Associate Degree In Criminal Justice
Associate degrees in criminal justice provides a general background in criminal law, police procedures, investigative techniques, sociology, and ethics.
After taking your core classes in criminal justice and general education, you may be able to choose electives in a concentration such as policing, law enforcement, first responder, homeland security, computer forensics, or corrections.
Not all programs will have the same areas of concentrations or electives, so before choosing a school, examine the curriculum carefully. If youre not sure what career path you want, dont worry a general criminal justice degree is designed to give you the basic education needed to begin your career. If you decide to specialize, you can return to school later for a certificate or bachelors degree.
Jobs You Can Get
What Associate Degrees Should Aspiring Law Enforcement Officials Consider
Associate degrees are two-year programs available at most community colleges, regional and technical colleges, online universities, and some traditional four-year universities. You have to earn a total of about 60 credit hours, which includes courses in your chosen major as well as general education courses like English, math, and science.
Several popular associate degree programs could give you the education you need to get started in a law enforcement career.
Do You Have To Attend The Academy
Attendance in the police academy is absolutely not mandatory for most criminal justice jobs. Social workers, substance abuse counselors and those who work with the elderly need only a college degree and some additional training, and other fields, including crime scene examination and forensic science, require a graduate or PhD degree. Even city and state law enforcement departments dont require police academy attendance for criminal justice majors. Applicants have the option of skipping the academy in lieu of on the job training. Instead of applying to the academy, you can apply for an open position within the department and go through its own training program.
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What Youll Do As A Police Officer
As a police officer, youll be responsible for enforcing the law by protecting peoples lives and property. Every day will bring new and exciting challenges and will be expected to take on a wide variety of roles!
Some duties you might have as a police officer include:
- Responding to emergency and non-emergency calls.
- Patrolling assigned areas and observing people and activities.
- Arresting people suspected of committing crimes.
- Preparing cases for legal proceedings and testifying in court.
There is a lot to consider when looking into how to become a police officer: What are the police academy requirements? How do you obtain your police officer certification? This article will go over these questions and more.
Fulltime Police Academy Requirements
An entry-level academy operated or approved by the Municipal Police Training Committee that has the prescribed course of study that a full-time police officer must satisfactorily complete prior to exercising police powers in Massachusetts.
Candidates accepted into a police academy must:
- Be a minimum of 21 years old
- Be employed or sponsored by a municipal, Environmental, or University of Massachusetts police department or, if authorized by the Committee, some other law enforcement department.
- Successfully complete the Massachusetts Human Resource Divisions Physical Ability Test and medical examinations
Sponsored candidates must also sign and comply with the terms of the academys waiver and release form.
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What Is A Certified Copy Of A Document
A certified document is a copy of a primary document, that has on it an endorsement or certificate that it is a true copy. It does not certify that the primary document is genuine, only that it is a true copy of the primary document. Authorised persons include but are not limited to currently serving police officers, registered Pharmacists, registered medical practitioners and Justice of the Peace.
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Police Academy Requirements For Education
Obtaining a high school diploma or GED equivalent is the minimum police academy requirement for education in most police academies. Many academies encourage a two year college degree from their applicants without making it a requirement. Having a college degree can give applicants an edge on acceptance to the academy. When deciding on a college major, keep in mind that police academies will be looking for relevancy to your future job. Classes focusing on criminology, legal studies, sociology and psychology are all useful for aspiring police officers.
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Continuing Education And Career Advancement
Once you have completed all of these steps to becoming a police officer, you will still have plenty to learn. Nothing beats on-the-job experience to show you all of the specialized areas police officers might want or need to learn more about. The best officers are never done learning.
Similar to other industries, officers must meet continuing education requirements in order to renew their license. For example, Minnesota police officer requirements mandate a minimum of 48 hours of continuing education within the three-year licensing period in order to maintain their license.
In addition, active officers are required to train annually in use of force and once every five years in emergency vehicle operations/pursuit driving. Specialized training may also be directed by your police department based on federal and local needs. Departments might also incentivize other education opportunities to encourage their officers forward. Additional training or credentials may be required for those looking to climb the police ranks.
Training Requirements Of Police Academies
The training requirements for the police academies are challenging the staff needs to make sure that the passing out cadets are endured enough to bear the hardships of their job, and for this reason, the training of police academies emphasizes the mental and physical endurance of the candidates. There are specific physical exams that the entrants have to go through if they are willing to join the academy. Failing these exams will result in disqualification from the entrance exam, and the cadets will not be allowed to become part of the police academies.
The physical exams in the entry tests check the overall health of the candidates and their physical fitness this is done to ensure that the candidates are fit enough to endure the strict routine of the academy.
Once the entrance exams are finished, those who have passed the exams are inducted into the academies, where the physical training begins. The instructors at the academies make sure that they train the cadets enough to bear the physical toughness of their jobs and become agile enough to perform the police tasks. When the training is completed, a test is conducted to determine whether or not the candidate has developed sufficient physical skills to perform the police tasks. According to an estimate, two-third of the recruits cannot pass the final physical exam of the academy. Thus they are not able to graduate from the police academy.
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How Long Is Police Academy Training
Every police academy is structured a little bit differently but at the end of the day, most of the policies are very similar. The average police academy requires recruits go through 800 hours of training before they can graduate and be sworn in. While 800 hours may only round out to be about 5 months if operating on a 40 hour work week, a lot of academies actually require about 6-8 months of total training.
