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Is A College Degree Required To Be A Police Officer

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Is Criminal Justice Right For Me

3News Investigates: Should police officers be required to earn college degrees?

This is a question you have to answer for yourself. But if you have a passion for protecting citizens, solving crimes, and upholding the law with integrity and steadfastness, you might have what it takes to be a police officer. Keep in mind that most law enforcement jobs include background checks, drug tests, physical fitness tests, and other qualifications that a candidate must pass before being able to work in the field. If you are ready to undergo this testing, a career in criminal justice might be for you.

Do you want to get started on your new career today? If you want to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice, consider ECPI University for the education youll need for making a difference in the world. For more information about this exciting degree program, connect with a friendly admissions counselor today.

It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!

DISCLAIMER ECPI University makes no claim, warranty, or guarantee as to actual employability or earning potential to current, past or future students or graduates of any educational program we offer. The ECPI University website is published for informational purposes only. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained on the domain however, no warranty of accuracy is made. No contractual rights, either expressed or implied, are created by its content.

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New York Police Officer Requirements

To become one of New Yorks finest, there are a number of requirements candidates must meet. Although the specific requirements can change from department to department, all aspiring cops must:

  • Be between 20 and 35 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have proportionate height and weight
  • Be of good moral character
  • Not have any disqualifying felony or misdemeanor convictions

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Which Bachelors Degrees Should Law Enforcement Officials Consider

For a career in law enforcement, a bachelors degree will give you broader perspectives and may prepare you for future leadership roles or administrative positions.

A bachelors degree gives you a more comprehensive education than an associate degree. Youll take more classes in your major and may delve deeper into the subject matter. You could also have more opportunities to broaden your experience with internships, study abroad, and clubs.

Many of the same programs offered as associate degrees, such as criminal justice and computer forensics, are also offered at the bachelors-degree level.

Bachelors degrees also give you the opportunity to choose a minor area of study to supplement your major. Vesna Markovic, professor of criminal justice at Lewis University near Chicago, suggests that a minor in such subjects as psychology, social work, or computer science may give you an edge on the competition in your job search. Knowing a second language can also be beneficial, she says.

You may be competing with people who have all have advanced degrees, so what else do you have to bring to the table? Markovic asks.

Traditionally, full-time bachelors degrees take four years to complete. You may finish sooner if you take classes during the summer or attend an online school that offers an accelerated program.

Most colleges and universities allow you to transfer credits from an accredited associate degree program or previous college studies.

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Induction Of Beginning Teachers

Teaching involves the use of a wide body of knowledge about the subject being taught, and another set of knowledge about the most effective ways to teach that subject to different kinds of learner it, therefore, requires teachers to undertake a complex set of tasks every minute. Many teachers experience their first years in the profession as stressful. The proportion of teachers who either do not enter the profession after completing initial training, or who leave the profession after their first teaching post, is high.

A distinction is sometimes made between inducting a teacher into a new school , and inducting a new teacher into the teaching profession .

A number of countries and states have put in place comprehensive systems of support to help beginning teachers during their first years in the profession. Elements of such a programme can include:

  • mentoring: the allocation to each beginning teacher of an experienced teacher, specifically trained as a mentor the mentor may provide emotional and professional support and guidance in teacher training, induction is limited to the provision of a mentor, but research suggests that, in itself, it is not enough.
  • a peer network: for mutual support but also for peer learning.
  • input from educational experts .
  • support for the process of self-reflection that all teachers engage in .

Direct Benefits To New Cadets With College Degrees

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The perceived public benefits of a more educated police force are significant. Equally as notable, though, are the direct benefits to new cadets who have college degrees. In the same paper cited above, that listed the many public and institutional benefits of an educated police force, written by Dr. Paynich, the benefits of a college degreeas noted by college-educated officerswere also recorded. Essentially, these benefits were the perceived benefits that those police officers who had obtained higher education said they experienced. These included:

  • Better ability to utilize employee contacts
  • Greater knowledge of the law
  • Better preparedness for court
  • Improved communication skills and improved interpersonal working relationships
  • Better ability to resolve conflict
  • More equipped to deal with criticism, stress, and change and
  • Better ability to make discretionary decisions.

