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What Degrees Are Good For Police Officers

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Phds In Criminal Justice

Scholarships and Degrees for Police Officers Out West

Getting a Ph.D. in criminal justice would put you in rare company, especially if you want to work at an agency. Although 29% of chiefs and sheriffs have a bachelors and 32% have a masters, only 3% have a doctoral degree.

Yet a Ph.D. in criminal justice opens several possibilities. If you want to teach at a university or conduct research, its essential. Even if academia isnt your thing, you could work to create or change policy.

Ph.D. programs are, by nature, individualized. Your main output is a dissertation, which is written after conducting original research. By the end of the program, you will be an expert in a small sliver of the criminal justice field. But what sliver? Depending on the program, you could, for example, bone up on budgetary procedures and strategic planning, both of which are necessary to run a department, or you could explore the social determinants of a specific type of crime in a specific area.

A Ph.D. in criminal justice will likely include the following courses:

Weve written about doctoral degrees in criminal justice at length, including about the different types of criminal justice doctorates. Specifically, check out our interview with a criminal justice program director to see if a Ph.D. is worth it for you.

Types Of Police Officer

When you work as a police officer, you will be in a setting where rank and seniority make a big difference. Like the military, there is a direct hierarchy of authority whereas a private-sector boss can make a request, the head of a police department gives an order, and its your duty to follow these orders.

The exact structure of a police department can vary by region and size, but it generally starts with police officers, the most common rank. These are the professionals who complete ground-level duties of patrol and emergency response, forming the backbone of law enforcement across the country.

Next in rank are detectives, who perform crime scene investigations and work on individual cases.

From there, the structure of a police force, from lowest to highest rank, looks something like this:

  • Corporal Essentially an entry-level supervisor, often in charge of a small group of administrators.
  • Sergeant First-line supervisors, usually overseeing a group of officers and detectives.
  • Lieutenant In charge of a group of supervisors.
  • Captain Commanders of entire districts and units.
  • Staff Inspector Responsible for overseeing large units and multiple districts.
  • Chief Inspector Commanders of a bureau or large group of units.
  • Deputy Commissioner In charge of large sections of departments and districts.

In other cities, the police department can be headed by a chief, and there are other rankings and titles that can be found depending on the region.

Ontario Police College Physical Component

As of September 2019, all applicants that have been offered a pre-employment letter by a police service will be required to successfully pass the PREP during their Basic Constable Training course at the Ontario Police College. The Ontario Police College is located in Aylmer, Ontario, which is the official training facility for all police constables across the Province.

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What Types Of Courses Do Psychology Students Take

First and foremost, students who are enrolled in a psychology program will spend the first two years of their undergraduate career taking prerequisites. These courses include college algebra, English composition, speech, history, political science courses, world religions, and biological and physical sciences. This is done to give students a well-rounded background. Some psychology departments might have introductory psychology courses that students are required to take before they go into more advanced courses.

After spending the first two years of college taking prerequisites, the next two years will be filled with upper-level psychology courses. Courses include social and cultural psychology, social behavior, human behavioral dynamics, cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, human sexuality, and some sort of behavior therapy course. Students will be exposed to a broad range of psychological theories, applied therapeutic practices, and counseling methodologies. Usually, a good psychology department will require students to take some sort of research statistics track. Also, many psychology degrees will require students to complete some sort of internship or field work in order to get experience in applying their psychology coursework.

States Where You Need A College Degree Or College Credits To Become A Cop

All new police officers in England and Wales to have degrees

Now, the most dreaded part. Some states require that you have a college degree or certain number of college credits to even be considered for the police academy.

For example, in Pennsylvania, you need 60 college credits from an accredited institution. In New Jersey, you must have an Associates Degree in Police Science, Criminal Justice, or a related field.

California just passed a bill this January that raised the minimum age to become a cop from 18 to 21, and its asking local colleges to create modern policy degree programs by 2025.

Expect to see similar programs to pop up all around the States. Its becoming more and more necessary for a cop to be more educated, following the general population trend.

So, if you live in one of these states and dont have a college degree, you may need to consider getting one before you can even start the process of becoming a police officer.

But again, this is not the case in every state. Many states, such as South Dakota and Colorado, do not have any education requirements to become a police officer.

