Police Officer & Detective Job Description At A Glance
Police Officers and Police Detectives have a very serious job. Their main concern is obvious they protect people and property. And, that can be accomplished in many ways, such as patrolling assigned areas, gathering evidence, responding to non-emergency and emergency calls, searching and arresting criminals, as well as many other responsibilities.
Police Officers and Detectives must keep meticulous and detailed records as they are often requested to testify in court. They carry handcuffs, radios, and guns.
How Valuable Is A Degree In Criminal Justice
Aspiring police officers are often told to get a degree in criminal justice, but the degree doesnt necessarily guarantee you a job outside of the police force or legal fields. Some of the material is also covered during the police academy, and with the context of how the information will help you become a better police officer.
A criminal justice degree may be worth pursuing if youre already in the police force, and just want a degree for the higher salary and promotional opportunities. If credits from your police academy may be applied towards finishing your degree, you can spend less time and money on your education.
If youd still like to study a subject related to criminal justice, liberal arts degrees such as public administration or emergency management may help you be a better supervisor, teach you how to plan and budget, and improve your ability to engage the community. All of these skills will be valuable as you advance in your department.
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.
Also Check: Is National Police Association Legitimate
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.
Request product info from top Police Continuing Education companies
Career Outlook For Law Enforcement Majors
There will always be a need to ensure the safety of the public, which ensures solid job prospects for trained law enforcement, probation/parole and correctional officers. Demand in these fields is driven largely by location and state and local budgets. Job prospects are expected to be best for applicants who have graduated from a law enforcement degree program, the BLS reports. In the following section we’ve compiled some career projections for common career paths in law enforcement.
You May Like: How Do I Find Police Records
Choosing A Great Homeland Security Law Enforcement & Firefighting School
Your choice of homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting school matters, so we have put together these rankings to help you make your decision. In order to come up with a best overall ranking for homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting schools, we combine our degree-level rankings, weighting them by the number of degrees awarded at each level.
In order to find the schools that are the best fit for you, you may want to filter to one of the degree levels below.
Choosing The Right Degree For Law Enforcement
Selecting the degree that is right for you is a decision that you should make after conducting thorough research. After all, the career path that you choose will likely be the focus of your life for several decades. If you choose a degree program that you will enjoy, you are likely to be motivated to get a high-paying job and to achieve further advancement. Therefore, you can set yourself up for success by putting in the effort to conduct your own research before diving into the degree of your choice.
You May Like: How Can I Get Police Clearance Certificate
Advanced Law Enforcement Degrees To Help Further Your Career
After serving a few years as a police or patrol officer, you may qualify for a promotion. Moving up through the ranks usually requires additional education and training. For the highest ranks, such as captain or commander, a masters or doctoral degree could be advantageous. You might also be able to further your career by specializing in a field of law enforcement.
Its not unusual for police officers to study for college degrees while they continue to work. Classes for advanced degrees are often held in the evening and weekend. Online degrees are also available.
Popular degrees include:
Master of Criminal JusticeYou can gain a deeper understanding of crime and the criminal justice system. This degree can prepare you to qualify for a promotion to a higher rank such as a detective, sergeant, and lieutenant.
Master of Law Enforcement LeadershipThis degree emphasizes management and administration skills in the field of law enforcement. You could become qualified for a promotion to a supervisory position in the police department or for similar leadership jobs such as prison warden or director of probation or parole division.
Master of Public Safety AdministrationThis degree is designed with first responders in mind. You can learn more about managing public service organizations, including police departments. It can prepare you for leadership and supervisory positions within a police department or related jobs such as EMT supervisor or chief security officer.
How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
Read Also: How Much Does It Cost To Sue The Police
Top Police Academies In The Us
Just as lawyers go to law school and soldiers complete basic training, aspiring police officers must pass through a specialized training program and proving ground of their own: police academy. A good police academy will challenge your limits both physically and mentally, but the experience is a transformational rite of passage for every cop in Americaand what you learn there could save your life, or someone elses, one day.
Police Officer Application Process
The application process itself also requires some time in order to be completed. First of all, you need to go through the job openings in order to find the best option for you. Once you land on the right offer, you need to make sure that you meet all the listed criteria and then submit your application. Follow strictly the requirements about the application submission and fill in your details correctly and completely. Failing to do so may disqualify you at the very beginning of the hiring process or at a later stage.
The processing time of your application depends on the agency you have chosen. Note that there are a lot of applications, so it takes time to process them all and get back to the candidates. Each police department has its own time-frame and procedures but generally, it takes about three to four months for an application to be fully reviewed, checked and a decision to be taken whether the applicant shall proceed with the hiring process or not.
It is advisable to utilize this time for getting prepared for the next steps of the hiring process the exams that you need to take. You can enroll in an online police exam preparation course like the one offered by PoliceExam911. You can learn how to master the polygraph test or check the Mastering the Police Interview course so that you are ready for those elements. You can also start your physical training and be ready to pass the physical abilities test.
You May Like: What Is The Best Digital Police Scanner
What Are Criminal Justice Schools
For the sake of this article, we’ll be defining criminal justice schools as any institutions that offer a criminal justice degree program .
