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What College Degree For Police Officer

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

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
Step 5

What Should I Major In To Become A Police Officer

One of the noblest callings you can answer is that of protecting your community, and one of the most direct ways of doing that is by becoming a police officer. Those who aspire to work in the criminal justice field will find a variety of settings to explore, in addition to that of being a patrol officer, including security, forensic science, computer technology, and investigations.

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 program’s 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. You’ll 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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Reasons Police Officers Should Have College Degrees

Students interested in pursuing a career in policing should be encouraged to pursue a college degree in Public Safety based on recent research that has shown the tremendous positive impact of higher education in this field. One of the more obvious benefits of police officers receiving a college degree is the ability to promote faster into high levels of law enforcement. In addition, a college degree enhances the technical training skills police officers receive in police academy to prepare for the job. Research has also revealed that college-educated police officers have enhanced disciplinary skills, such as writing, critical thinking, communication and ethical decision making skills in comparison to non-degree officers. These essential skills have shown that police officers with degrees are less likely to shoot their guns less likely to use force have fewer citizen complaints and use creative thinking and problem solving skills in community policing to resolve social ills in communities. More on this topic and the sources of research can be found in the article 5 Reasons Police Officers Should Have College Degrees published in The Conversation.Woodbury is proud to offer a Public Safety Administration program in which our students receive an excellent interdisciplinary education that prepares and gives them an advantage as they pursuit their professional careers.

From Security Guard To Police Officer

Police Academy Degree

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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    How To Become A Police Detective: Your 6

    By Brianna Flavin on 08/16/2018

    Police detectives might make their job look easy, but theres more to it than the dusting for prints and intense interrogations of suspects found in crime dramas. Working in law enforcement can mean long hours and unsafe working conditions, but it also means helping people in need and bringing criminals to justice.

    If detective work is what youre drawn to, youre likely wondering what exactly what you need to do to make your dream a reality. The first thing to know is that becoming a police detective starts with becoming a police officer. But if you want to take that next step in your careeror youre just curious about becoming a detectiveheres where to begin.

    What Do Police Look For In A Background Check

    The background exam is a very thorough investigation of the applicants past. It is common for the hiring parties to speak to colleagues, family members, neighbours, landlords, as well as present and past employers. This helps to determine whether you have a track record of high ethical standards in all areas of your life. You will be required to provide your criminal record, driving record, credit history, and history of alcohol and drug use. Additionally, you will need to pass a polygraph exam that shows whether you have been dishonest or deceitful in answering any of the questions throughout the application process.

    When applying to police agencies, you will be disqualified if*:

    • You have matters pending at a criminal court
    • You participated in any indictable offenses. These offenses are the mostserious of criminal activities, which include murder, sexual assault, and terrorist activities.
    • You have a criminal conviction that has not been pardone.
    • You participated in less serious criminal behaviour or activity within one year of applying. These activities are referred to as summary conviction offenses under the Criminal Code. They include illicit drug use, theft, and impaired driving.
    • You have been dishonourably discharged or dismissed from any other law enforcement organization
    • You have a pending or current personal bankruptcy

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    What Can I Do With A Bachelor’s In Law Enforcement

    Many graduates with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement serve in policing, criminal justice, and public safety careers. Law enforcement programs tend to offer customizable concentrations tailored to each student’s individual career aspirations in fields like law enforcement, criminal investigation, and corrections. Graduates often become police officers, detectives, and probation or parole officers.

    With additional training and experience, law enforcement professionals can advance their careers beyond entry-level positions. Many police officers go on to become detectives or criminal investigators or are promoted to sergeant, captain, or lieutenant of their division. Other students may earn an advanced degree to pursue a senior role like FBI agent.

    Training Institutions For Police Officers

    How to become a Police Officer – Is a College Degree Required?

    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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    Sociology And Anthropology Degrees

    Sociology and anthropology will help police officers understand more about the communities they serve. Every community has its own culture, history, baggage, and even language. The study of cultures, how they form, and how they react given a variety of circumstances and experiences can be invaluable to police officers seeking to work closely with the community.

    In the sociology program at ASU students study the most important contemporary social issues, and their historical and political roots. Students will learn to utilize research methods and statistics to critically analyze information about social groups in any given cultural context.

    Tuition: $14,400

    Sociology students at FHSU will have the ability to create a sociology program that fits their specific needs. Thus students pursuing a career in law enforcement can focus their studies on aspects of sociology that will help them serve and protect their communities.

    Tuition: $12,821

    Individuals working as police officers may notice what they believe to be trends in their local communities. Police officers also have access to vast quantities of data. The sociology degree from the University of Wisconsin trains students to conduct research and interpret statistics with the goal of identifying problems and proposing solutions.

    Tuition: $15,151

    Tuition: $18,132

    Tuition: $12,195

    Pass The Post Exam & Become A Police Officer

    In order to work as a police officer, aspiring applicants must pass the Peace Officer Standards and Training or Police Officer Standards and Training exam. Commonly known as the POST exam, this is required for each state except Hawaii . Each state has subtle differences in their testing procedure, requirements, and the test itself, so its important to do in-depth research on the test your particular state requires.

