In the state of Maine, there are a lot of different educational options for those planning to pursue careers in criminal justice. With so many choices, it can often feel overwhelming and very difficult to pick the one that is right for you.

The truth is, however, that if you have a clear idea of what exactly it is you wish to do in the field—which far too many students make the mistake of not knowing—and of the educational requirements necessary to obtain that job, your choices become much more limited, allowing you to have a much easier time making a decision.

Definitely, first and foremost, it’s important to pick an educational program that lines up with your career goals and ambitions. Secondly, however, it’s important to pick a program that is offered by an accredited school. Accreditation is, in effect, what makes your degree or certificate worth something.

A degree or certificate from an unaccredited school is just a very expensive and very worthless piece of paper. So, always check to make sure any school and program you are interested in is legitimate and accredited before you enroll. This is especially true with online schools. While there are a lot of good online programs out there, there are also quite a few scams to watch out.

Also make sure that you choose the degree level that is right for you. All that is needed for some career choices is certificates or training programs, but others will require an actual degree. Most of the more entry level jobs may be achieved with only an associate’s degree, though some will require bachelor’s degree.

In general, master’s level degrees and higher are usually fully optional in the field, and are usually used to increase salary or to increase one’s chances of being promoted to a more prestigious position

In addition to considering all of these very important factors, you also have to be practical. If you have a busy work schedule or you have children to care for, you cannot realistically enroll in a program where classes are only offered during the day.

Therefore, take into consideration things like whether night and/or full or partial online classes are offered, the amount of time it will take you to complete the program, the number of credit hours, and cost as well. Sometimes, small but important things like this can make all the difference as to whether you are actually able to receive your degree or not.

With all of that said, you’ll be happy to know that the state offers many wonderful schools and programs for all aspects of criminal justice. Top choices among criminal justice majors in the state include Husson University, located in Bangor, which offers associate’s degree programs in both criminal justice and paralegal studies, bachelor’s degree programs in the same, a paralegal studies certificate program, a dual bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and psychology, and a master’s degree program in criminal justice administration.

Saint Joseph’s College, located in Standish, which offers an online bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice; Southern Maine Community College, in South Portland, with a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice; Thomas College, in Waterville, with bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice, criminal justice administration, and forensic psychology; the University of Maine at Augusta, with both an associate’s degree program and a bachelor’s degree program in justice studies, as well as certificate program in forensic science; and the University of Maine at Presque Isle with both an associate’s degree program and a bachelor’s degree program in general criminal justice.