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What to Know if You're Considering Studying Criminal Justice

by South University
November 16, 2016

Keeping our communities and our country safe is a key focus of everyone in criminal justice. Of course, what that looks like in practice depends on the career you pursue and whether it’s in law enforcement, correction, politics, or law. Across the board, however, a few things hold true for those exploring a bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice.

Education and Experience Can Help You Stand Out

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), numerous careers in criminal justice may see 4% job growth in the coming years. This includes, Detectives and Criminal Investigators and Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists. Others, like Private Detectives and Investigators, Bailiffs, and Police Patrol Officers, will experience an average growth rate around 5% to 8%.

As with any job and depending on location, applicants may face competition for desirable positions. (Median annual salary for criminal justice roles mentioned above ranges from $41,000 to over $77,000.) The BLS especially anticipates strong competition for Private Detective and Investigator roles.

In competitive job situations, a candidate with a criminal justice degree and work experience may be most likely to catch the eye of a potential employer. For example, for Police and Detective positions, the BLS says that “applicants with a bachelor's degree and law enforcement or military experience, especially investigative experience, as well as those who speak more than one language, should have the best job opportunities.” For Probation Officer and Corrections positions, as well as employment within federal agencies, a bachelor’s degree is often required.

Technology is Increasingly Important across Professions

If you’ve been researching or studying criminal justice online, you likely know that technology has a drastic impact on the field.

On one side, there’s an array of valuable technologies. These take many forms, including connected database systems, automated license plate readers, and handheld biometric scanners used to identify suspects. In some locations, criminal justice workers currently carry tablets and smartphones that make it easier to access and distribute information. Such tools will only improve in the years to come.

Criminal justice professions under increasing scrutiny are also turning to technology like social media to build trust and demonstrate transparency in their communities. Although privacy concerns are still being debated, GPS systems and body cameras are also being introduced to support both safety and accountability in criminal justice professions.

Meanwhile, others apply technology for harm, with the The Department of Justice describing cyber crime as "one of the greatest threats facing our country" and Business Insider reporting that “the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks are at an all-time high.” When it comes to jobs, cyber crime is driving employment trends, with the BLS noting that “Internet scams, as well as other types of financial and insurance fraud, create demand for investigative services.” Such crimes are expected to continue at local, national and even global levels.

What to Look for in Criminal Justice Programs

While we’ve already noted that a criminal justice degree can help when applying for jobs, it’s also essential that students select the right program.

Your criminal justice degree program level (bachelor’s, master’s, etc.) will determine program length and curriculum, but all criminal justice degrees should share some foundational elements. First, anyone considering criminal justice courses or comparing criminal justice curriculums should look for programs that explore the importance of technology in this field. Equally valuable are criminal justice courses that address ethics and topics related to race, class, and gender. Finally, soft skills like leadership, problem-solving, communication, and conflict resolution should also be taught throughout a criminal justice curriculum.

Whether you prefer studying criminal justice online or on-campus, South University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice that can prepare you for working in today’s changing field. Explore our criminal justice programs online or contact us today to learn more.

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Quick Tips for Transferring College Credit to a New School

by South University
November 10, 2016

Quick Tips for Transferring College Credit to a New School

When it comes to college, not everyone finds the right fit the first time. Maybe your degree program no longer excites you or your current school isn’t as supportive or flexible as you’d hoped. Perhaps you took a break from college, and you’ve decided to finish what you started. Whatever the case, transferring college credits to a new school is sometimes the best choice for completing your degree.

The following tips can help you create a plan for transferring your credits and finishing your degree.

  1. Set aside time to research programs and contact your target schools.
    Once you pick what type of program you want, you’ll need to see what schools offer the program near you on campus or online. If you’re switching schools but want to stay in a similar program, be aware that program names may differ slightly across institutions. You’ll need to dig into the program details or ask an admissions representative to ensure you understand the program outcomes.

    While you’ll likely find programmatic information online, everyone’s academic history is unique, so you’ll need to speak to the admissions team about your eligibility for transferring credits. Your easiest and fastest option will be talking on the phone or in-person to avoid a long, complex email chain. Make sure to come prepared for these conversations by gathering documentation, including transcripts, to make sure you can prove you’ve completed courses or training.