    Examsfor police officers include not only the POST written examination which includes an evaluation of grammar, reading comprehension, andwriting but other points as well, such as physical agility,medical health, psychological fitness, background review, and an oralinterview. Some states might add other requirements, such as apolygraph test. Once these tests are satisfactorily passed, graduatesare ready to work as police officers. The procedure it takes to getfrom passing the tests to wearing the badge depends on the state andin some cases, the department itself.

    Step 6

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    Recommended Online Criminal Justice Degrees

    Contact schools for information on enrollment, tuition, and aid

    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.

    Other Helpful Skills And Experience

    Holden Dayoub Period 3 Police Officer

    Additional skills, such as physical strength and stamina, can help candidates meet police officer requirements. To keep up with daily job requirements, apprehend suspects, and pass required physical tests for entry into the field, officers and detectives must maintain good physical shape and demonstrate strength. Employers see prior military or security experience as a plus, since these candidates undergo previous physical and firearm training.

    Moreover, police officers must possess good written and oral communication skills to effectively give detailed incident reports and speak with the public during fact-gathering. Law enforcement agents may also speak with suspects who communicate in other languages. To help diverse communities, officers should understand many different perspectives and display empathy. Law enforcement agents must also practice good judgment by determining the most effective way to solve problems.

    Officers holding higher positions, such as detectives and fish and game wardens, may need critical thinking skills and perception to determine in advance why suspects act in certain ways. Since the public looks to officers for assistance in emergency situations, these professionals become highly visible community members. In their public roles, officers often serve as role models and must possess leadership skills.

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    Preparing For A Police Officer Career: Find The Right Environment

    When an aspiring police officer chooses to go to school to obtain formal education, a world of possibilities opens up. Here are some of the potential places where the certificate or degree can be earned.

    Vocational/Trade School

    Some vocational or trade schools have certificate programs that may count towards college credit, such as for a future associate or bachelors degree. Some might offer associate degrees. Vocational or trade schools can provide a way to save money on college costs while receiving necessary college course instruction.


    Military experience is well regarded by law enforcement agencies and police departments. Familiarity with firearms, mental toughness, physical conditioning, discipline and an understanding of command structure and culture are all benefits that come with hiring a recruit with military experience.

    Community College

    Community colleges provide multiple options for students who want to become police officers. Students can complete their associate degree in two years or a certificate in a few months. As an added bonus, many community colleges allow credits earned in a certificate program to go towards an associate degree.

    Law Enforcement School

    4-year schools

    Departments that require a bachelors degree are often found at the federal level. However, even if a four-year degree isnt required, getting a bachelors degree can be a prudent decision: it can increase the chances of getting hired and promoted.

    How To Pay For Higher Education

    If you dont have previous college education, completing your first two years of general education classes at a community college is much cheaper than paying tuition at a university. By the time you finish, youll have a better idea of what you want to get out of college and what to major in.

    Police departments may have programs to reimburse tuition, books, and lab fees at accredited universities. Police officers can also receive financial aid for their education through grants and scholarships. Families of police officers may also be eligible to receive money for education through a variety of programs.

    This article, originally published 10/31/2016, has been updated.

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    Best Degrees For Cops

    While most police departments have minimum education requirements, you want to climb the ranks later in your career. Lieutenants and other supervisory officers may need a bachelor’s degree, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Formal education will not only improve your career prospects but may also lead to higher wages.

    Patrol officers, for example, make about $63,000 per year. Detectives and criminals investigators, by comparison, earn a median annual salary of $83,000 and up, reports the BLS. Those who work for the federal government can earn over $88,000 per year. As mentioned earlier, federal agencies typically require a college degree. The BLS says that some police departments offer additional pay for officers who speak more than one language or have completed formal education.

    Start by looking for police science degree programs in your area. These usually cover police documentation procedures, law enforcement administration, weaponry, types of crimes and other related topics. Wichita State University‘s associate of applied science degree in police science program, for instance, introduces students to criminal law. They also learn about the most widely used law enforcement procedures and have the opportunity to complete an internship in criminal justice.

    What Are The Benefits Of Getting An Education In Law Enforcement

    Are College-educated Police Officers Less Likely to Use Force?

    There are numerous benefits to completing a law enforcement program before going into a law enforcement career. Although its possible to pursue such a career without a college education, this typically isnt in your best interest. Heres what a law enforcement degree can help you do:

    Gain Access to More Career Options

    Law enforcement professionals with a college degree are typically the employees that get opportunities and promotions that aren’t available to individuals without a college-level education. A criminal justice program provides academic credentials and career skills that help applicants stand out from others who may be vying for the same position or promotion. It allows you to select from a wider variety of career paths and enables you to transfer knowledge and skills across a wide range of organizations and industries.

    This means that law enforcement college students have more to choose from when applying for jobs after graduation. They’re not being forced to settle for a position they are less passionate about or left with few to no options to progress their careers because nothing else is available. College-educated individuals generally enjoy lower unemployment rates than those with only a high school diploma or equivalent and/or on-the-job training.

    Earn a Higher Salary

    Learn How to Manage Crisis Scenarios

    Learn Critical Job Skills

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