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What Degree Do I Need To Be A Police Officer

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Do You Need College To Be A Police Officer?

The test includes objective type questions on GK and Current affairs. Aspirants must be updated with current affairs. Also, questions on English language and numerical aptitude are also included in the test. Aspirants must go through specialized books and practice sample papers to prepare for the test, which will help in preparation and boosting their confidence. Solving the sample papers will help them evaluate their performance and discover their weak areas.

Those who wish to pursue their graduation before choosing to make a career as a police officer can opt to specialize in any field of their interest.

Bachelors Degrees In Criminal Justice

A bachelors degree is a four-year program that is around 120-semester credits . Students often enter a bachelors in criminal justice straight out of high school. Others complete an associate program first, meaning they have already completed roughly half of the required credits for a bachelors degree.

Students entering from high school must cover all the same lower-level coursework from an associate program . The final two years cover upper-level courses, which could include the following:

  • Criminal law: Officers need to understand the U.S. Constitution so they can properly collect evidence, protect suspects rights, and arrest them.
  • Applied research: Youve already learned what statistics mean this class is about using collected statistics to make decisions. For instance, you might be asked to determine how to deploy officers and use department funds to best prevent crime.
  • Criminal psychology: This class is about getting into criminals heads to learn why they behave the way they do. Its important for crime prevention as well as rehabilitation efforts.

Weve laid out all the details on bachelors degrees in criminal justice on our site. You may want to take a look if youre interested in careers outside patrol. The FBI, for example, requires special agents to hold a bachelors degree. Fish and game wardens also need a four-year degree.

Which Degree Is Best For A Police Officer To Take

Once upon a time it was simple to become a police officer. All you had to do was show up at the local station when they had an opening available and apply. Your police studies training was an informal education, earned through basic training, working your territory and learning from the veterans. After enough time, if you showed an aptitude for the work, you would expect to move up in rank.

That is no longer the case.

Becoming a police officer is one thing, but what about moving up the ranks?

You might be asking yourself the question, How do I get to the sergeant or detective level?

The new road to rising above a patrolling officers wage is a bachelors degree in law enforcement. To accommodate your ambition, Wilfrid Laurier Universitys online Honours Bachelor of Arts in Policing is uniquely suited to giving busy officers, like you, the opportunity to earn a police degree without missing time at work.

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How Much Does A Police Officer Make

If you are going to pursue a career in law enforcement, starting with the position of a police officer, you need to be motivated by more than money. To be certain, police officers can earn a strong salary , but finances wont be motivation enough to put on the uniform and patrol the streets every day. That said, its worth looking into the expected salaries of a police officer to understand their earning potential.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary for police officers and detectives was $63,380. Detectives and criminal investigators had the strongest salaries in this category, earning a median over $81,000. Transit and railroad police earned a median of $74,030, while patrol officers earned a median salary of $61,380.

The best salaries appear to come from the federal government, where law enforcement officers enjoyed a median salary over $87,000.

Salary depends largely on location. For sheriffs and patrol officers, the best salaries appear to come from California , Alaska , and New Jersey .

So while it may not be a path to riches, working in law enforcement can bring a strong income.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer

What Degree Do I Need to Become a Police Officer ...

The process of becoming a police officer requires a significant investment of your time. The duration varies and depends on how quickly and accurately an individual completes the forms and assessments. This also depends on the police agency you apply at.

The CPS states that their process takes between 3-6 months to complete. The RCMP doesnt provide a set duration for the entire process their cadet training takes 26 weeks. At the VPD, the recruit training alone takes up to 44 weeks in total.

Generally, you can expect to set aside 6 months for your application process. We recommend that you contact the police agency that youre interested in to find out how long their process takes from start to finish.

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Associate Degrees In Criminal Justice

An associate degree is a two-year program that requires at least 60 semester credits . Most criminal justice programs are actually in the 64- to 66-credit range. Of those credits, around 40% are general education requirements such as English, math, science, humanities, and other topics. Another 20% of credits are elective courses. The actual major is around 40%, or eight classes.

Because most associate degrees are meant to build into bachelors programs, the classes are, by definition, lower-level. They cover introductory material meant to be explored more in-depth in the final two years of undergraduate study.

Those classes might include the following:

  • Introduction to criminal justice: You will learn who the different actors are from police officers to lawyers to judges and legislators and how they work together to form the criminal justice system.
  • Communication: Learn the building blocks for writing a police report, interviewing suspects and witnesses, and deescalating tense situations.
  • Judicial system: Explore the layers of the federal, state, and/or local court systems and which cases go where.
  • Corrections: Examine how jails and prisons function and explore concepts such as rehabilitation and punishment.
  • Research: Learn to analyze data to understand what different criminal statistics actually mean.

License And Certification Requirements For Criminal Investigators

While not required by most agencies, professional certifications demonstrate specialized knowledge and skills to potential employers, making candidates more competitive in the job market. Criminal investigators can earn a professional certified investigator credential, which requires at least five years of investigation experience.

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How To Complete Police Courses Online

Lauriers online police degrees are administered via the schools online learning portal. Lectures are recorded, and you can access the videos 24/7 through the portal.

The professors notes and additional instructions are posted each week, and most textbooks are digitally accessible. Courses also include discussion boards so you can talk about lessons with your fellow students. You can also contact instructors through the messaging system, and the library offers extensive online resources.

To assist you throughout your entire time as a student, you will be assigned a student success advisor to ensure youre able to access all the materials and resources you need.

