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What Degree Do You Need To Become A Police Officer

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Pros And Cons Of Becoming A Police Officer

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

This isnt an 8 to 5 office job. Its an on-your-feet, always-alert, out-and-about career. And while thats a good thing, it also comes with a few downsides. Heres the straight story on what to expect in a career as a police officer:


  • Job stability: Police officers work for the local, state, or federal government, which dont generally go bust or downsize like companies.
  • Benefits: Many government agencies, unlike most private companies, still provide pension plans so people can comfortably retire not to mention life insurance policies and more time off.
  • Advancement opportunities: The combination of job stability and retirement benefits leads to a fairly consistent hierarchy in constant need of new people moving up the ranks.
  • Training: Police officers receive excellent training that can be used beyond their careers in police work, should they want to go into private security, firearms training, or similar work.
  • Sense of pride: In a 2016 study of law enforcement officers, 58% reported feeling proud of their work nearly always or often.
  • Collegiality: Like other coworkers, police officers bond over shared duties. But those bonds are reinforced with constant teamwork in the face of danger.


Police Officer Preparation Beyond The Degree

Before an officer officially joins the police force and regardless of their college major and level of education they go through intense training at one of the many police academies. Police academy training programs can take anywhere from 12 to 24 weeks, so new officers should plan to spend months training for their role in law enforcement. Training in a police academy typically involves learning about local ordinances, constitutional law and civil rights, as well as the skills to investigate accidents and crimes. Everything aspect of police work, from traffic control to self-defense, is taught in the training academy to make sure that new officers are prepared for work on the job. Being a cop is tough, so for training to be valuable, it must be comprehensive and challenging, too.

If you have a good education, earn great grades and pass the police academy training program, you will likely find success in getting hired as a police officer, no matter what major you choose. Being familiar with the law and the criminal justice system prior to applying to work as a police officer can certainly hold value, but choosing a specific major isnt a prerequisite to the academy training program where you will learn the fundamentals of police work.

What About Basic Training

Completing a basic police academy prior to your hiring is dependent on the agency you apply to. Some will only hire upon completion of the academy others hire you and then send you through the academy afterward. Check with the agency youre applying to for further information.

If youre from another state, keep in mind that California POST does not have reciprocity with other states. POST does offer a Basic Course Waiver process for out-of-state cops that you can learn more about here.

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Getting Started As A Connecticut Police Officer

It is clear that becoming a police officer is no easy feat. However, this rewarding career is worth the investment of both your time and effort. The Chief of the Fairfield Police Department stated, Law Enforcement agencies are becoming ever increasingly competitive. This is a job in high demand.

Properly equipping yourself is the number one way you can stand out in this competitive job market. You can start preparing yourself for this career by pursuing a criminal justice or law enforcement education at Goodwin University. Now is the time to become a police officer and become a hero to your community.

If you are ready to start your journey towards a Criminal Justice degree, reach out to Goodwin University today! For more information call 1-800-889-3282 or visit us online.

Undergraduate Degrees For A Police Officer

What Do You Need To Become A Police Officer

Some police departments require new recruits to have a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Others require just a bachelors degree. For a career as a police officer, the best undergraduate degrees are in criminal justice. Many schools have areas of focus within their criminal justice programs. Criminal justice degree programs include courses in research, statistics and procedures as well as communications and ethics. In addition to criminal justice degrees, there are other good bachelors degrees that will prepare you for a career as a police officer. A BA in foreign language includes liberal arts courses and history and culture courses in the language you choose. A bachelors degree in foreign language prepares police recruits to work directly with members of their community who speak another language, helping to establish trust and rapport.

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Benefits Of Earning A Policing Degree

While a policing degree is not required to become a law enforcement official, a policing degree from Laurier helps enhance the career and earning potential of an individual who wants to pursue a career in this field.

Graduates with a bachelors degree in policing will have an advantage when pursuing leadership positions and promotions. In addition to becoming a police officer, some of the top job opportunities for graduates include emergency management specialist, crime analyst and security director.

Additionally, the earning potential is higher for graduates with an online degree in policing. Higher education can translate into higher wages than a high school or college diploma alone. Earning a bachelor’s degree can earn you over 30 percent higher earnings than high school graduates.

In terms of salaries in Canada, a police officer earns an average of $93,000 per year. The average security director salary in Canada is $99,000. And a detective sergeant can earn in excess of $121,000 annually.

