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How To Become A Police Officer Without A College Degree

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Michigan Sheriff Deputy Requirements

Police Jobs : How to Become a Police Officer Without a Degree

The requirements and training to become a sheriffs deputy in Michigan are overseen by the Michigan Sheriffs Coordinating and Training Council . It is a part of the states Department of Corrections and sets minimum standards for becoming a sheriffs deputy, along with those already set by MCOLES. As a result, sheriffs deputy candidates must meet MCOLES standards and:

  • Pass a background check that also includes school records and an assessment of the home environment, as well as an evaluation of civil law violations
  • Pass the MSCTCs written exam

Note that a countys sheriffs office may set additional requirements.

How Important Is Accreditation

Accreditation refers to an outside organization reviewing a particular school or program to ensure it meets certain standards of quality. Accreditation is important for police training programs because it serves as a mark of quality graduates who complete their education and training can be confident that what they have earned will be accepted by future employers and peers. The specific entities that offer accreditation will vary depending on the program. For instance, many associate or bachelors degree programs will not be accredited at the program level, but the school offering the degree will be accredited. This will usually be a regional or national accrediting organization recognized by the US Department of Education.

As for the accreditation of police training academies, the most prominent is the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA.

Step 3

Field Asset Protection Analyst

The duty of field asset protection analyst is to determine the investments and the return of these investments. In law enforcement agencies, the duty of asset protection analyst is to analyze the threats to the assets and determine the counter measures for it.

The asset protection analysts are also hired to probe the financial irregularities in a business entity or a government organization. Whenever there is any case of financial irregularities, a protection analyst assists the law enforcing agencies for determining the actual financial data of a firm or organization.

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Law Enforcement Education: Career Boosting Options

Jeannine Johns law enforcement education began with an interest in horticulture. Like one-third of all U.S. undergraduates who change their major at least once during college, Johns started at the University of California-Riverside as a horticulture major but eventually settled on a degree in sociology. It was a sociology professor who initially suggested that law enforcement might be a good fit for her. Johns is now a detective with the El Cajon Police Department in southern California.

After finishing at UCR, Johns initially got a job as a probation officer before eventually graduating from the police academy, working as a patrol officer and school resource officer, and finally making detective in January 2018. While she was working as a patrol officer, Johns continued her law enforcement education with a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from National University . She received a scholarship for police officers in the form of a tuition discount for her graduate program.

While a masters degree wasnt required for Johns to do her job, it did come with a pay raise and an opportunity to move up the ranks. I was able to get my advanced post two years sooner than someone without their masters degree, Johns says. As far as promotability, it has definitely given me a lot of opportunities. Ive only been working as a police officer for seven-and-a-half years, and I just got promoted to a detective spot.

What Is The Salary For Police Officers In Texas

Why our Kids Benefit From the Cop at our School

The national mean salary for police officers is $70,000 annually and an entry level police officer in Texas can make as high as $81,742 annually. The highest paying cities in Texas are Pearland , Dallas , and Houston .

The regions in Texas with the largest police departments and which will likely see the biggest growth over the next few years include:

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Bachelor Of Science Or Bachelor Of Arts

Another option for police officer education is the bachelors degree. Similar to an associate degree, a bachelors degree can be in the form of a Bachelor of Science , a Bachelor of Applied Science , or a Bachelor of Arts . Bachelors degrees usually take four years of full-time study to complete, and prospective or current cops may choose to pursue a bachelors in any subject in order to fulfill most departmentseducational requirements. For students considering a career in federal law enforcement, jobs like CIA officer or US Marshal may require a bachelors degree in a criminal justice-related subject, such as homeland security, criminology, or law enforcement. To be the most competitive candidate for these federal positions, many students pursue graduate degrees after obtaining their bachelors. Most bachelors degrees require around 120 credit hours to graduate, including foundational and specialized coursework. Law enforcement bachelors degrees may include courses such as Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, Ethics in Criminal Justice, Community Policing, Crime Analysis and Investigation, and others.

