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.
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.
Why Is A High School Diploma Required
As a police officer, you’ll be responsible for protecting the community, and your training will be rigorous. Some police departments require a college degree to hire new recruits, but most prefer to hire people with at least two years of college courses. The next step to becoming a police officer is taking the police licensing board exam, or POST, exam.
The exam varies by state, but typically covers law enforcement practices, community policing, and management and communication.
Don’t Miss: Can You Call The Police For Online Harassment
Lauriers Online Bachelor Of Criminology And Policing Degree
Our online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Policing prepares you for a career in criminology and justice. Focusing on practical techniques and real-world experience, it delivers an engaging curriculum designed to improve your critical thinking and analytical skills. The fully online and asynchronous criminology courses provide you with a broader view of public safety through a combined focus on criminology and policing. This degree can help enhance the career and earning potential of an individual who wants to pursue a career in criminology and policing.
Now is the time to kick-start your career as a police officer in Toronto. Learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Policing or Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Policing today:
- for details on curriculum, tuition and more
Bachelors Degree In Law Enforcement
A law enforcement degree at the bachelors level typically takes four years to complete and can include many different topics or subjects. There are prototypical degrees such as criminal justice, criminology and law enforcement studies. But there are other majors that can hold police officers in good stead. For example, graduates with a degree in accounting are excellent candidates for a career in white collar crime investigations, while computer science majors can have an advantage if theyre interested in pursuing a career in computer forensics or cyber crimes.
Those in a bachelors degree program in a law-related field can expect to find courses like these:
Also Check: Where To Buy A Digital Police Scanner
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.
Masters Degrees In Criminal Justice
A masters degree in criminal justice is typically a two-year degree. Its best for those seeking work with federal agencies or promotions into leadership positions. That may be because the types of courses youll take would help you reform a department or adopt new policies.
Students can get into a masters program with a bachelors in criminal justice or a similar degree. They could also leverage criminal justice work experience and a bachelors in another discipline.
Those with limited exposure to criminal justice coursework will likely need to take prerequisites at the undergraduate level . The graduate coursework itself may include the following:
- Constitutional law: Moving beyond procedures, this class takes a deep dive into the philosophy of the Constitution and asks you to balance that with concerns related to public welfare, privacy, and crime prevention.
- Quantitative methods: Now that you have experience looking at other peoples data, its time to make your own. Youll learn how to design research and parse the data you collect.
- Public policy: This class examines how criminal justice policies are created and adapted to the needs of local agencies.
In addition, most masters degrees require you to complete a thesis, a research paper that allows you to show off what youve learned in the discipline and apply research to a problem you find interesting. Alternatively, other programs require a capstone project or an internship.
Also Check: Where Do I Get My Police Report Copy At
Clear Your Medical Exam
In addition to a physical abilities assessment, you probably will be examined by a doctor to make sure you are physically fit and healthy enough to do the job. Unlike the fitness assessment, the medical assessment makes certain your body, heart, and lungs are up for the task.
A separate eye exam to check for depth perception, color blindness, and overall vision is also common. Generally, it is expected that your eyesight is correctable to 20/30 or better, and no worse than 20/40 uncorrected.
Skills Required To Become A Police Officer
Before joining any profession candidates majorly upgrade themselves with the required set of educational degrees. However in order to be able to shine across their profession, they must also inculcate certain skills as per the profession. These skills not only help in creating a rock solid foundation about the course but also helps in understanding the profession better.
Some of the most essential skills that are required to become a Police Officer in India are tabulated below for your reference,
Don’t Miss: What Kind Of Flashlights Do Police Use
How To Become A Police Officer In Toronto
The Toronto Police Service is an elite law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the people of Toronto. As the Canadian metropolitan area with the most police officers, Toronto has many career opportunities for aspiring and current police officers, but the hiring process can be competitive. A policing degree or a criminology degree can set candidates apart, lead to promotions, and open doors to a broad range of job opportunities.
Lauriers online Bachelor of Arts in Policing and online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Policing develop analytical and critical thinking skills, foster key competencies required for leadership roles, and give public safety professionals an edge in their overall careers and salary potentialno matter where in Canada they may be studying from.
