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What To Study In College To Become A Police Officer

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Earning A Degree To Be A Cop

Students learn what it takes to be a police officer

Part of what makes the preparation for a police officer job such a puzzle is that there arent any definite answers. Educational requirements for police officers vary from state to state and from police department to police department, as well as across different law enforcement jobs. There is no one specific course or program of study that is meant as a major for police officers.

However, there are some degree paths that are more relevant than others to the work of law enforcement officers. Many aspiring police officers choose to major in criminal justice, police science, political science, public administration, paralegal studies and homeland security or emergency management. These programs of study give you practical skills or foundational knowledge or both to help you be a better police officer.

For example, going to college for one of these majors may help you develop qualities like communication skills, perceptiveness, the problem-solving skills that lead to good judgment, empathy for others and leadership skills, which the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported are among the most important characteristics for police officers. You might also learn the fundamentals of the most important knowledge areas for police officers, which O*NET identifies as public safety and security, law and government and psychology, among others.

How To Become A Police Officer

  • The PEQF is a new national framework for the professional training and qualifications of police officers.

  • Since 1st of January 2020 there are three ways to enter a police force as a constable: The Police constable degree apprenticeship , the Degree Holder Entry Programme and the Pre-Join Degree .

  • All three PEQF entry routes lead to the same outcome, an officer who is educated to degree level.

  • ULaw are licensed by the College of Policing to deliver the Pre-Join Degree , the BSc in Professional Policing, which is recognised by the police as part of one of the entry routes for the role of police constable.

  • Within five years of their graduation date students can apply to a police force, that is recruiting via the PJD route, should they wish to join. Application and recruitment to a police force are separate and independent from the study on the degree and students need to make sure that they meet all the recruitment criteria for the police service if they want to use their degree to join.

Earn A Criminology Degree

A criminology degree can be just as valuable as one in law enforcement. This field of study investigates the social, psychological and economic causes of criminal behavior and the best practices to prevent it. While it shares many similarities with criminal justice, it focuses more on the study of crime rather than on society’s response to it, explains .

Criminology degree programs teach students how to identify criminal behavior and devise crime-prevention strategies. You will also learn how to compile statistical data on crimes, conduct research and write reports. Some courses focus on the sociopolitical aspects of crime, while others include topics related to the philosophy and history of law. After graduation, you can work as a private investigator, police officer, social science researcher or federal intelligence analyst.

Arizona State University offers both graduate and undergraduate programs in criminology and criminal justice. The programs can be completed online, which allows you to study anytime, anywhere. Students may also qualify for internships. Depending on the school, you may choose a concentration in juvenile justice, restorative justice or law and society.

Remember to keep your options open, especially if you’re still in high school. A degree in social sciences, for example, may offer more career opportunities than a law enforcement degree. Plus, if you ever change your mind about doing police work, you’ll be able to switch careers and start all over.

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Links With Norfolk Constabulary

Our College has a long-standing partnership with Norfolk Constabulary which means our new police courses have been specifically designed to their needs for police recruitment and training .

Our courses run at Easton College, part of City College Norwich, and students also train at Norfolk Constabularys training centre in Hethersett.

Our courses are an excellent introduction to policing but starting your police career is dependent on successfully passing a selection and recruitment process. Our experienced teaching team provide excellent support for our students as they apply for Special Constable and full-time officer roles and we also deliver extra-curricular fitness classes to help pass the fitness entry requirements.

The Application Process For Police Officer Candidates

Avon Resident Fulfills Dream of Becoming Police Officer in His Home ...

It isnt easy becoming a police officer. Potential candidates need to go through a stringent application process designed to weed out those who dont have what it takes to become outstanding police officers.

Police officers help maintain peace and order and ensure that members of the community stay safe. This job comes with immense responsibility. The application process itself is not for everyone.

Canadian police agencies generally follow the same process which involves a series of tests, checks and interviews, including:

  • A written exam
  • A polygraph exam
  • A background investigation

Some of these tests require detailed paperwork but minimal preparation. For some tests, like the physical tests, you would be best prepared if you did a fitness training program, prior to, depending on your fitness level. Other tests, like the polygraph exam, require no preparation at all.

Applicants can be declined at any point in the stages listed above and even if a candidate passes every stage, an offer of employment is not guaranteed.

Once you have completed all assessments, your entire application package is reviewed and measured against other applicants to determine the most suitable candidates for the role as a police officer.

If you are recruited, you can expect a conditional offer of employment that allows you to advance to the final step before you become a police officer: cadet training.

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Associate Degree In Law Enforcement

An associate degree in law enforcement prepares graduates for police careers by providing the information necessary to pass police academy entrance exams. The associate degree usually takes two years to complete, is a well-rounded degree with general education courses mixed in, and serves as a stepping stone to the bachelors degree. Because each associate degree program will be tailored to the requirements of the local and regional law enforcement departments, curriculums will vary. However, some of the classes incoming students can expect include:

Crime Types

Aec Police Diversity Program

The SPVM is committed to attracting and including a diverse workforce involving hiring, integration and training programs.

The AEC police diversity program is an exceptional measure specially intended to recruit individuals of indigenous origin or from visible or ethnic minorities who have not taken training in police techniques. Its objective is to promote equal access to ensure that the SPVMs staff is more representative of Montréals population.

Specific admission criteria

  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Be of indigenous origin or belong to visible or ethnic minorities
  • Meet the following educational criteria:
  • hold a pre-university Diploma of College Studies and 30 university credits or
  • hold a Technical Diploma of College Studies or
  • hold a Bachelors degree

Selection process

Steps of the process: go to Police officer selection process

It is important to point out that these steps are the same for all applicants .