You can look for criminal justice schools in a specific area of the US using the website All Criminal Justice Schools. Just type in your zip code to get a list of schools that have criminal justice degrees. Alternatively, you can browse criminal justice schools by state on Criminal Justice Degree Schools.
Criminal justice schools generally offer a mix of criminal justice degrees, which can include certificates/diplomas, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorates in criminal justice or a related field.
Many criminal justice schools also have the option to earn a degree in criminal justice entirely online. This can be convenient for those who find it difficult to attend classes in-person and who would prefer the flexibility of an online program.
So what exactly do you learn in a criminal justice program? You’ll usually cover topics that span the broader fields of sociology, psychology, political science, philosophy, and public administration.
Most criminal justice programs require you to take classes on the American legal system, judicial administration, the police, legal issues, ethical concerns, and juvenile delinquency.
Many criminal justice majors move on to a career in law enforcement.
Career And Salary Outlook For Criminal Justice Graduates
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects varying job growth rates for criminal justice professionals, depending on position. The BLS projects police and detective positions to increase 5% from 2018 to 2028, which is on par with the average for all occupations. However, the BLS projects employment for forensic science technicians to increase 14% during the same time frame.
Most positions for graduates of bachelors in criminal justice programs feature above-average earning potential. However several factors influence salary potential, including job location, experience, and academic achievement.
Career and Salary Outlook
Don’t Miss: What Do You Need To Be A Police
Monroe College The Bronx Ny
Tuition: $6,624 per semester
Criminal justice jobs are in high demand. Police units, law enforcement, 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 police academy and a rewarding and exciting career in law enforcement.
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.
For more information:
Financial Aid For Criminal Justice Students
Students can begin their search for financial assistance by completing the FAFSA. The information learners provide on the FAFSA form establishes their eligibility for federal and institutional financial aid. Additionally, some private organizations determine eligibility for funding using each applicants FAFSA form.
After applying for scholarships and grants, some students take out loans to cover remaining costs. Federal student loans typically offer lower tuition rates than private loans. Students with financial need may qualify for a subsidized federal loan, which does not begin accruing interest until after graduation.
Do Police Need A Degree
If you have an interest in a career in law enforcement as an officer, it is helpful to know that many states have no education requirement. However, earning a degree can be an effective career move. Instead, a high school diploma is the minimal education requirement to join any law enforcement agency the most necessary step to a career as a cop.
However, an interest in police work will require you to have a background check with no previous events or actions that may disqualify you for work duty in law enforcement.
Each states policy academy or department will set forth the education requirements for those who wish to work in the state as a peace officer. The four-month police training given at the police academy is crucial to any professional police career and is offered at a local, regional, or state level.
While an associate or baccalaureate degree is rarely a requirement, this postsecondary degree can offer upwardly mobile career path wages, especially in a competitive market. But note, if you want a federal law enforcement career in the FBI or ATF, you will need to earn a four-year degree or masters degree to qualify.
Top Cop Schools: Table Of Contents
Aside from character, ones ambition of becoming a police officer also depends now on the school that one attended and the chosen degree. The school must have a huge selection of criminal justice or criminology courses, provide an opportunity to be mentored by expert faculty, offer numerous options for writing research and/or professional advancement, and ensure its students of a high chance of graduating not to be just cops but good ones .
According to the 2017 report on the education, philosophy, and practice of the police, over 30.2% of the US police force obtained a four-year college program, 51.8% obtained a two-year course, and 5.4% obtained a graduate degree . People entrust their lives to the policeand the police should only stand true to their sworn oath by making these numbers go up.
Read Also: Can I Adopt A Retired Police Dog
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.
College Of The Ozarks
The Criminal Justice Department at College of the Ozarks prepares a student to compete for professional positions within a wide range of government and private justice-related agencies by providing a comprehensive education that includes core and collateral courses along with a specific field of study within the two following emphases: Corrections and Law Enforcement.
Students have opportunities to participate in field trips to prisons, jails, law enforcement agencies, and other justice system sites and facilities. In their junior and senior years a student may participate in the Criminal Justice Internship program, in which students are assigned duties in a law enforcement agency for academic credit.
A Criminal Justice degree from College of the Ozarks is valued and respected by a wide range of agencies in the Midwest and beyond. The Criminal Justice program frequently receives calls from former students relating how well their educational experience from College of the Ozarks prepared them for their career or police academy. There are a number of our graduates who are either in law school or working for a law enforcement agency or juvenile delinquency agency, public administration, or in one of many other criminal justice-related career fields.
For more information:
Don’t Miss: How To Get A Copy Of My Police Report
Taking And Completing The Police Enforcement Entrance Exam
One of the major requirements for becoming a police officer includes the police entrance exam. This examination is required for all upcoming police officers and contains items that test a persons ability in math, reading comprehension, writing, and grammar. Since a lot of the knowledge required for the examination is covered in bachelors programs that focus on criminal justice, students that complete this degree program may find the exam easier than those taking the examination right after a high school education. Regardless of which path you take, taking the time to study for the examination is suggested.
From Security Guard To Police Officer
While there are a fair number of employment opportunities, as you have seen in the information presented in this article, policy agencies hire only the most suitable candidates. So you need to do what you can to ensure that your application stands out from the rest.
Police agency recruiters advise applicants to significantly improve their chances of being selected through:
You May Like: How To Sign Up To Become A Police Officer