Eclectic Nature Of The Job

5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW Before Becoming A POLICE OFFICER

For those who are averse to monotonous professions, life as a law enforcement officer may provide the desired variety. Because the needs of communities vary, and the specific directives of a police department may shift over time, police officers may find that no two days are alike. As the Houston Chronicle notes, the daily responsibilities of a police officer may involve directing traffic, patrolling a neighborhood, responding to calls from concerned citizens, making an arrest or even testifying in a legal proceeding.

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Education And Training Requirements

Some police departments only require a high school diploma or equivalent. Recruits must also attend the police academy to learn more about self-defense, risk assessments, firearm use, crime investigation and other related topics. Police academy training requirements vary among states and departments.

For example, aspiring police officers in Massachusetts must be at least 21 years old and pass a physical ability test. Only those who are employed or sponsored by a police department and have full medical coverage for the duration of their training can enter the police academy. Most training programs take six to 12 months to complete. This path is best for those who want to start working as quickly as possible.

More and more employees are starting to favor candidates with a college degree, notes West Liberty University. Formal education can make it easier to advance your career and take on more responsibility at work. Additionally, the FBI and other federal agencies require candidates to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice, engineering, forensic science or other relevant fields. If you pursue this path, be prepared to spend at least four years in school.

Required Police Officer Skills And Characteristics

Much of what you need to know to be a successful police officer is taught during police academy training, but valuable skills can be learned anywhere. For example, having military experience or being bilingual can be an advantage when it comes to hiring. The following skills and tools are essential to help keep police officers and the public as safe as possible.

Leadership: Leadership qualities are important, not just for leading fellow officers, but for helping the civilian population in times of need. Police officers must be able to assess situations quickly and tell others what to do to keep safe.

Good judgment: Many problems faced by police officers have no easy solution. The right thing to do may require a complex solution and blur the lines between right and wrong. Good judgment helps police officers make the best decisions possible.

The ability to read people: Police officers interact with ordinary citizens every day. They must be able to figure out when something isnt right, not because of what is said, but because of what isnt said. There will also be disputes that boil down to one persons word against another. Being able to read peoples motives and tell when someone is being truthful is essential.

Physical strength and stamina: Law enforcement is demanding work, whether it is working long hours or having impromptu foot chases. Not all work will be dramatic, but physical ability is a much-needed skill for police officers.

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Local Needs Of Police Services

Apart from the competencies, individual police services may also require certain special skills and abilities in order to address issues pertaining to the service or the community. A local need may be a second language, a special type or level of computer skills or prior experience in working with victims and/or members of a vulnerable community.

What Is The Salary For Police Officers In Texas

I Want to Be a Police Officer ... Now What?

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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Meet The Minimum Requirements

Minimum requirements may vary from state to state. However, generally the minimum requirements that must be satisfied prior to submitting an application are:

  • Candidates must be at least 18 years of age
  • Applicant must be a citizen of the United States or a Permanent Resident eligible for citizenship.
  • Candidates must have a clean record that means no criminal record or any misdemeanors
  • Candidates must be of good moral character
  • Applicants must have at least a high school diploma or GED

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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.

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Salary And Career Outlook

Police officer salaries vary depending on many factors, including job type, location, and additional compensation and benefits. Some police departments even offer higher pay for officers with college degrees and who speak multiple languages.

Career
POLICE OFFICERS AND DETECTIVES $65,170

According to the BLS, the lowest-paid police officers earned less than $37,710, while the highest-paid officers earned an annual salary exceeding $109,620 as of 2019. Police officers often earn additional pay through overtime and special assignments.

In this field, individuals can increase their salaries through education and job experience. According to the BLS, detectives and federal agents earn the most of all police officers, taking home a median annual salary of $83,170 as of 2019. Aspiring federal police officers and detectives typically must possess a college degree and prior job experience.

As the need for public safety continues, the BLS projects employment for police to grow on pace with other occupations. Demand for police officers varies by location and depending on state and local budgets. Due to low job turnover, police candidates may face competition. Candidates with college degrees, law enforcement or military experience, and knowledge of other languages may stand out among job applicants.

Why Is A Police Officer Degree Needed

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

If youre wondering why police officers are more likely to need college degrees than they used to be, thats a good question. Police matters have become more challenging, so it makes sense that law enforcement officers need a greater understanding of the law, legal and investigative procedures, and complex sociological, psychological and cultural issues. Researchers have discovered that police officers who complete a minimum of two years of college study are statistically less likely to use force unnecessarily or to be the subject of misconduct complaints, according to The Hill.

From a purely practical perspective, many officers pursue a degree even when its not mandatory because of incentives that include pay bonuses and salary increases.

Additional Resources

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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.

How To Become A Police Officer In Texas

Becoming a police officer is no easy task. The selection process is long and demanding with a long list of requirements.

Once candidates make it through the hiring process, they go through extensive training to develop the skills essential to upholding societal law and order. For those who make it through this arduous selection process and graduate from police academy, however, working as a police officer can be an extremely rewarding career.

If you live in Texas and have decided that a career in law enforcement is for you, well go through the necessary steps youll need to take in order to be a successful applicant.

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Obtaining A Bachelors Degree In Law Enforcement

Honours bachelors degrees in law enforcement are most often earned in three to four years. Entrance requirements will vary by institution, but undergraduate programs typically require completion of high school or equivalent.

Regardless of where you take your police studies degree, youll be expected to attend lectures , work on projects, write essays, and possibly take tests, quizzes, or exams. Provided you complete these challenges at or above the institutions standards, youll be awarded your degree.

Remember: only licensed, fully-accredited universities can offer police studies degrees that your employer will recognize.

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