Criminal Justice As A Law Enforcement Degree
Similar to seeking a degree in Criminology, a degree in criminal justice can also be a helpful stepping stone to reach the next level in your career. Rather than trying to understand the motivations and behavior of criminals, criminal justice is a broader concentration which covers the multiple facets of this field.
It is another common degree among law enforcement professionals as students of criminal justice will develop a better understanding of courtroom procedures, criminal laws, and procedures, and increase their knowledge about the entire criminal process from arrest to incarceration. This degree is a solid choice for police officers looking to take on leadership roles.
The Level Of Degree Needed To Be A Police Officer
Of police officer jobs that require more than a high school diploma, the degree level expected usually fits into one of the following categories:
- An associates degree or the equivalent amount of college credits . An associates degree is an undergraduate course of study typically completed at a community college or junior college. Full-time students can typically complete an associates degree in two years.
- A bachelors or baccalaureate degree or the equivalent amount of college credits . Bachelors degrees are usually offered by four-year institutions and provide a more comprehensive undergraduate education that includes upper-division coursework.
- A masters degree or graduate certificate. Graduate-level study is more advanced and, often, more specialized than undergraduate coursework.
A 2017 report by the National Police Foundation found that an associates degree was the most common level of education for this career field, accounting for the highest level of education of 51.8 percent of sworn police officers in America. Just over 30 percent of cops reported having a bachelors degree, while more than 5 percent of officers had gone to graduate school. If you opt out of going to college entirely, your career prospects in law enforcement will be limited, and you will have to compete for jobs against candidates who are, for the most part, more highly educated than you are.
Selecting A Law Enforcement Degree
Before jumping into a degree that interests you, try to audit yourself and understand where you are really skilled and if you can apply it to your career. Some degrees make a lot of sense for police and law enforcement professionals, but that doesnt mean they are the right choices for you.
Envision where you want your career to go, what criminology degree jobs are a good fit for you, and pick a degree that will help you get there. To learn more about how West Liberty can put you on the path to advancing your career in law enforcement, talk to us to see what a Masters in Criminology can do for you.
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Can You Become A Police Officer Without A University Degree
If you want to join the Police straight after your time at Sixth Form, this is another route which you can take! You dont actually need a degree to be able to join the Police. In fact, you can do a degree apprenticeship with the Police Force of your choice, and will be able to learn on the job while also earning a degree in Professional Policing Practice.
If you would like to find out which forces are recruiting, you can take a look at this useful website, which will enable you to find routes into the Police according to your position and your location.
Required: Other Aspects Of Your Application To The Police
During your application to a Police Force, you will have to go through extensive background checks. If you have lived outside of the UK for any period of time, these may take longer than usual, but it does not mean that you wont be able to join!
You will also have medical and fitness tests to complete. The fitness test is not intended to scare you off, but is there to make sure that you are physically fit enough to be able to do your job as a Police Officer effectively. If you fail the first time, there is no need to worry, as you will be able to retake it up to 3 times. However, if you dont manage to pass it the 3rd time, you will have to wait 6 months to be able to reapply to any Police Force again.
You will also be required to complete components such as a written assessment, which tests your basic English comprehension and writing, verbal reasoning, and maths skills. This is likely to be accompanied by an interview.
There are courses which are available to help you prepare for these components, and one example can be found here. Make sure that you do your preparation for these tests, so that you feel comfortable during your application process, and are able to put yourself in the best position for success possible.
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What Makes Lauriers Police Studies Degree Different
Laurier is recognized by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development as one of the strongest schools for crime, justice and police degrees in Canada.
Unlike most police degrees, Lauriers program is for working officers with at least one year of on-the-job experience. We believe that the learning environment is strengthened when all students have actually dealt first-hand with the subjects discussed in class.
Youll learn alongside other experienced professionals from our expert instructors advised by a volunteer board of top police officers, lawyers, and academics.
Of course, few officers can afford to take three to four years off of work to earn a bachelors degree in policing, no matter how much it might benefit their career. Thats why we allow students to complete their police courses online.
