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Do You Need A Degree To Join The Police

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Do You Need A College Degree To Be A Police Officer

Why do you want to be a police officer?

By Own Your Own Future

The global imaginary of the cop is a bit distorted. You might think of movie scenes with crazy chases, shootouts, and explosions. And while that does happen, its not the day-to-day for most cops.

The reality is that being a cop requires split-second decision making, an ability to handle high-pressure situations, and excellent communication skills. The latter is particularly important, because youll find yourself in situations where you have to calm people down who are upset, frightened, or angry.

Cops are public servants. And like any public servant, they are held to a higher standard. They are expected to have more education than the general population and be able to pass a series of tests that show they can perform their duties. But does that mean they need a college degree?

The simple answer is no, you do not need a college degree to become a cop. There are many ways to enter the police academy and begin your career in law enforcement.

However, some states require police officers to have a college degree, or at the very least a certain number of college credits.. And some departments may prefer to hire candidates with a degree. Plus, having a degree may give you an edge over other candidates.

So, while you can become a cop without a college degree, it may not be as easy as it once was. And, in some cases, it may not be possible at all.

Police Now Graduate Schemes

Police Now is an independent charity with a mission to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing.

The organisation works in partnership with police forces to attract, recruit and train outstanding graduates with leadership potential to be inspirational detectives and police officers through their award-winning national graduate programmes.

Equipping participants with core policing skills, Police Now’s two-year national graduate programmes help to develop leadership, communication and problem-solving skills that will serve graduates, and the wider community, for a lifetime.

The two graduate programmes are:

  • National Graduate Leadership Programme – trains and develops graduates to become leaders in neighbourhood policing. Participants are placed in some of the most challenging communities in England and Wales, getting to know the issues up close and developing innovative ideas and techniques to tackle the challenges residents are facing.
  • National Detective Programme – designed to equip graduates with the core policing skills required in modern investigative work. Throughout the programme, participants play an important part in solving crimes while developing leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Both programmes involve the completion of a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice with the University of Huddersfield.

To be eligible for Police Now’s national graduate programmes, you must:

If You Have A Degree: A Graduate Diploma

For those who have a degree which is not related to Policing, there is an option to do a graduate diploma in Professional Policing Practice. This is a 2-year course which is based on on-the-job training, with some additional learning to support your work.

If you want to find out which forces are currently recruiting graduates in your desired location, take a look at this useful website.

Read Also: How Do You Get Into The Police Academy

Before You Start Working A Degree In Professional Policing Before You Apply

The degree in professional policing is a professional academic knowledge-based degree, based on the national curriculum for the police constable role. You need to complete the degree before applying to join the police.

It is an academic knowledge-based degree, based upon the national curriculum for the police constable role. It will provide you with an entry route into policing if you wish to study before you apply to join a police force.

The application of education received during the degree is put into practice and assessed during probation. If you wish to use the degree in professional policing as your entry route to the police service, you must apply to join a police force within five years of your graduation.

Some universities are working with local forces to offer complementary special constable opportunities, enabling students to gain practical experience alongside their degree. This makes it much more likely that they will also gain a probationary police constable place at the end of the degree.

The degree in professional policing may also be of interest or benefit to those considering a career in other roles within policing, for those seeking to understand how society is policed, for those who have an interest in law enforcement or for those who want to enter the wider justice sector.

Once you have successfully joined a force as a probationer, you will need to:

How do I apply?

Universities offering this degree

Universities who want to offer this degree

British Transport Police Eligibility Criteria

How To Get A Job At A Police Station

Before you do decide to apply to the British Transport Police, you will need to make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria.

In order to work for the British Transport Police, you must have the right to work and live in the UK without restriction, on a permanent basis.

Every person who applies to the British Transport Police must have been a resident of the UK for the last 3 years prior to their application date.

Applicants who are members of the BNP or other similar parties will be rejected.

All applicants to the BTP will need to be free from undischarged or unmanageable debt, and must be able to provide a safe and reliable financial history. If you have been registered as bankrupt in the past, then you will only be considered if you are applying 3 years minimum after the discharge of debt.

The British Transport Police is fairly strict on employee business ethics. There are a number of stipulations you will need to abide by, including:

  • You must not hold offices or employment in any other role
  • No members of your family or partner can own a shop or anything similar in the area that you would be working in as an officer
  • Neither you, your partner or any relative can own an establishment/license which authorises the sale of liquor or betting.