How To Get In: Police Academy Requirements
Whether your dream is to become a police officer, detective, or investigator, you’ll need to complete a rigorous police academy training program before you can begin work in the field.
Getting admitted into the police academy alone is an achievement. You must first pass the educational requirements and go through a series of screenings and tests. Only then will you be admitted to the academy. While individual departments tend to set their own specific requirements for entrance into the academy, there are some general requirements that are essentially universal.
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Training Civilians Before Employment
The Illinois Law Enforcement Training Act allows civilians to be trained and certified as law enforcement officers by a certified Illinois police academy before they are hired by law enforcement agencies. Traditionally, recruits are hired by a law enforcement agency, then sent to a police academy for training. Civilians now have the ability to receive the same training as sworn police officers prior to service and agencies will have the opportunity to hire academy trained individuals ready for service.
The basic training program
- Intensive academic and physical training.
- Instructors are employed in the field of law enforcement.
- Courses include all aspects of entry-level law enforcement including legal issues, citizen interaction, communications, investigation and state-of-the-art firearms training and defensive tactics.
Available only at SWIC
The Intern application process has currently been approved by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board only at Southwestern Illinois Police Academy.
What The Police Academy Is Like
At a police training academy, you can acquire the knowledge, skills, and physical ability to become a police officer.
A typical day begins with physical training to develop the strength and stamina that a police officer needs. This training can include running, lifting weights, climbing, and agility exercises.
Then, youll move on to the classroom, where you will learn about laws and the criminal justice system. Your classes may be taught by active duty or retired police officers, college professors, or experts within their field, Webb explains. For a course about law, your teacher may be a lawyer, for example.
Classroom studies also focus on communication skills and report writing.
Training in police techniques covers skills such as defense tactics, firearms handling, and pursuit driving. You will also learn the proper way to use tools such as a breathalyzer.
Once you pass all tests and meet all standards, youll graduate from the academy, but in most cases, you will still not be prepared for a job as a police officer. Its common for law enforcement agencies to require candidates to spend a certain number of weeks riding along with a police training officer on the job.
The length and timing of police academy training varies from location to the next. Some agencies have their own academies, Webb explains. Some form co-ops or regional academies.
It all depends on where you want to go and where you want to work, Webb states.
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Police Officer Selection Procedures
Aside from passing the physical fitness test standards, you also need to go through the following process. Note that the list only includes the most basic requirements, and in all likelihood the academy may impose additional steps.
- Pass the Civil Service written examination.
- Applicants have to undergo a through physical examination.
- Applicants have to undergo a polygraph screening.
- You will be subjected to a complete psychological assessment.
- If youre applying at the Miami Police Department and other departments in the state, youll need to undergo a background check and provide access to your records.
The toughest part is the physical training, and its here where a lot of the dropout rate surges. During the course of training youll be doing a lot of crawling, running and lifting / pushing heavy objects. The objective of course, is to determine your agility, flexibility and endurance and if you have what it takes to be a cop.
One of the best ways to learn how to prepare for the police academy is to use a guide like . Unlike other tutorials on the subject, this guide provides comprehensive coverage of pre and post academy workouts and explains laws and procedures that aspiring police officers need to know.
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.
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 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
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.
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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.
The Real Truth: How Hard Is The Police Academy
You may have heard the saying, nothing worth having comes easy. This statement can easily be applied to the training that is required to become a police officer.
Police academy training includes both classroom and practical training and requires a great deal of dedication and discipline.
But exactly how hard is the police academy? In this article, well cover some common questions about police academies and the training that is required.
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What Does It Cost To Attend The Police Academy
Full-time police academy tuition is $3,200.00 per student officer. Tuition is due no later than 7 days prior to the start date of the police academy.
- Payment is made in the form of a department or bank certified check made payable to “Municipal Police Training Committee”.
- When enrolled in an authorized full-time police academy, payments are made directly to the authorized police academy. Consult with the for the cost of tuition.
About The Training Academy
The Metro Police Training Academy has been developing elite police officers since 1970. Since that time, the Training Academy has graduated over 2,600 police officers, and boasts an Academy staff, which represents a multitude of areas of expertise. In addition to being one of the most respected police academies in the country, it is a CALEA accredited public safety training academy.
The primary role of the Training Division is the operation of the Police Training Academy where it serves as the foundation of the agency by providing students with the highest quality training and knowledge, to support the needs of the department and the community they serve. The Training Academy provides training to newly hired police officer trainees, in-service training to all police officers annually, and thousands of hours of specialized training to officers from across the MNPD and the Metropolitan Government. All basic and in-service training is approved and monitored by the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards Training Commission.
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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.
How Much Does It Pay
And even though California is one of the most expensive states to live in, the state makes up for that by offering the highest pay to police officers in the country. In fact, cops in California make nearly 60% more than the national average police salary of $67,290.
For a look at some of the police officer jobs currently available in California, visit our careers page. You can also check out POST listings here.
This article, originally published May 2018, has been updated.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a cop? Download a veteran police officerâs list of the 10 questions you need to ask yourself before starting a career in law enforcement by filling out the form below:
10 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE BECOMING A POLICE OFFICER
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