Complete Coursework & Field Training
The coursework involved in a program that leads to work as a police officer can vary depending upon the institution and the degree level. For instance, those in a training academy will dive right into the nitty-gritty of everyday police work and not touch on general education requirements, such as you would find in an associate degree program. In both the associate and the bachelors program, students will encounter not only general education courses and several possible electives, but they will also focus on the core courses for police officers, such as those in criminal justice, ethics, corrections systems, communication, and more. Heres a good idea of courses you might encounter, either in the core curriculum of the degree program or at the police academy:
- Patrol Procedures
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Decide If The Career Is Right For You
Do you consider yourself brave, honest, and physically fit? Before beginning your journey to become a police officer, the first step is determining whether you possess the necessary police officer qualities. The work of a police officer is not for everyone. Those that are most suited for this career possess the following qualities:
- Physical fitness
- Communication skills
How To Become A Police Officer In California
Like most of the country, California is in need of police officers here’s what you need to know
It doesnt get much better than the Golden State. From the stunning sequoias in Yosemite to the beautiful beaches of Santa Monica, California truly has something for everyone.
And with a total of 509 law enforcement agencies in the state, there are plenty of places to choose from. Here’s how to become a police officer in California.
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S To Becoming A Police Officer
In Texas, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Certifications is responsible for setting the standards and requirements to become a police officer. Even though standards are typically set by TCLEOSE, departments at the local level may have different eligibility requirements over and above TCLEOSE requirements. For instance, many departments may require a bachelors degree in criminal justice, sociology or psychology, have higher minimum age requirements, or have different background restrictions.
Police officers in Texas are commonly known as Texas Peace Officers. If you satisfy the minimum requirements, here are the next steps in the process to becoming a police officer.
In Texas, it is essential for the candidates to complete at least 90 credit hours of college/university level courses or have served in the military. These are in addition to having a high school diploma or GED .
Military service is classified as having served active duty in the armed forced of the United States. Individuals who have served in the Reserves or the National Guard are also considered eligible to apply.
In addition, if you have served as a police officer in another state, you may apply for a position as a police officer in Texas if you have a valid license from the state of your residence.
Police Officer Salaries In Ontario
The provincial hourly rate ranges from $30.05-$57.69/hr with a median hourly wage of $46.15/hr. The salary range for police officers in Ontario is $56k-$117k/year, while the median annual salary is $97,115/year.
The median employment income in 2015 for police officers in Toronto was $107,627. The median employment income in 2015 for police officers in Ottawa was $105,533, and the median employment income in 2015 for police officers in Hamilton was $106,485.
The starting salary at the Toronto Police Service is $70,643.30/year. By the fourth year, expected the annual salary to be $100,923.48/year. Benefits include paid vacation, family medical and dental benefits, life insurance, pension plan, and paternal and maternity leave.
The starting salary at the Ottawa Police Service is $67,615.92/year. By the fourth year, depending on your performance reviews, the annual salary is expected to increase to $99,434.93/year. Benefits include education reimbursement programs, a generous pension plan, medical, dental and vision coverage, life insurance, as well as long-term disability insurance.
Meanwhile, if working for the Ontario Provincial Police , the average salary is roughly $100,500/year.
Here is a list of average salaries for police officers in Ontario, according to Glassdoor:
|$98K – $104K|
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What About Basic Training
Completing a basic police academy prior to your hiring is dependent on the agency you apply to. Some will only hire upon completion of the academy others hire you and then send you through the academy afterward. Check with the agency youre applying to for further information.
If youre from another state, keep in mind that California POST does not have reciprocity with other states. POST does offer a Basic Course Waiver process for out-of-state cops that you can learn more about here.
Acquire A Degree Or Academy Training
The requirements for this step will vary substantially depending on the state in which you plan on becoming a police officer. Some states do not require their officers to be college-educated, even if they may prefer it. Other states, like Minnesota, an Associates degree or equivalent training is one of the requirements to become a police officer.
Generally speaking, the training process for aspiring police officers follows two routes:
- Completing training by earning a two- or four-year degree in Criminal Justice or similar field from a Peace Officer Standings and Training -certified college or university, or
- Completing training through a government-approved police academy or training program.
