Selecting A Law Enforcement Degree
Before jumping into a degree that interests you, try to audit yourself and understand where you are really skilled and if you can apply it to your career. Some degrees make a lot of sense for police and law enforcement professionals, but that doesnt mean they are the right choices for you.
Envision where you want your career to go, what criminology degree jobs are a good fit for you, and pick a degree that will help you get there. To learn more about how West Liberty can put you on the path to advancing your career in law enforcement, talk to us to see what a Masters in Criminology can do for you.
What Degree Do You Need To Be A Cop
If youve come to the decision that college is probably a wise decision for realizing your law enforcement career ambitions, the next question to ask is what degree you need. Most police officer job listings dont specify a college major or subject of study, but they may specify a level of education required for candidates to be considered.
How To Become A Police Officer In British Columbia
British Columbians who are interested in becoming police officers can join the federal police force or the municipal police force. Both options present opportunities for a fulfilling career.
Some regions in B.C. have municipal police agencies while others use the RCMP. Whether you choose to serve, protect, educate, and prevent crime in B.C. with a municipal or federal police force, you will find key information in this article that will guide you on how to become a police officer.
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.
The Level Of Degree Needed To Be A Police Officer
Of police officer jobs that require more than a high school diploma, the degree level expected usually fits into one of the following categories:
- An associates degree or the equivalent amount of college credits . An associates degree is an undergraduate course of study typically completed at a community college or junior college. Full-time students can typically complete an associates degree in two years.
- A bachelors or baccalaureate degree or the equivalent amount of college credits . Bachelors degrees are usually offered by four-year institutions and provide a more comprehensive undergraduate education that includes upper-division coursework.
- A masters degree or graduate certificate. Graduate-level study is more advanced and, often, more specialized than undergraduate coursework.
A 2017 report by the National Police Foundation found that an associates degree was the most common level of education for this career field, accounting for the highest level of education of 51.8 percent of sworn police officers in America. Just over 30 percent of cops reported having a bachelors degree, while more than 5 percent of officers had gone to graduate school. If you opt out of going to college entirely, your career prospects in law enforcement will be limited, and you will have to compete for jobs against candidates who are, for the most part, more highly educated than you are.
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Police Officer Degree Levels
There are many degree options for prospective and current police who are interested in furthering their education. As previously mentioned, a successful policing career does not necessarily require a college degree, but pursuing a degree can benefit your career as a police officer not only by helping you get hired but also by putting you in a better position to be promoted and/or move into a supervisory position. Before we look at the degree majors available for those interested in police education, lets look at the police officer education levels available.
What To Expect From A Career In Police Services
A career in police services is physically and mentally demanding, but police programs at Ontario colleges prepare students to meet those demands. From the skills you develop in youth conflict management or community policing to personal development training in fitness, lifestyle management and problem-solving, youll leave the program with the skills you need to make it in law enforcement.
If you see yourself upholding the law and working to keep communities safe through police services, heres what you need to know.
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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.
What Degree Do You Need To Become A Police Officer
If you are interested in becoming a Police Officer, it is not necessary for you to do a degree, as you can usually complete a degree-apprenticeship with a Police Force, where you learn on the job while also completing a degree in Professional Policing Practice. However, some may want to do a degree before joining the Police, and it is possible to do a degree in Professional Policing. This could lead to shorter on-the-job training.
An Article which may be useful for those looking at pathways into becoming a Police Officer can be found here, and I would recommend that you take a look at it to decide what option is best for you.
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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.
Why Is A Police Officer Degree Needed
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.
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What Gcse Grades Do You Need To Pursue A Career As A Police Officer
As a minimum requirement, you will need 5 GCSEs at pass grades and above, including GCSEs in English Language, Maths and Science . Although these are the minimum requirements, you should aim to get more GCSEs than this . It is also important that you aim for the highest grades possible at GCSE in order to put you in the best position possible moving forwards in your studies and career.
If you are not sure about how to revise effectively for your GCSEs, take a look at this useful article, which lists and explains some useful revision techniques. Additionally, if you are not sure when you should be starting your GCSE revision, this helpful article will guide you through planning and starting your revision.
GCSEs should not necessarily just be seen as something that you have to get through to go into a certain career , but instead see them as an opportunity to learn basic skills which you will be able to build on and use in your dream career.