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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What Will I Learn In A Police Officer Degree Program

While we cant speak for every program in Canada, Lauriers policing degree students can expect to learn the following:

  • How to recognize and deal with trauma. Youll be able to identify the signs of trauma in yourself, your colleagues, and the community. You will also learn how to process and react to trauma
  • Criminological and psychological theories. Youll learn to apply the foundations of good police and detective work
  • The major debates in policing and justice today. Understanding different perspectives on these issues will help you become a better police officer
  • Leadership, critical thinking, research, and conflict resolution skills and
  • How to understand and appreciate the justice system of Canadas Indigenous people, and what your role as a law enforcement officer in their communities entails.

Get Accepted & Paying Your Way

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

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:

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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.

Places To Earn A Law Enforcement Education

Formal education can expand your job options in the law enforcement field. Here are a few of the institutions where you can earn a certificate, degree, or experience in criminal justice:

  • Trade School: Some vocational or trade schools have certificate programs that count toward college credit, such as for a future associate or bachelors degree. Others offer associate degrees.
  • Military School: 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 are all benefits of hiring a recruit with military experience.
  • Community College: Students can complete their associate degree in criminal justice in two years or earn a certificate in a few months. Whats more, most recruits come out of police academies based at two-year colleges, meaning some curriculums will be well integrated with local training.
  • 4-year institution: Federal agencies often require a bachelors degree. Even if a four-year degree isnt required, getting a bachelors degree can be a prudent decision because it can increase your chances of being hired and promoted.

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Masters Degrees For A Police Officer

While a masters degree is not generally required to be a new police officer, it may be necessary for advancement. The masters degree program you choose will depend on the position you are seeking. The best masters degrees for detectives and specialist positions are in criminal justice. An MS in criminal justice includes courses in victimology and crime prevention to prepare students for advanced police work. If your goal is to advance to a high level supervisory position within the police department, there are other good masters degrees. A masters in business administration is a good degree for aspiring police chiefs. An MBA program prepares students for the business aspect of running a police department by offering courses in finance and leadership.

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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Prepare For A Career As A Law Enforcement Officer In Florida

At PalAmerican, we offer industry-leading training for security guards in Florida to equip them with the necessary skills for a successful application to become a law enforcement officer. Contact our St. Petersburg location to gain valuable training and experience in the security industry in Florida.

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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    What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Police Officer

    Most agencies expect officers to have a high school diploma or GED at a minimum. Some agencies require a bachelors degree or a minimum number of college credit hours. Others offer additional pay based on educational attainment. Regardless, education beyond high school will only help you in your law enforcement career.

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    Which Gcses Will Help You Develop The Skills You Need To Become A Police Officer

    How to Become a Police Officer

    One of the subjects which you could study at GCSE to build up the skills that you will need to become a Police Officer includes GCSE Physical Education . This is not only an enjoyable subject to study at GCSE because of the practical element, but it will also give you the opportunity to start developing your teamwork and leadership skills, which will be essential for any aspiring Police Officer.

    You could also consider taking a Modern Foreign Language course at GCSE, which will improve your communication skills, and perhaps widen your ability to speak to people in your community who you will be working with from different backgrounds. Being able to speak to someone in their native language could be very valuable in a number of different ways as a Police Officer. You will be able to put people at ease, as well as understand any information that they are giving you.

    A Modern Foreign Language also gives you some insight into the culture of another place, and therefore could be helpful in making you more understanding of peoples backgrounds.

    For very similar reasons, you may want to consider taking a subject such as Religious Studies. This will give you more insight into the religious beliefs that people hold. Again, it could mean that you have more of an understanding of peoples backgrounds, and this could improve your day-to-day working life.

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    Job Outlook For Bc Police Officers

    Currently, police officers in B.C. are considered to be a high opportunity occupation. According to the B.C. Labour Market Outlook, there is an expected employment growth rate of 0.6% from 2019-2024 and over 3000 job openings forecasted up to 2022.

    WorkBC states that 86.1% of those job opportunities will be made available due to current police officers retiring and 13.9% are due to economic growth.

    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.

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    How To Become A Police Officer In Florida 6 Steps

    Starting a career as a law enforcement officer in the Sunshine State comes with many benefits: a flexible schedule, spending account, generous medical, dental, and vision coverage, top-notch retirement plans, paid sick leave, holiday bonus pay, and more.

    In this article, you will find a detailed outline of the steps required to become a police officer, or law enforcement officer, with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement .

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