As criminal justice is such a large and encompassing term that has many roles within it, Alaska is seeing some challenges within their corrections division.
According to research completed and published at the University of Alaska, the number of inmates doubled from 2005 to 2014. These kinds of increases to a state have to be handled at various levels of government which include those that drive policy and dictate budgets which fund many of the correctional facilities in Alaska.
Some of the state representatives in Alaska are looking for ways to continue to be tough on crime while providing ways to inmates to change their criminal behavior and not fall a victim of recidivism. These kinds of challenges and findings can have an effect all the way down to the school level so it is important to stay up with current events and happenings at the state and federal level (especially when it can have an effect on funding).
We also wanted you to have an idea of what the educational population of Alaska looks like:
- 2014 Population Estimate: 736,732 million
- Persons under the age of 18: 25.6 percent
- Persons over the age of 25 with a high school degree: 91.6 percent
- Persons over the age of 25 with a bachelor degree: 27.5 percent
Alaska is over the national average when it comes to persons under the age of 18 (national average is 23.3 percent) which is relevant because a lot of these people will be entering a common age when people begin to make decisions on their educational paths after high school. You should not feel limited though as many people across multiple demographics have also decided to make a change and go back to get their degree in criminal justice.
Highlighted Criminal Justice Programs in Alaska
When you compare the sheer number of schools available in Alaska that offer various levels of criminal justice certification or degree programs, it is much less than higher population states like New York or Texas. If you’re able to travel to a school out of state than it’s probably less important for you to understand what set different programs in Alaska apart from one another but for those lacking that convenience, we wanted to highlight a few. Here are a few programs and schools with some unique highlights around each one:
- Justice Program at University of Alaska Fairbanks: This program is online which is somewhat common for a lot of the degree options within the state of Alaska. The online aspect will allow students from smaller populated towns that might not have a close school option to still gain the criminal justice degree they want without having to leave their home to do so. The UAF Justice Program also highlights some of their internship opportunities for juniors and seniors in the program too which can be a vital addition to a resume.
- B.A. in Justice at University of Alaska Anchorage: One focus point that this particular degree has is around research and data regarding crime and crime theory. Students can likely expect to review data and the social science conclusions reached from that data which can help guide criminal justice protocols, reform, and tactics.
- Associate of Applied Science Degree in Paralegal Studies at Charter College in Anchorage: We wanted to highlight a program that many don’t realize falls within the criminal justice system. Many people think that earning an undergraduate or graduate degree in criminal justice is their only education option within the industry but there are several options outside of that. The program at Charter College aims to prepare it’s graduates as the role of a paralegal or legal assistant helping lawyers in evidence gathering and other tasks.
What to Expect While Earning A Criminal Justice Degree in Alaska
Understanding the different levels of educational certificates, programs, degrees, and more is vital to making sure you achieve the level of degree you will require in the future. We went to the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center for Students and pulled their full list of programs they offer related to criminal justice. This should give you an idea of what types of programs are available and some of the varying degree levels available:
- BA (Bachelor of Arts) in Criminal Justice: This will look at the law, research around criminal justice statistics, and provide students with a general oversight of the criminal justice system.
- Minor in Justice: This will provide students with a general understanding of criminal justice administration, policing, and corrections.
- Justice Honors: This program is to recognize students with exceptional research skills.
- Masters in Public Admin w/ Criminal Justice Emphasis: This will help graduates understand managing an entire organization with a focus around criminal justice policies.
- BA in Legal Studies
- Minor in Legal Studies
- Associate in Paralegal Studies
- Legal Nurse Consultant Paralegal Certificate
- Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies
You can see that this is a very extensive list going from certificate programs all the way up to the masters level. This list of programs is specific to the University of Alaska Anchorage but should be an example of how you need to research into requirements around each degree level (and what a future job might potentially require).
Alaska Criminal Justice Organizations
When you look at Alaska and where they rank from a population standpoint, they are actually ranked 48th. So with one of the smaller populations in the US, it is important to make contacts within criminal justice that might help you on your educational path. We have pulled a list of those organizations together for you:
- Alaska Peace Officers Association
- Juneau Police
- Alaska Correctional Officers Association
- Alaska Department of Corrections Main Site
Try to locate individuals within these organizations that might help provide you with more detail around the criminal justice degree path and any details unique to Alaska that were not covered here!