Becauseas noted abovea large number of police departments also offer an increased salary amount to those cadets that have a college degree, a direct benefit to new cadets may be a higher salary than they otherwise would receive.

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Police Officer Program Curriculum

The type of courses an aspiring police officer must complete depends on where the training is completed. Some obtain their education by completing an associate or bachelors degree program while others complete training at a police academy. Some police officers do both. Students earning a degree in criminal justice may complete courses in:

Current events in criminal justice

Intro to psychology

Patrol procedures


In addition to the coursework, students must complete a physical conditioning requirement to prepare them for the physical work involved in police service. They must also satisfy the ethics and morals part of the program.

Police Training Academies In New York

Once hired, prospective cops in New York start their careers as recruits in a police academy. Police academies in New York are overseen by the states Division of Criminal Justice Services and are divided into geographic regions. Accredited police academies in New York include:

  • Central New York Police Academy Syracuse, NY
  • City of Albany Law Enforcement Training Center Albany, NY
  • Nassau County Police Academy Massapequa Park, NY
  • New York City Police Academy New York, NY
  • New York State Police Academy Albany, NY
  • New York State Prepardness Academy, NYS Office of Homeland Security Oriskany, NY
  • Suffolk County Police Academy Brentwood, NY
  • Westchester County Department of Public Safety Police Academy Valhalla, NY

For more information on New York police academies, consult the DCJS website.

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Police Officer Career Opportunities

In a large department, police officers may be promoted to detective or to a specialty area of police work, such as juvenile justice administration.

Promotions to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain are usually made according to a candidates position on a promotion list, depending on your on-the-job performance and examination scores. Many officers retire with a pension after only 20 or 25 years of service, and pursue a second career while still in their 40s.

A Brief Review Of Current Hiring And Promotional Policies

Police Director Rallings on officer requirements

Police Department Education Requirements

Currently, approximately one percent of local police departments in America require their officers to hold four-year degrees, as highlighted by Reflections from the One-Percent of Local Police Departments with Mandatory Four-Year Degree Requirements for New Hires: Are They Diamonds in the Rough? by Diana Bruns. And whats more, only eight percent of police department in the U.S. require officers to have attended any college at all. 83 percent of U.S. police agencies require officers to hold a high school diploma. With more than 17,895 law enforcement agencies employing 1.1 million full-time police officers working in the U.S., as well as an additional 100,000 part-time employees, this means that fewer than 200 police departments require their police officers to hold four-year degrees from an accredited college or university.

Some police departments have a combination of requirementsonly some of which must be satisfiedregarding the education levels of new cadets. For example, the New Jersey State Polices minimum qualifications for applicants include:

  • A bachelors degree or
  • An associates degree or the completion of 60 credits and two years of employment or
  • The completion of 30 college credits and at least two years of active military duty service.

Police Department Promotional Policies

Police Department Hiring Policies

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Sponsored Online Law Enforcement Degrees

Criminal Justice & Criminology

Another degree field that will be helpful is criminology. This field of study takes a broad-range, science-based approach to crime, looking at crime statistics in relation to frequency, causes, demographics, and more. This is an academic discipline heavily rooted in science , so a curious mind and an aptitude for numbers is helpful. When complete, this degree is useful for career advancement, as it can be applied to the big-picture issues that law enforcement leaders need to tackle.

Although sharing many similarities to criminology, criminal justice focuses on navigating the societal systems that have been set up to stop crime, punish criminals, and reduce future instances. Basically, a criminal justice degree gives you a thorough understanding of law enforcement, the court system, and corrections. Once again, this degree is extremely useful for future advancement, as it gives a strong understanding of the overall crime-prevention efforts in the United States. Its beneficial for people who want to shift horizontally in law enforcement, moving into areas such as victim support or rehabilitation.

Relevancy Of A College Degree In Police Work

It can be concluded that a) most police departments in the U.S. do not require four-year degrees and b) most police officers do not hold four-year degrees. The next question, then, pertains to how relevant a college degree in police work really is.

Arguments Against a Four-year College Degree Requirement for Police Officers

Many critics of a four-year degree requirement argue that a college degree for police officers is not only irrelevant, but also discriminatory. Particularly, in regards to the latter, in areas that are highly populated by racial minorities, a four-year degree requirement could create an inequitable opportunity. .

