Law School, Grad School, and Certificate Programs - HELP!

  1. Exclamation Law School, Grad School, and Certificate Programs - HELP!


    I received my BA in Criminal Justice from the University of West Florida in the Fall of '09. I told myself I would take off the Spring and Summer...well, my time is up, and I'm looking into some more advanced degree options.

    I have a few questions for those of you who have traveled down this road:

    1) I'm looking into the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice at UMass-Amherst. It's an online program that would be great for me as I'm currently in Michigan. I have the option to continue on at UWF for the MS in Criminal Justice, but I feel UMass would be better to have on my resume.

    2) I'm intrigued by a couple different certificates. The first being the Certificate in Negotiation offered at Mendoza College of Business (Notre Dame) as well as the Certificate in Human Performance Technology offered by UWF. I'm currently working as a marketing director; could these benefit me?

    3) Law school is my main aim. The schools I'm most interested in at the moment are Boston College, Creighton University, and George Mason University; as for in-state (I'm still a FL resident) programs, I really have no interest in any of them.

    Would getting my Masters or being involved in any certificate programs just be a waste of time? Should I roll right into law school and get my JD rather than continuing in CJ education? I really have no interest in using my CJ degree other than to benefit me in law or advance my resume.
    - If I were to get a masters, I would inevitably go on to get a doctorate. That's just how I am.

    Advice would be helpful.


  2. I can't comment on CJ or law schools...but I do remember a few of my professors telling me that certificate programs were not as highly recognized as a masters degree.

    I don't think a Master's Degree is a waste of time so long as it's something you're interested in. The one thing to bear in mind is that you won't see an immediate salary increase from a masters although it will make you much more marketable. I say this because I finished my masters right after finishing my bachelors....so the lack of work experience keeps me from making the big bucks. But after a getting a few more years of work experience on my resume that will be a different story.

  3. Quote Originally Posted by TheDarkHalf View Post
    I can't comment on CJ or law schools...but I do remember a few of my professors telling me that certificate programs were not as highly recognized as a masters degree.

    I don't think a Master's Degree is a waste of time so long as it's something you're interested in. The one thing to bear in mind is that you won't see an immediate salary increase from a masters although it will make you much more marketable. I say this because I finished my masters right after finishing my bachelors....so the lack of work experience keeps me from making the big bucks. But after a getting a few more years of work experience on my resume that will be a different story.
    See, and this is the issue. I love CJ courses, but with the exception of law, I don't EVER see myself being involved in the CJ system. I don't want to be a cop, I can't do DEA due to past experiences, and FBI is of no interest to me.

    Certificate programs are definitely not as highly regarded as graduate degrees, but they definitely help show advanced education and look good to employers.

    I'm in an interesting situation as I'm highly involved in marketing as far as my career goes, so I'm getting great experience with that, but my degree is a BA in CJ with a minor in Law and Social Issues.
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  4. i'm more familiar with other grad schools besides law, but why wouldnt you roll right into law school? the only reason i see for doing all this "extra" certificates and degrees is if your application wouldnt be accepted currently and you need to improve it.

  5. Quote Originally Posted by urbanski View Post
    i'm more familiar with other grad schools besides law, but why wouldnt you roll right into law school? the only reason i see for doing all this "extra" certificates and degrees is if your application wouldnt be accepted currently and you need to improve it.
    This is kind of how I see it too; however, I won't be starting law school until at least next Fall, so that gives me a few semesters to advance my educational resume somewhat.
  

  
 

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