Police Officer Education Matters-Rydberg and Terrill, The Effect of Higher Education on Police Behavior, Police Quarterly

Types Of Police Officer

When you work as a police officer, you will be in a setting where rank and seniority make a big difference. Like the military, there is a direct hierarchy of authority whereas a private-sector boss can make a request, the head of a police department gives an order, and its your duty to follow these orders.

The exact structure of a police department can vary by region and size, but it generally starts with police officers, the most common rank. These are the professionals who complete ground-level duties of patrol and emergency response, forming the backbone of law enforcement across the country.

Next in rank are detectives, who perform crime scene investigations and work on individual cases.

From there, the structure of a police force, from lowest to highest rank, looks something like this:

  • Corporal Essentially an entry-level supervisor, often in charge of a small group of administrators.
  • Sergeant First-line supervisors, usually overseeing a group of officers and detectives.
  • Lieutenant In charge of a group of supervisors.
  • Captain Commanders of entire districts and units.
  • Staff Inspector Responsible for overseeing large units and multiple districts.
  • Chief Inspector Commanders of a bureau or large group of units.
  • Deputy Commissioner In charge of large sections of departments and districts.

In other cities, the police department can be headed by a chief, and there are other rankings and titles that can be found depending on the region.

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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.

Military

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.

Get Accepted & Paying Your Way

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Admission requirements can vary widely depending on the type of program and institution offering it. Another consideration is how to pay for this education and training. During your application process, keep the following pointers in the back of your mind to help you get into the best program to meet your needs and goals as a future police officer.

Entrance requirements

Entry into various degree programs in law enforcement will all require some general points, such as completing an application, paying an application fee and presenting proof of high school graduation.

The associate degree program might require:

  • A personal statement
  • Transcripts from any other college courses taken

The bachelors degree might require additional information:

  • An essay
  • Transcripts from associate degree work
  • Completion of certain prerequisites
  • A resume of related experience

Application process & fees

Paying for Your Program

How much a training or educational program costs depends greatly upon the degree level you want to obtain. For instance, obtaining an associate degree will cost much less than a bachelors degree will. To learn more about financial aid options and how those will affect your financial bottom line, visit our online financial aid handbook:

Step 4

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Law Enforcement Education At National University

Criminal justice seems like the most obvious educational pathway for someone interested in a career in law enforcement, but its not the only applicable major. A 2015 study from Michigan State University surveyed seven medium-sized to large police departments across the United States. Forty-five percent of officers had a four-year degree, and about half of those had studied criminal justice.

As a law enforcement university, NU offers a number of related undergraduate programs, in addition to criminal justice administration: pre-law, public administration, cybersecurity, and homeland security and emergency management. In addition, graduate students can earn masters degrees in criminal justice, forensic sciences, public administration, cybersecurity and information assurance, homeland security and emergency management, and juvenile justice. Beyond programs that are specific to various branches of law enforcement, students also might consider majors such as psychology and sociology. Online degrees are available for most of NUs programs.

Guffey adds that a criminal justice degree will give students a leg up at the police academy: The police academy is pretty intense. Youre going to fare better on those tests. Youre going to be able to write better reports, understand what youre writing, and what crime youre faced with on the street. All of those things are going to be stressed in a bachelors in criminal justice.

Police Training Academies In Michigan

One of the basic requirements set by MCOLES for all law enforcement officers in the state is to complete an approved police training academy program. These programs are designed to be intensive and provide new recruits with training in the essential areas of police work. This includes firearms training, traffic codes, criminal law, ethics, and physical fitness. Some academies are based on college campuses and are combined with two-year associate degrees in criminal justice. The list of MCOLES-approved police academies comprises 21 institutions, including:

  • Lake Superior State University Sault Ste. Marie, MI
  • Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, MI
  • Oakland Police Academy Auburn Hills, MI
  • Grand Rapids Community College Grand Rapids, MI
  • Detroit Metropolitan Police Academy Detroit, MI
  • Kalamazoo Law Enforcement Training Center Kalamazoo, MI

For a complete list of the approved academies see the MCOLES website.