So, if you are interested in becoming a cop, research the requirements in your state. And if you dont have a college degree, dont let that stop you from pursuing your dream of becoming a police officer.

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Police Officer Job Outlook

Job security matters to everyone. In fact it may be more important than overall salary after all, whats the point in having a well-paying career if no jobs are available? The overall expected job growth for police officers is 5%, which is the exact job growth for all career fields in the United States.

Like salaries, however, job growth will depend heavily on location, as certain areas, especially growing cities, will be adding to their police force, while other cities may actually be eliminating positions. Crime rates, according to the BLS, have been falling, but a demand for police to maintain and improve public safety will fuel job increases.

One of the main challenges, however, will be the low rate of job turnover. People hired in this career rarely leave unless they are promoted unlike other careers where people take jobs, work a couple year, then transition into different jobs. This increases competition for these jobs, which makes the need for education all the more important. People with degrees in law enforcement, criminology, multiple languages, and beneficial skills can greatly increase their chances of being hired.

Police Officer Titles And Career Concentrations

Police officers go by many names and titles, including law enforcement officer, patrol officer, peace officer, public safety officer, state trooper, and uniform patrol police officer.

These are generic names for the same occupation. You can get more specific by incorporating rank. Officers, troopers, deputies, and corporals are all names for lower-ranking officers in different types of agencies. Sergeants, lieutenants, captains, and so on up to chief, commissioner, or sheriff are titles for higher-ranking officers in different jurisdictions.

These ranks are separate from police officer concentrations, which are numerous. Here are 11:

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The Best Degrees For Law Enforcement Jobs

There are many opportunities in federal, state and local law enforcement for both current law enforcement professionals and those hoping to enter the field. But because these positions can be highly competitive, candidates must do whatever they can do to differentiate themselves.

One of the most appealing qualifications for hiring committees is an applicant with a law enforcement degree. Both undergraduate and advanced degrees help position law enforcement professionals as a first-choice option for a current job opening, as well as future leadership positions.

Depending on which branch of law enforcement youre looking to enter, there are certain degree programs that will set you up for success in federal, state or local law enforcement agencies. Because many federal jobs deal with highly sensitive information, there is generally a long list of preferred and required qualifications that each agency looks for in candidates. For local and state level departments, qualifications can be less stringent or specialized. To help differentiate between the groups, here is a breakdown of the education and skill requirements for select federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

What Degree Do You Need To Be A Cop

Officers use 320-degree simulator stage for incident training

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.

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What Degree Should I Get To Be A Police Officer

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  • Highest Paying Science Careers
  • Being a police officer requires extensive training, a good education and a willingness to enforce the law. For many high school students who eventually want to become police officers, the path forward to get into this career is a bit mysterious. Should aspiring police officers go to college? If so, what level of degree will they need to be a cop, and what major should they study in preparation for this career?

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    Police Officer Salary And Job Growth Expectations

    Salaries in law enforcement vary significantly. Your salary will depend on whether you work in a rural area or a large city, whether you have seniority or youre fresh out of the academy, and whether you take overtime or leave at the end of your shift.

    That said, the median detective and police officer salary nationwide was $63,380 as of May 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Those working for the federal government did especially well, earning an average of $87,130. You should also calculate the value of benefits into the compensation package. Police officers typically enjoy paid vacation, sick leave, medical and life insurance, and uniform allowances. Plus, thanks to pensions, they can often afford to retire at a younger age than most.

    As for getting into the field, the BLS projects job growth of 5% nationally for police officers from 2018 to 2028, which is on the low side for such a typically stable occupation. However, this outlook depends heavily on city and state budgets, which can fluctuate. The low rate of growth will create stronger opportunities for police officer applicants who hold a bachelors degree in criminal justice or a related field.

    The top 10 states for police and sheriff patrol officer earnings in 2018 were:

  • California: $104,790
  • New Jersey: 19,950
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    What Should Police Officers Study In College

    As long as you receive a degree from an accredited institution, you are eligible to receive an educational bonus. You could have studied agronomy, sociology, or even underwater basket-weaving and still be eligible to receive higher pay and better promotional opportunities.

    Liberal arts degrees such as those in philosophy or the social sciences can teach students how to think critically about all sides of an issue. These courses tend to be heavy on essays and discussions, which may create officers who are good at writing grants and interacting with the public. An educational background in sociology or criminology will also give you more insight into the roots of criminal activity and deviant behavior.