Why Become A Police Officer
For some, the sense of variety and adventurous nature of the job makes policing attractive, while others are drawn by the community service and teamwork aspects of the profession. People may choose a career as a police officer for many reasons, including the following:
Helping victims in need. Becoming a police officer can be an attractive option for those who want to improve community members lives. For instance, in responding to emergency calls for assistance, officers can facilitate positive outcomes such as helping individuals access medical care or de-escalating potentially violent arguments. These activities can give officers a solid sense of community and self-worth. Receiving strong compensation and benefits. Police officer positions often command higher-than-average salaries and strong benefit packages, including health insurance and retirement policies. There are also many opportunities for advancement in the profession, for instance, becoming a sheriff or criminal investigator. Having an active daily schedule. Police work is attractive to individuals who want to remain active in a variety of job tasks and activities. From forging community relationships and investigating crimes to monitoring traffic and serving as a first responder, a police officers role can differ from day to day.
Recommended Reading: Are You Paid While In Police Academy
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:
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.
Become A Vancouver Police Officer
Policing is a fast-paced and dynamic profession that must keep pace and evolve with our rapidly changing world. Through innovation and community partnerships, the VPD upholds the highest standards and employs leading practices to achieve excellence in public safety and service. Recognized as one of the worlds most livable major cities, Vancouver attracts people from diverse backgrounds who wish to live, work and play in a vibrant environment.
The VPD is seeking highly qualified and diverse candidates to join Vancouvers finest and make Vancouver the safest major city in Canada. The VPD offers a myriad of exciting career opportunities within a supportive and rewarding work environment where all employees can thrive and reach their full potential while making a difference.
Given the physical demand of police work, maintaining a high level of fitness is essential.
Whether you are patrolling by bicycle or chasing a suspect on foot, being physically fit will give you a necessary advantage. It can also be a healthy way to deal with stress.
In addition to knowing arrest-and-control, and de-escalation tactics, you will be trained to handle and care for a variety of firearms and to operate police vehicles in emergency situations. You may go for extended periods without drawing your firearm in the field, however, you must be prepared to use deadly force to protect yourself or others from grievous bodily harm or death.
You will learn:
Don’t Miss: How Obtain A Police Report
Police Officers Can Help People Make Better Choices
Police officers often encounter people when they’re at their worst. Drug addicts, gang members, thieves, spousal abusers, and people who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs are just a few examples.
One of the most satisfying aspects of working as a law enforcement officer is the unique opportunity you’ll have to show these people a better way. They’re usually a captive audience and, if treated kindly and respectfully, they might listen to what you have to say. How you treat the lowest criminal can play a huge role in whether she makes better life choices in the future.
Pursue A Law Enforcement Degree
The BLS suggests pursuing a degree in law enforcement and criminal justice for a career in police work. Several schools, including Southwestern College, Northern Kentucky University, Salem University and National University, offer such programs. The curriculum typically covers crime analysis techniques, criminal law, financial investigations, causes and patterns of juvenile delinquency, ethics in criminal justice and other related topics.
A good example is the bachelor of arts in criminal justice program at Salem University. Most courses revolve around law enforcement, offering up-to-date information on criminal justice research, terrorism, forensics, constitutional law and police operations. The program appeals to those looking to work as police officers, bailiffs, fish and game wardens or federal agents.
Studying crimes and how to prevent them can open up a world of opportunities. On the state level, you can work as a patrol officer, detective or criminal investigator. As you gain experience, you may apply for a job as an FBI or CIA agent. The skills you learn in school will allow you to save lives and make your community safer. Plus, you’ll have an exciting job that provides opportunities for career advancement and higher pay.
Also Check: Can You Call The Police For Verbal Abuse
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.
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.
Also Check: How Many Blacks Were Killed By Police In 2016
How Do You Become A Police Officer In Toronto
To join the Toronto Police Service as a police constable, they outline the following steps:
Please be advised that the process for becoming a Police Constable is competitive and as such, an applicant may be declined at any stage of the process. If you have any questions regarding the above information, please contact a member of the TPS Recruiting Section.
For those interested in the hiring requirements for other local police services within Ontario, as well as for the Ontario Provincial Police , hiring requirements may be different than those outlined above. See the hiring requirements for the OPP here.