If you would like to find out more about the importance of GCSEs, take a look at this useful article, which answers any questions that you may have about how important GCSEs are to universities, Sixth Forms and employers.
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 which 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 which is 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:
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Certificate In Law Enforcement
A certificate in criminal justice or criminology is an opportunity for individuals to gain specific instruction in an area of law enforcement. Since a certificate consists of a few classes and can be completed in a few months, the certificate can also provide an opportunity to get started on an associate degree without having to commit to the two years just yet. Certificates are also great in that some department require applicants to have some college credits, but do not require a full degree. Some of the courses available in a criminology or criminal justice certificate program are listed below:
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
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Bc Police Officer Application Process
Police agencies in B.C., and across Canada, generally follow a standard process which involves a series of interviews, tests, and checks, including:
- Screening interviews, panel interviews, Human Resources interview, Inspectors interview
- A background investigation
- A psychological exam
- Medical exams
At most police agencies, applicants can be declined at any stage in the application process. Even if all stages are passed, an offer of employment is not guaranteed. The most suitable candidates in the application pool are selected amongst those who pass every stage.
Once you have been selected, you advance to recruit training. Recruit training is essentially a conditional offer of employment. Recruits need to pass this program in order to become a police officer.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Police Officer in B.C.?
A lengthy application process takes place between the moment you apply and the day you become an official police officer in B.C. Although the duration varies between police agencies, you can expect to set aside 6 months for the application process.
The RCMP and the VICPD do not provide a set duration for their application processes, although the RCMP shares that their cadet training takes 26 weeks. At the VPD, it can take up to 44 weeks to complete the recruit training.
To find out how long it takes at the police agency of your choice, contact the police agency directly.
Required: Other Aspects Of Your Application To The Police
During your application to a Police Force, you will have to go through extensive background checks. If you have lived outside of the UK for any period of time, these may take longer than usual, but it does not mean that you wont be able to join!
You will also have medical and fitness tests to complete. The fitness test is not intended to scare you off, but is there to make sure that you are physically fit enough to be able to do your job as a Police Officer effectively. If you fail the first time, there is no need to worry, as you will be able to retake it up to 3 times. However, if you dont manage to pass it the 3rd time, you will have to wait 6 months to be able to reapply to any Police Force again.
You will also be required to complete components such as a written assessment, which tests your basic English comprehension and writing, verbal reasoning, and maths skills. This is likely to be accompanied by an interview.
There are courses which are available to help you prepare for these components, and one example can be found here. Make sure that you do your preparation for these tests, so that you feel comfortable during your application process, and are able to put yourself in the best position for success possible.
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Municipal Police Force Salaries & Benefits
In comparison to the federal police force, the municipal police agencies offer slightly higher salaries.
The Calgary Police Service offers a starting salary of approximately $66,000/year.
The Vancouver Police Department offers new hires $70,154/year with an incremental increase to $90,198 after 3 years. Benefits include paid vacation, medical and dental benefits and a BC Municipal Pension Plan membership.
The Toronto Police Service has a starting salary of $63,564.98 for their cadets. After year 3, police officers receive an annual salary of $90,836. Benefits include paid vacation, family medical and dental benefits, life insurance, pension plan, parental/maternity leave and more.
Considering that the median income for individual Canadians was $36,400 in 2018, according to Statistics Canada, the starting salary for a Canadian police officer is an attractive one.
When deciding between the federal or municipal level, keep in mind that while the RCMP might have a lower salary, the role involves police duties at the international, federal, provincial and municipal levels with a much wider variety in operational and administrative opportunities.Some specializations that are unique to the RCMP are: Integrated Border Enforcement Team, National Security, Marine Services, International Peace Operations and many, many more.
How Does Police Academy Training Work
No matter which program you choose, before beginning work at a police department, you will have to enter a police academy for formal training. This training will consist of various elements that prepare you for life as a police officer, including training it the classroom, field training that walks you through the rigors of the day-to-day work, and in-service training that allows you to begin working with the public on a probationary basis. Heres more about police academy training:
The classroom curriculum will focus on a variety of subjects, ranging from the law itself to administrative and department procedures. Cadets will also learn not just what the law is, but how to apply it in the real world. For example, a police officer may know that probable cause is required for a warrant to conduct a search, but what about the exceptions where a warrant isnt needed? Or what should the officer do or say if an individual contests the validity of the warrant? Much of this classroom training will be necessary before field training can take place or to put the hands-on skills into context.
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