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How Old Must You Be To Be A Cop

Minimum / Maximum Age Requirement While most agencies require you to be 21 by academy graduation date, some take cadets as young as 18. The maximum age can vary widely. Do not assume that just because you are over 30, your chances of becoming a police officer are over. Some agencies have no maximum age.

Is Becoming A Police Officer In Your Future

14 High Paying Jobs ($100k+) Without a College Degree

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.

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Police Departments In Michigan

In addition to the Michigan State Police and the county sheriffs offices, candidates for law enforcement who meet the MCOLES requirements may consider working for one of the states many local police departments. Two of the largest forces in the state are the Detroit Police Department and the Grand Rapids Police Department. In addition to the minimum requirements for being any kind of law enforcement officer in the state, those wishing to apply to a particular citys force must also meet the standards of that department.

Continuing Education And Career Advancement

Once you have completed all of these steps to becoming a police officer, you will still have plenty to learn. Nothing beats on-the-job experience to show you all of the specialized areas police officers might want or need to learn more about. The best officers are never done learning.

Similar to other industries, officers must meet continuing education requirements in order to renew their license. For example, Minnesota police officer requirements mandate a minimum of 48 hours of continuing education within the three-year licensing period in order to maintain their license.

In addition, active officers are required to train annually in use of force and once every five years in emergency vehicle operations/pursuit driving. Specialized training may also be directed by your police department based on federal and local needs. Departments might also incentivize other education opportunities to encourage their officers forward. Additional training or credentials may be required for those looking to climb the police ranks.

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Ensure A Career As A Police Officer Is Right For You

As with any job, its important to take a hard look at what the position requires to determine whether the career path is really right for you. Not only is it important to consider the career in general, its also important to look at the education required, the on-the-job intensity that police officers might experience on a day-to-day basis, and other factors. Its also a good idea to consider advancement if you have an eye toward higher-level administrative or federal work, is becoming a police officer the best stepping stone? Here are some questions to ask before diving into training to become a police officer.

  • Do I have the physical strength to restrain dangerous individuals or save innocent civilians?
  • Can I effectively read peoples emotions and feelings, in particular when it comes to assessing an individuals credibility and danger to others?
  • Can I make difficult decisions that often have no ideal outcomes?
  • Am I comfortable taking on a leadership role, whether it be as a community resource or point of assurance during a crisis?
  • Am I good at communicating with others, especially in high stress situations?

If you answered yes to these questions, you may be an excellent fit for a police officer career.

From Security Guard To Police Officer

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While there are a fair number of employment opportunities, as you have seen in the information presented in this article, policy agencies hire only the most suitable candidates. So you need to do what you can to ensure that your application stands out from the rest.

Police agency recruiters advise applicants to significantly improve their chances of being selected through:

  • Private Security Jobs: Security jobs provide a work experience that prepares you for your role as a police officer. The skills you learn, the duties involved, the situations you encounter as well as the opportunities to work alongside law enforcement officers, all provide well-rounded preparation for your future role as a police officer.
  • Awards: Awards that recognize your ability to be a top performer are a strong indicator of work ethic.
  • Volunteer Experience & Community Involvement: Contributing your time to an organization that does meaningful work demonstrates good character. Be an active member of your community to show that participating and serving your community is important to you.
  • Training & Education: While a degree in criminology would help, you dont necessarily need post-secondary education. Relevant training and education can include training that you receive on the job as a security officer. And unlike the time and financial investment involved in post-secondary education, you can get paid while you learn with a job as a security guard.
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    Uniformed Secret Service Officer

    Secret service special agents get all the glory, but the uniformed officers of the secret service work just as hard to protect the president, vice president, and foreign dignitaries.

    Uniformed secret service officers maintain security at the White House, the vice president’s residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory, and the United States Treasury Building.

    Officers perform shift work and are stationed primarily in and around Washington, D.C., though they may be called upon to travel with the presidential security detail and to provide a uniformed presence on other secret service operations, such as warrant service. Uniformed secret service agents earn approximately $60,000 per year.

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