    STEM degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are almost always valuable for the labor force. These degrees could be directly applicable to police work in areas such as forensic work and crash investigation and may help advance your career by opening up promotional opportunities or jobs in federal law enforcement.

    Computer-related skills such as IT or programming are valuable because new technology is always entering the police force. Facilitating the adaptation process will save time and taxpayer dollars while creating a more effective department.

    Best Degrees For Working As An Us Marshal

    5 reasons police officers should have college degrees

    The US Marshals Service is actually the first federal law enforcement agency in the United States. Part of the duties of the US marshal include protecting the federal judiciary, apprehending federal fugitives, housing and transporting federal prisoners, managing and selling seized assets acquired by criminals through illegal activities, and operating the Witness Security Program. In order to join their ranks, a successful candidate should have a degree in:

    • Law
    • Law Enforcement

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    Potential Disqualifiers For A Policing Career In Canada

    When preparing yourself for a policing career, you need to be aware of what will disqualify you from the police application process. As far as the written, physical, and medical exams, the requirements are fairly consistent across all agencies.

    Language Disqualifier: You need to be fluent in either English or French including being able to speak, read, and understand one of these languages.

    Physical Disqualifier: You cannot be in poor physical condition. Failure to successfully complete the physical examination in the minimum time frame is an automatic disqualification.

    Test particulars can vary from one police agency to the next. However, all tests simulate critical incidents that police officers are exposed to. For example. the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation , used by the RCMP, consists of three sections:

  • Running 6 laps around a 350-meter obstacle course where you are required to climb stairs and jump over hurdles
  • Pushing and pulling a 70lb weight
  • Carrying 80lbs over a 15-meter distance.
  • Psychological Disqualifiers: A candidate can be disqualified if they do not meet the minimum psychological examination requirements.

    Work Environment Disqualifiers: Police departments require you to work shift work which includes nights, evenings, weekends, and holidays as policing takes place 24 hours per day. If you are unwilling to accommodate this type of work schedule, you will be disqualified from the process.

    Criminal Justice Or Criminology

    Another common degree specialty for cops is a degree in criminal justice or criminology. While the two fields are related, criminal justice is defined as the study of the system of US law enforcement, including courts and corrections, while criminology is the broader and more theoretical study of the social phenomenon of crime, including its causes and consequences. That said, an education in criminal justice may be best suited for prospective cops, but criminology can certainly be helpful too. Students in criminal justice and criminology programs will learn about the criminal justice system, criminology, courts, and the US correctional system, and coursework may cover research methods and statistics as well. Coursework may include courses such as Policing, Juvenile Justice, Corrections, Courts and Judicial Process, Research Methods in Criminal Justice, and Prisons: Punishment and Rehabilitation in America. Criminal justice and criminology degrees are available at all degree levels, from certificates to graduate degrees.

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    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.

    John Jay College Of Criminal Justice In New York City Ny

    Baltimore Police Officer Indicted For Second-Degree Assault, Misconduct In Office

    Tuition: $3,165 $560 per credit hour

    At John Jay College future law enforcement professionals can earn a Bachelor of Science in Police Studies. Once enrolled, students take courses in criminal justice, police science, patrol function and community policing. They also study police systems and the role of labor relations in policing.

    There is no college anywhere in the U.S. or the world quite like John Jay. Founded in 1964, John Jay College of Criminal Justice a senior college of The City University of New York has evolved into the preeminent international leader in educating for justice in its many dimensions. The College offers a rich liberal arts and professional curriculum that prepares students to serve the public interest as ethical leaders and engaged citizens.

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    Monroe College The Bronx Ny

    Tuition: $6,624 per semester

    Criminal justice jobs are in high demand. Police units, law firms, social services departments and the courts actively seek top graduates to keep communities safe and to help make a difference. An Associate or Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from Monroe College can help you move toward a rewarding and exciting career.

    The School of Criminal Justice was founded in 2003 as a service-oriented response to the September 11th attacks. Monroe recognized the need for highly-trained criminal justice professionals, at the local, state and federal levels. We structured our curriculum to empower future law enforcement officers, social justice workers and emergency responders to solve real-life, on-the-job problems.

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