  2. Ask schools about their transfer policies.
    Transfer of credit policies and procedures will vary by school and often involve minimum grade requirements. Schools typically require that courses you transfer for credit have similar descriptions and outcomes to the courses they offer. In addition, some schools may be able to take your diploma, certificate or associates degree and apply those credits towards a bachelor’s or even master’s level degree program.

    Sometimes two schools may have an articulation agreement--a document that describes what courses students may transfer from one school to the other in specific programs. While an articulation agreement between two schools can make transferring credit easier, you’ll still want to review the document carefully and contact a school representative for specific questions. Most community colleges will have articulation agreements in place with traditional, 4-year institutions.

  3. Don’t overlook non-traditional sources of transfer credit.
    Having prior college experience isn’t the only way to earn transfer credit. If you’ve been in the military, you may qualify for military experience transfer credit, as most military training courses have been evaluated for academic credit by the American Council on Education (ACE).

    Other non-traditional sources include exams that assess whether what you’ve learned from the military or other professional experiences may be deemed equivalent to college credit. These exams include the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) exams.

    Let the schools you’re considering know if you have military experience or are researching the CLEP or DSST exams, so that they can advise you on how to move forward.

  4. Transfer credit policies should not be the only factors driving your decisions.
    It’s easy to get caught up in the focus on transferring credit, but picking a school should be a fully thought out decision. Treat the process the same as if you were looking for a new school from scratch. Be sure to ask about accreditation, financial aid, academic support resources, faculty credentialing and access, alumni success, career services, class scheduling and anything else that might be important to you in a new school. Was there something you didn’t like about your last school? If so, avoid running into that same problem again.

  5. Considering transferring to South University? Let’s arrange a time to talk.
    If you’re thinking about transferring colleges, consider South University. Backed by a tradition of over 100 years, South University allows you to earn your degree online or on campus, with classes led by qualified and supportive faculty who are always ready to lend a hand. We are driven to help you succeed, so our transfer of credit policies are designed to make the most of the effort you’ve already put into your education. Request information online to learn more today.

Transfer credit is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. South University offers no guarantee that credit earned at another institution will be accepted into a program of study offered by South University.

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Going Back to School as an Adult - Overcoming Your Fears

by South University
October 6, 2016

Earning a college degree is no doubt different for adult learners than for those fresh out of high school, but being an adult learner has it benefits. At a younger age, while you may have had the benefit of more free time and less responsibility, you might have been less confident about what you wanted for your future and career. As an adult learner, you likely have more defined career goals accompanied by real-world and on-the-job skills and experience to rely on--all things that will come in handy in as you pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree.

If you are looking start or finish your degree but have fears about going back to school, stop and remember the following tips and information to remind yourself that you can achieve your academic goals.

Fear #1: I Don’t Have Room in My Schedule

For many adults, work, family and other obligations can make for a busy schedule. With the right amount of planning however, you can find time to fit school into your daily or weekly routine. When talking with school representatives, ask how many hours you can expect to spend in class and doing class work each week and if there is a set, regular schedule to assignments such as with many online programs. Then, create a plan for how to divide your time each day by looking through your schedule and seeing where you have opportunities. Simply knowing you have a plan can go a long way.

Beyond this plan, you’ll need support from those around you. Before you start classes, talk to your friends and family and see how they can help support you while you’re working towards your degree. Anything from babysitting, chores around the house or planning meals can help free up your time for school work. Their emotional support can be just as valuable in helping to keep you motivated.

If earning your undergraduate or graduate degree could enhance your current career, share your plans with your employer. Hopefully, they’ll offer encouragement and maybe flexibility in your work schedule. (Plus, there’s always the possibility of tuition assistance.) During classes, one way to save time is by relating your schoolwork to your job where possible. For example, for a class assignment, you might choose to create a business proposal that could be reused for your job.

