordingly and to have success.

The good news for Rhode Island residents is that, though the state is small, there are tons of wonderful educational and training opportunities available. Some, in fact, are not even contingent upon where you live. Thanks to the internet and modern technology, more and more people are choosing to complete their training either partially or fully online.

Online schools frequently chosen by Rhode Island residents include the prestigious Lincoln Technical Institute, located in Lincoln, which offers online associate’s degree programs in criminal justice and criminal minds, as well as online bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice and the study of the criminal mind, and in information management and security. Furthermore, the school offers a traditional certificate program in criminal justice.

If you don’t feel like online learning is right for you, however, don’t worry! There are still many wonderful options right in the state. The Community College of Rhode Island, located in Warwick, for example, is one excellent choice. The school offers associate’s degrees in law enforcement, legal administrative assistant secretary, and paralegal studies, in addition to a certificate program in legal office assistant.

Other colleges and universities commonly chosen by Rhode Island residents with an interest in criminal justice include Johnson and Wales University, in Providence, with a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice; Rhode Island College, also located in Providence, with a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice.

Roger Williams University, in Bristol, with bachelor’s degree programs in general criminal justice and paralegal studies, as well as a master’s degree program in criminal justice; and Salve Regina University, located in Newport, with a bachelor’s degree program in administration of justice, as well as graduate certificates in administration of justice, homeland security, and law enforcement leadership.

While most people would consider the colleges, universities, and training programs listed here to be the “top” or the “best” choices in Rhode Island, remember that it’s really about finding what is best for you. If it happens to be one of these programs, then by all means take the time to apply.

If not, however, don’t get discouraged. Simply keep looking for the program and/or college or university that is right for you. As you search, feel free to tour campuses, speak to admissions counselors, and ask as many questions as necessary. After all, if you are paying for your education, you have every right to make it work for you.

As a final note, many people do wonder if there are jobs in the field that don’t require any formal training or education.

While there are some, they tend to be very basic, entry level positions that are not well paid, and employees who are hired without qualifications usually seek them out later or regret not having done so. Therefore, it is really in your best interest, no matter what you wish to do within the criminal justice field, to get some kind of formal education and/or training.