Those considering a wide range of college degree programs typically wonder how they’ll fit in, and for those aspiring to positions in law enforcement, the typical age of a criminal justice student is a top concern. As should be expected, most people simply want to pick a program where they fit in with their peers and can establish a great working environment both in the classroom and on the job. The good news is that criminal justice is a highly varied field, and the classroom will expose students to people of various ages, backgrounds, and levels of experience in the industry. Those who want to learn alongside others in their similar age group do have some options available, however.
Daytime Programs On-Campus Certainly Skew Younger
The daytime classes offered on college campuses typically run from 8 a.m. until about 4:30 p.m., and they’re most often attended by full-time students who are no older than about 24 years. That’s because these classes simply conflict with the typical daytime schedule of most law enforcement professionals, investigators and detectives, and others who help bring criminals to justice. Full-time students, however, have no such work obligations and usually live on or near campus. Their ability to get to class at this time ensures a rather homogenous classroom full of people who are working toward their first internships or professional observations.
While older students would certainly be welcome in this type of classroom, it’s understandable that some older adults might not want to learn alongside those who have less experience in the field. For this reason, alternatives exist for nontraditional students that are better suited to their age, experience, and typical schedule.
Night Classes are Perfect for Older, Working Adults in Criminal Justice
While day classes skew younger, classes offered after the close of traditional business hours decidedly attract an older, adult student body. In fact, nighttime classes typically have a median age near 30 for most undergraduate and graduate programs offered on today’s college campuses. These programs are a great choice for older students for several reasons. First and foremost, they’re accessible to professionals who are otherwise employed and occupied during the daytime. They’re often taught by the same professors, using the same materials, so no sacrifice of educational quality is required.
Nighttime classes also place students in an older, more experienced cohort. That means they can more freely share opinions, ideas, and experiences, and learn from each other in a way that simply isn’t possible during a more traditional, daytime class. These experiences build a different type of educational core, and they allow for networking opportunities among existing criminal justice professionals that can pay off in a big way after graduation.
Online Programs are More Mixed, But Still of High Quality
For the ultimate experience in diverse student bodies and classrooms, consider online criminal justice degree programs. Because these programs are accessible at any time during a given session, they attract both younger and older students alike. Older students can share their experiences in the field, while younger students can learn greatly from these exchanges. The classroom environment benefits from this unique mix, while students of all kinds enjoy more time to build their careers, seek internships, and create a solid launching pad for future career growth.
There is No Typical Age, Only a Typical Student of Criminal Justice
The typical criminal justice student believes in the importance of the law and in the safety of communities. They’re ready to do what it takes to prevent crimes, solve outstanding cases, and bring criminals to justice in any way possible. Though there is a typical student, the accessible nature of modern university programs means that there simply is no typical age of a criminal justice student.