Fear #2: I’m out of Practice Being a Student

In reality, your life and work experience will likely benefit you as a student. Instructors appreciate adult learners who ask informed questions and bring real-world examples to class discussions. Besides that, if you’ve participated in continuing education courses, learned new software, or had to prepare for presentations at work, then you’ve already been using many of the same skills you’ll need in school.

Today, nontraditional students are becoming the norm and schools often design undergraduate and graduate degree programs with adult learners in mind. As you research schools, ask how many adult learners are currently enrolled. See if they offer an orientation class to ease you into the swing of things or provide support staff and resources that will be readily available to help answer your questions. Once you’re in school, get to know other adult learners; you can swap study and scheduling tips, and make valuable contacts for after you graduate. Once you start, keep in mind it may take you a few weeks or courses to feel comfortable writing papers, conducting research and completing assignments again. However, once you are comfortable with the day-to-day aspects of your program, you may find that you are able to complete tasks quicker and with greater ease.

Fear 3: I’m Not Good with Computers or New Technology

Many careers require computer skills, so, while it might sound stressful, brushing up on your tech knowledge will be good for you. Orientation classes can help you get up to speed on the software you’ll need, and schools commonly offer software tutorials, tutoring, and webinars for those who want extra training. While online programs rely on an online classroom and may potentially include digital textbooks or a mobile app, these tools are designed for ease of use for a wide variety of individuals regardless of technological expertise.

Fear 4: I’m Anxious about the Cost and Time I’ll Spend

An important aspect of returning to school is knowing what return on investment to expect from your program. Tools like the government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook can offer helpful details about the value of education in specific fields. Beyond this, try connecting with alumni on Facebook or LinkedIn and speak with your manager and others in the field to understand how a degree might help you and justify your time investment. Some employers, for example, may offer a raise in salary for completing a higher level degree.

If you’re worried about the cost of degree completion, make sure you explore all options--including grants, federal financial aid, employer tuition assistance, military benefits, and scholarships from private and public organizations. If you’ve completed some college courses in the past, transferring credit from your past college experience, can help you save time and money. As you narrow in on your top schools, take the time to talk to their finance counselors about transferring credit and other options for making a degree program more affordable.

Moving Forward with Confidence

Remember, despite your fears, earning your degree as an adult can play in your favor. Life and work experience often teach lessons and skills that young students rarely possess--things like time management and not being afraid to seek help when it’s needed. As an adult, you’re likely more organized, responsible, and motivated to get your degree.

Along with offering a full array of academic resources and dedicated support staff for every student, South University’s campus and online programs are designed to accommodate the schedules of busy, working adults. To learn more about how we support adult learners across all undergraduate and graduate degree programs, contact us today.

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3 Key Traits of Modern Doctor of Ministry Programs

by South University
September 6, 2016

The theological landscape is undergoing rapid, even revolutionary, change. Religious communities are increasingly diverse—not just in areas like gender and race, but also in beliefs and world viewpoints.

Just as the religious community has evolved, so have the options for developing your ministry skills. If you’ve ever considered earning your DMin, it’s time to take another look at your options for a degree in ministry.

1. Fully Online Ministry Programs

Technology now enables you to pursue your degree in ministry from anywhere with reliable internet. As a student, you can connect with DMin faculty and staff through web chats, online classroom, tools and phone calls, all without leaving your practice or your family. For example, at South University, online ministry program does not include any residency or on-campus requirements.

Further helping you to learn from anywhere are systems like Logos Bible Software. Logos offers users a vast, library of eBooks, articles, and educational resources accessible via their computers and mobile devices. Plus, everything in the Logos Bible system is searchable, making research faster than ever.

2. Intentional Diversity

Intentional diversity is another signpost of modern Doctor of Ministry programs. With denominational preference at an all-time low, your education can prepare you for a pluralistic society by bringing together individuals from across traditions to discuss, debate, and share perspectives in a safe, supportive environment. Ultimately, this experience can give you access to a diverse demographic likely to mimic the ministry context in which you will serve.

3. Multiple Entry Points - No MDiv Required

Historically, people looking for an advanced degree in ministry could only enter Doctor of Ministry (DMin) programs after earning a Master of Divinity (MDiv). The problem is that an MDiv program alone can take three years, with a DMin taking an additional two years of time and expense. Earning your DMin degree on this path could require five years of your life.