Since police officer requirements differ, youll want to be sure to check with the agency that sets the standards for law enforcement training and licensure in your area. Some also have arrangements for military reciprocity, allowing candidates who served in the military to follow a different process in acknowledgement of the training they already have.
Whichever path you take, your training will include classroom instruction in state and local laws, covering topics like constitutional law, civil rights and police ethics. Recruits also receive training and supervised experience in areas such as patrol, traffic control, firearm use, self-defense, first aid and emergency response.
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Beyond Law Enforcement Careers
No matter how much pride you get from patrolling streets, responding to emergencies, and being a first-contact between the police department and the community, you may eventually want to leave your position and go beyond a police officer career.
So what are your options? When it comes to advancement, police officers should consider positions both vertically and horizontally.
If you are most interested in vertical promotions should first focus on being the best police officer possible. Like any career, attitude makes a difference. While you can train for hundreds of hours a year and have decades of experience on your resume, an attitude focused on the positives of policing will be crucial for your success. Good captains, chiefs, and commissioners need a strong attitude that will rub off on the minds of other officers.
Education still matters. While many ground-level police officers are hired without a college degree, higher-ranking police officers are all but required to have a post-secondary academic education. An associates, or better yet a bachelors degree, is a wise choice for anyone who aspires to work in law enforcement leadership.
There are almost no limits to the potential careers beyond a police officer position. From advancing in your local department to taking your skills to the private sectors, police officers have a variety of skills that can apply almost anywhere!
Get The Right Police Education & Training
There was a time when becoming a police officer was as simple as graduating high school or earning your GED, then attending a short training academy before diving into on-the-job training. And though those opportunities do still exist, especially in smaller departments, most departments have raised their standards of education to at least two years of post-secondary work. This means pursing an associate degree in law enforcement or a related field, such as criminal justice, criminology, or police science should be the first option to consider. The associate degree can then serve as a stepping stone to the bachelors degree, which then leads to graduate degree options.
However, other routes to the profession do exist. In addition to the on-the-job training after completing academy training, there is also the military option. Those who work as military police or in a similar capacity while serving their country can be perfectly suited to move into a police force after their military time is up. Lets take a look at the options.
Associate Degree in Law Enforcement
Bestfor? Those who want to stand outagainst the competition, or need a basic college degree to apply fora particular job opening.
Bachelors Degree in Law Enforcement
Best for? Those who have the time and financial resources to earn a four-year degree, want to work in federal law enforcement, or anticipate future professional advancement.
Masters Degree in Law Enforcement
Military experience in lieu of a degree
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Is Becoming A Police Officer In Your Future
While the steps to becoming a police officer may seem lengthy, completing them is absolutely necessary if you want to achieve the fulfilling career youve set your sights on. And a good law enforcement program will help you navigate the process.
Now that youre familiar with the process of how to become a police officer, you may be curious if you have what it takes to excel on the job. Learn more in our article, Often Overlooked Qualities of a Great Police Officer.
If youre already set on becoming a police officer, visit our Law Enforcement degree page to learn how we can help you take the next step toward becoming a police officer in Minnesota.
The Law Enforcement programs at Rasmussen University are not aligned to the standards of any professional licensing body other than the MN POST and are not intended to satisfy professional licensure requirements of any professional licensing agency in any other state.Editors note: This article was originally published in June 2016. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2020. Insight from Shetler and Plantinga remain from the original.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer In Texas
The total amount of time it will take to become a police officer in Texas from application to probation completion is about two years. This does not include any university or college education prior to application.
The application itself takes about 3-4 months and the hiring process takes 3-4 months. After that, you can expect to set aside 6 months for police academy, and another 6-12 months for a probationary period before becoming a full-fledged peace officer.
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Duties Of A Police Officer
The life of a police officer is often demanding and can be difficult. However, it is a very purposeful and rewarding profession. Police officers carry out a wide variety of tasks. As law enforcement officials, they are responsible for maintaining peace in their communities and this duty has a number of different aspects.
Some of the tasks carried out by police officers include:
- Hostage negotiations