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Faq: Do You Need A Degree To Be A Cop

Being a police officer is a worthwhile and impactful job that serves the community. Experience and skills are key to a role as a police officer. They undergo specialized academy training and pass exams to gain employment, though often no formal education is required. In this article, we explore the career of a police officer, including their duties, experience, skills and how to become one to help you decide if this is the right career for you.

How To Become A Police Officer

A career in the police force offers a healthy salary and plenty of opportunity for progression, but, equally, it regularly demands anti-social hours and is a potentially stressful profession.

As the Institute For Apprenticeships says:

‘Being a police constable * is a physically and intellectually demanding occupation, requiring high levels of emotional intelligence, strong behavioural interpretation skills , and an ability to analyse and resolve rapidly evolving events.

‘Police constables have a unique employment status, as every police constable is a warranted officer, making autonomous lawful decisions including taking away an individuals liberty if required.

‘Police constables exercise wide-ranging powers to maintain the peace and uphold the law across complex and diverse communities. They must justify and personally account for their actions through differing legal frameworks including courts, while also under the close scrutiny of the public’.

* ‘Police constable’ refers to a rank that virtually all police officers will start as. ‘Police officer’ refers to all ranks from police constable to chief constable of a county constabulary. With there being such a wide range of roles within the policing profession, there’s plenty of scope for career progression.

Skip ahead:

What does a police officer do?

As a police officer you’ll carry out a wide range of tasks, such as:

Find out more in our Police Officer job profile.

How to become a police officer

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What Does A Police Officer Do

A police officer enforces the law by patrolling assigned areas to respond to emergency situations, look for crime, enforce traffic infractions and investigate criminal complaints. Their primary concern is the safety and protection of people and families within their community.

A police officer handles a variety of responsibilities, including:

  • Writing and filing reports for traffic violations, accidents, arrests or other occurrences

  • Responding to 911 calls, which can range from minor to major incidents

  • Deterring crime within the community

  • Interacting with neighbors and building rapport

  • Providing backup to fellow officers and first responders

  • Giving first aid to injured individuals

  • Dealing with lost, stolen or found property

  • Gathering witness statements

How To Become A Police Officer: 4 Steps To The Best Job Outlook

Police Recruitment – Do I really need a Degree in Policing?

Its hard to image our society without police officers.

Under-appreciated even in the most appreciative communities, police officers are the stewards of justice, peace, and safety all over the country. They may not be perfect, and their public images may not be flawless, but police officers and other law enforcement officials are vital to this county.

You can be one of the proud police officers who protect the peace and safety of our communities, but it takes the right attitude, fortitude, and education to make it a reality.

To make the right decision for your future, you probably have a lot of questions. This article walks you through each of the 4 steps needed to become a police officer, so you can make the right choice and hit the ground running in your new career.


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Advanced Law Enforcement Degrees To Help Further Your Career

After serving a few years as a police or patrol officer, you may qualify for a promotion. Moving up through the ranks usually requires additional education and training. For the highest ranks, such as captain or commander, a masters or doctoral degree could be advantageous. You might also be able to further your career by specializing in a field of law enforcement.

Its not unusual for police officers to study for college degrees while they continue to work. Classes for advanced degrees are often held in the evening and weekend. Online degrees are also available.

Popular degrees include:

Master of Criminal JusticeYou can gain a deeper understanding of crime and the criminal justice system. This degree can prepare you to qualify for a promotion to a higher rank such as a detective, sergeant, and lieutenant.

Master of Law Enforcement LeadershipThis degree emphasizes management and administration skills in the field of law enforcement. You could become qualified for a promotion to a supervisory position in the police department or for similar leadership jobs such as prison warden or director of probation or parole division.

Master of Public Safety AdministrationThis degree is designed with first responders in mind. You can learn more about managing public service organizations, including police departments. It can prepare you for leadership and supervisory positions within a police department or related jobs such as EMT supervisor or chief security officer.

Training Institutions For Police Officers

Now that you know what options there are for becoming a police officer, its important to know where they are offered. There are many schools that exist to help you move into the law enforcement career of your choice. Here are the options:

Vocational/trade schools

These post-high school institutions focus their programs and curriculums on skill-oriented or hands-on training. This training can come in the form of what effectively amounts to an in-house police academy. Vocational and trade schools can provide the fastest way to obtain the training necessary to become a police officer and allow students to receive police academy training without attending the official police academy. Its also fairly affordable compared to earning a college degree. Keep in mind that graduation doesnt guarantee a job in law enforcement and may not result in an academic credential that provides opportunities for professional advancement.