At South University, we have another way. Even if you start with a bachelor’s degree, you can earn your DMin at South University within three years, while building practical skills essential for effective ministry leadership. On the other hand, if you’re already working in the ministry and have a significant amount of coursework or related graduate degree, you may qualify for the Advanced Track in South University’s DMin program. Qualifying students can earn 56 credits worth of Advanced Standard Credit, leaving only 40 credits of ministry study to complete. This track cuts the time needed to earn a DMin by more than half.

Benefits of Earning Your Doctor of Ministry

Ready for the next step in your ministry career? Earning your DMin can equip you to serve and lead more effectively as:

  • Pastor, ministry staff member, and lay minister in local churches/parishes
  • Program staff leader in parachurch organizations
  • Chaplain and spiritual care coordinator in a variety of institutional settings
  • Program staff leader in nonprofit service agencies, community development, advocacy and justice ministries
  • Social entrepreneur pursuing business as mission, and commercial and industrial chaplaincy

Learn More About Pursing A Doctorate Degree in Ministry

At South University, Online Programs, you’ll find both the flexibility of fully online ministry program and educational pathways designed for those with and without a graduate degree. We welcome people of all affiliations, including those working internationally as missionaries or otherwise. Our DMin program is non-denominational and rooted in the Christian tradition. Learn more and request information today!


See http://ge.southuniversity.edu/programoffering/5425 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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The Rising Value of a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing

by South University
September 2, 2016

The Rising Value of a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

Today, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that only slightly more than half of all Registered Nurses (RNs) have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Yet, major professional organizations, including the National Academy of Medicine, are pushing for that number to reach 80% within the next four years.

Why Organizations Want RNs with a BSN

While 80% of RNs with a BSN is an ambitious goal, many organizations want to make it a reality. Why? They hope to increase the standard of care for their patients, and a growing body of research demonstrates improved clinical outcomes for nurses with higher education. These outcomes range from lower mortality rates to more accurate diagnoses.

Some hospitals may be further driven by a desire for the coveted Magnet Hospital designation, which requires that hospitals have a plan to ensure 80% of their RNs hold a BSN by 2020. The awarding committee also evaluates the current education of the nursing staff and expects all nurse managers to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

How a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Could Help You

While associate’s and diploma nursing programs focus primarily on the basics of clinical care, BSN programs offer a broader curriculum useful in diverse settings and cases. BSN programs can teach you communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills as well as prepare you to deliver more advanced patient care.

Employers recognize and value that difference, with the numbers clearly showing the value of a BSN to RNs on the job hunt. In 2015, the AACN found that over 83% of surveyed organizations strongly preferred hiring nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, while over 47% only hired RNs with a BSN. The US Army, Navy and Air Force, for example, require every active duty practicing RN to hold a BSN.

Having a bachelor’s degree in nursing is also commonly a must-have for moving beyond basic clinical positions into administration, research, teaching, or other specialized nursing fields. This holds true in the Veteran’s Administration (VA)—the single largest US employer for RNs—where nurses cannot be promoted out of entry-level positions without a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Earning a BSN can also lead to a jump in your salary. In 2014, Payscale.com reported that RNs with a BSN earned a median salary of $69,000, nearly $30,000 more than those without the degree. Beyond that, a bachelor’s degree in nursing can be a stepping stone to a master’s degree in nursing, which is required for advanced practice RNs.

Solutions for Working Nurses: RN to BSN Programs and Online Nursing Degrees

Without your RN status, earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing would take, on average, four years. Luckily, RN to BSN programs can save RNs like you time and money. If you meet RN to BSN requirements, you could earn your BSN in under two years.

What’s more, select schools allow you to earn nursing degrees online—giving you greater flexibility and control over your schedule. Your employer may even offer tuition reimbursement support for RN to BSN programs. Either way, investing in your education now could lead to more job and promotion opportunities and a higher salary in the future.


Ready to start earning your BSN degree online in an environment of supportive faculty and staff? Discover the RN to BSN degree completion program at South University, Online Programs today.

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