In addition to an unattractive salary hook, many police departments do offer incentives for cadets to obtain a four-year degree by offering slightly salaries for college graduates. Requiring all recruits to have a four-year degreeand paying them an increased salary as suchcould be an expensive feat for many police departments nationwide.

Of course, the final, and most obvious, argument against requiring police officers to hold a four-year degree is that many believe doing so to be completely irrelevant to police work. Many police skills, particularly when in the field, require abilities and proficiencies that cannot be learned in a classroom and are best obtained with experience.

Arguments for a Higher Education Requirement for Police Officers

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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!

Criminal Justice Careers For Those Who Dont Want To Be Police Officers

Public Safety Administration Degree

You were fascinated by superheroes as a kid. Time after time, heroes and heroines would swoop in to save the day, and good would always triumph over evil. Your childhood dream of being a superhero when you grew up may have changed, but that doesnt mean you cant still work in a field that allows you to make the world a better place.

Criminal justice careers are home to real-life superheroes who spend their days protecting citizens and ensuring that justice is served. Many people automatically think of police officers when they think of criminal justice, but there are many criminal justice jobs that dont require the police academy.

We rounded up seven worthwhile criminal justice careers that might be right for you, even if becoming a police officer isnt up your alley. Take a lookone of these could just be your next job title.

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What Associate Degrees Should Aspiring Law Enforcement Officials Consider

Associate degrees are two-year programs available at most community colleges, regional and technical colleges, online universities, and some traditional four-year universities. You have to earn a total of about 60 credit hours, which includes courses in your chosen major as well as general education courses like English, math, and science.

Several popular associate degree programs could give you the education you need to get started in a law enforcement career.

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Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

To start your career in law enforcement, you will need to start by getting the right education. Many jobs require an undergraduate degree, but you should be sure to research your prospective career path to fully understand what training you will need. Therefore, you should take a look at some of the best degree options that available for people who are seeking to start a career in the field of law enforcement.

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Become A Police Officer

Choose a career that makes a difference! The OPP is actively recruiting qualified candidates for the full-time position of Provincial Constable. We offer competitive salaries, pensions, paid vacation, benefit coverage and room for advancement. We also have career opportunities for experienced officers.

Key Soft Skills For Police Officers

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  • Communication: Police officers need to give clear, spoken instructions when coordinating emergency situations and negotiating conflicts. They also need to clearly communicate in written reports.
  • Empathy: Empathy helps police officers to better serve people and communities. They must listen to different perspectives and value those differences.
  • Persuasion: Police officers often must de-escalate dangerous situations. They negotiate with the people involved and convince them to reach a compromise.

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How Long Is Police Academy

One of the most important steps, as well as possibly the most challenging, in your path to becoming a police officer is training at a police academy. Each state will have different requirements for the specifics of a police academy, but recruits will typically spend about 800 hours in training before graduation. In general, the academy will take about six months to complete.

School Safety Training Unit

The School Safety Training Unit provides an educational foundation for all school safety personnel, training them to be effective safety professionals. School safety personnel enhance the quality of New York City public education by maintaining a safe and secure environment in the cityâs public schools.

The School Safety Training Unit provides training and support for over 5,000 members of the School Safety Division including:

  • Entry Level Recruit Training
  • In-Service Training
  • Command Level Training

The entry-level training entails 17 weeks of instruction at the Police Academy. Upon graduation, school safety agents are assigned to one of many New York Cityâs public schools.

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Are You Already A Police Officer

If you are a working or retired police officer, Lauriers Honours Bachelor in Policing degree is just for you. Designed for those with at least a year of full-time professional work as a police officer, this program is a great fit for those with experience seeking to elevate their career and understanding.

Depending on your prior education and professional experience, you may be eligible to transfer up to 10 of the 20 total credits mandated for the programâs completion. Connect with an enrolment advisor or to learn more.

While police organizations provide new recruits with basic constable training, obtaining a policing degree provides the necessary skills to evaluate and apply different perspectives to better operate in a society that often scrutinizes and challenges police actions. Youâll combine the real-world skills and experience you have acquired in the service with a broader understanding of justice, investigative technique, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving that will help you better serve citizens. Earning a degree later in your career expands your options for new higher-paid roles after retiring from the service.

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