Best for? Those confident in obtaining a job offer after graduation and want to serve as a police officer as quickly as possible.

Community colleges

Best for? Students who would like to earn a college degree along with their law enforcement training.


Best for? Those who love serving their country or community will benefit from the rewarding experience that can come from military service.

Four-year schools

Best for? Aspiring police officers who want an extra way to stand out from the pack of applicants, as well as those looking for federal work.

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Benefits Of Earning A Policing Degree

While a policing degree is not required to become a law enforcement official, a policing degree from Laurier helps enhance the career and earning potential of an individual who wants to pursue a career in this field.

Graduates with a bachelors degree in policing will have an advantage when pursuing leadership positions and promotions. In addition to becoming a police officer, some of the top job opportunities for graduates include emergency management specialist, crime analyst and security director.

Additionally, the earning potential is higher for graduates with an online degree in policing. Higher education can translate into higher wages than a high school or college diploma alone. Earning a bachelor’s degree can earn you over 30 percent higher earnings than high school graduates.

In terms of salaries in Canada, a police officer earns an average of $93,000 per year. The average security director salary in Canada is $99,000. And a detective sergeant can earn in excess of $121,000 annually.

What Makes A Good Police Officer

Professional Policing BA (Hons)

Aside from needing the skills and training to successfully carry out their duties, police officers need to have some innate skills that will contribute to them being brilliant police officers.

At the most fundamental level of being a police officer lies communication. From dealing with perpetrators and victims, defusing hostile environments, and interacting with the community, police officers communicate with people from all walks of life, and it is necessary for them to do so successfully.

Compassion, empathy, honesty, and integrity are also qualities that they need to possess to be successful in their role. This comes with the need for them to interact with such a wide array of people. They also need to have superior negotiation skills.

They need to have high moral standing and sound judgement, especially when difficult situations arise situations that may test their character and integrity.

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Furthering Your Education As A Cop

Many states have bonuses and incentives for cops to further their education. These come either as tuition reimbursement, salary bonuses, or both.

For example, states like Arizona and Montana offer tuition reimbursements to cops who want to earn a college degree. In some cases, the state will even pay for your entire tuition.

Editors note: Some states dont put limitations on what you can study, while others will reimburse your tuition only if youre taking courses related to the law enforcement field.

Other states like Connecticut and Illinois offer salary bonuses to cops who have a college degree. So, if you are already working as a police officer and want to go back to school, check with your department to see what incentives they offer.

You may be surprised to find that many departments are willing to help you pay for your education.

What Do You Need To Become A Police Constable In Toronto

Officer candidates follow a detailed application and training process to become police constables with TPS. Once hired, new recruits attend the Ontario Police College for Basic Constable Training. You need to meet the following minimum requirements to become a Police Constable in Toronto:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada,
  • Be at least 18 years of age,
  • Be physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to your own safety and the safety of members of the public,
  • Have successfully completed at least four years of secondary school education or its equivalent. . Where education has been completed outside Ontario, official proof of equivalency must be obtained,
  • Be of good moral character and habits, meaning that you are an individual other people would look upon as being trustworthy and having integrity.

In addition, you must:

  • Have no criminal convictions for which a pardon has not been granted,
  • Possess a valid driver’s license with no more than six accumulated demerit points, permitting you to drive an automobile in Ontario with full driving privileges,
  • Have current certification in CPR and first aid by the time the offer of employment is given,
  • Possess a valid O.A.C.P. certificate,
  • Have a minimum of 20/40 vision, with normal colour acuity,
  • Successfully pass the hearing standards as outlined by the O.A.C.P.,
  • Be able to pass a security clearance as well as a background investigation, credit and reference checks.

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Impress At Your Police Officer Interview

Many hopeful applicants will be offered an interview during the hiring process. This is an opportunity to get to know you on a personal level, and sometimes that can be enough to land you that coveted job. Here are some questions you might encounter during that interview:

  • What would you do if you witnessed another officer commit a crime?
  • If a superior officer told you to do something you knew was against regulations, what would you do?
  • What de-escalation techniques would you use to prevent a physical altercation?
  • Would you be able to arrest a family member if you had to?
  • Describe a time your ethics were tested. How did you handle the situation?
  • This job can be emotionally challenging. How would you reach out for help if needed?
  • Give an example of a time when the right thing contradicted the rules of a certain situation. How did you handle that?
  • What do you consider your greatest strengths in communication? How about your greatest weakness?
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