Applicants who successfully complete the different steps of the selection process must take the following two training programs:

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How To Become A Police Officer In The Usa

Here we have provided the details to become a police officer in the USA.

Admission Process: The admission process involves online submission of the form, online test, and interview.

Educational Requirements: Aspirants must be from the US, have a valid driving license. The age of the aspirant must be 18 -21 years old. Aspirants should have a clean criminal record.

Other Requirements: Aspirants must have a high school diploma or GED as a formal educational requirement for most police officers courses.

Courses Available: Some of the top courses that can be pursued in order to become a Police Officer in USA are as follows,

  • Top available courses are:

Is Being A Police Officer A Good Job

What its like to be a new police officer | The Recruits

There are clear advantages to working in this profession, but it comes with some of the largest downsides experienced in almost any career. As a police officer, you see some of the worst aspects of society, including domestic violence, ravages of drug abuse, and even murder. Its not just dealing with self-important speeders on the highway, but violent criminals as well. This can make policing extremely stressful, often forcing police officers to need therapy and other forms of emotional support.

But there are real advantages as well. As a police officer, you will experience pride in your job and, on occasion, the community will show its support and appreciation, which can make all the stresses worth the effort. Despite the challenges, youll know that your work makes the community a better place few careers can honestly make this claim.

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Courses Aligned To National Policing Curriculum

With the rise of cyber-crime and similar emerging threats, the nature of modern policing is changing degree level qualifications have become an essential part of police recruitment and training for new officers.

Our BA in Professional Policing course is licensed by the College of Policing and aligned to the National Policing Curriculum that will allow you to develop a strong grounding in the theory and practical skills you need to start a police career.

Find out more about the Police Education Qualifications Framework on the Norfolk Police jobs website.

What To Expect From A Career In Police Services

A career in police services is physically and mentally demanding, but police programs at Ontario colleges prepare students to meet those demands. From the skills you develop in youth conflict management or community policing to personal development training in fitness, lifestyle management and problem-solving, youll leave the program with the skills you need to make it in law enforcement.

If you see yourself upholding the law and working to keep communities safe through police services, heres what you need to know.

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St Marys University Of Minnesota In Winona

Tuition: $400 per credit

St. Marys University of Minnesota ranked among the top 200 national universities in 2012, according to U.S. News & World Report. The university offers a Bachelor of Science in Police Science at two different locations: the Twin Cities campus and the Apple Valley Center.

For more information:

What Degree Do You Need To Be A Cop

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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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Law Enforcement Degrees & Training

Masters Online
The police department I want to work for doesnt require anything more than a high school diploma. However, they prefer recruits to have some legal-related postsecondary college credits before enrolling in the academy.
Im working full time as a police officer right now. I know I need to get another degree to increase my chances of getting promoted within my department, but my work schedule is so varied that I dont have the ability to take classes on a set schedule.
I dont know exactly where Id like to end up as a police officer, but I do know I want the potential for advancement, to give myself the best chance of being hired and to be eligible for federal law enforcement positions, such as at the DEA or FBI.
I hope to someday take a leadership position within law enforcement, even becoming a police captain or police chief.
I would like to gain additional knowledge about law enforcement. Many departments I intend to apply to require applicants to have several dozen college credits, if not a full degree.

Job Outlook For Ontario Police Officers

The labour market conditions for police officer jobs are currently Average. This indicates that these jobs are not difficult to find nor are they necessarily in abundance. Salaries have increased at a slower rate compared to jobs rated as Above average, but faster than those rated as Below average.

According to the Job Bank, employment growth and retirement will lead to a moderate number of new positions. In other words, the balanced labour market from 2016 – 2018 means there have been as many jobs available as there have been job seekers.

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Sponsored Online Law Enforcement Degrees

Criminal Justice & Criminology

Another degree field that will be helpful is criminology. This field of study takes a broad-range, science-based approach to crime, looking at crime statistics in relation to frequency, causes, demographics, and more. This is an academic discipline heavily rooted in science , so a curious mind and an aptitude for numbers is helpful. When complete, this degree is useful for career advancement, as it can be applied to the big-picture issues that law enforcement leaders need to tackle.

Although sharing many similarities to criminology, criminal justice focuses on navigating the societal systems that have been set up to stop crime, punish criminals, and reduce future instances. Basically, a criminal justice degree gives you a thorough understanding of law enforcement, the court system, and corrections. Once again, this degree is extremely useful for future advancement, as it gives a strong understanding of the overall crime-prevention efforts in the United States. Its beneficial for people who want to shift horizontally in law enforcement, moving into areas such as victim support or rehabilitation.

Is Becoming A Police Officer In Your Future

New Study Ranks California As The Best State To Be A Police Officer

While the steps to becoming a police officer may seem lengthy, completing them is absolutely necessary if you want to achieve the fulfilling career youve set your sights on. And a good law enforcement program will help you navigate the process.

Now that youre familiar with the process of how to become a police officer, you may be curious if you have what it takes to excel on the job. Learn more in our article, Often Overlooked Qualities of a Great Police Officer.

If youre already set on becoming a police officer, visit our Law Enforcement degree page to learn how we can help you take the next step toward becoming a police officer in Minnesota.

The Law Enforcement programs at Rasmussen University are not aligned to the standards of any professional licensing body other than the MN POST and are not intended to satisfy professional licensure requirements of any professional licensing agency in any other state.Editors note: This article was originally published in June 2016. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2020. Insight from Shetler and Plantinga remain from the original.

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College Classes Needed For Police Officer Requirements


There are about 75 applicants for every position at a police station, so a college degree can help to distinguish one job application from another. Many police officers find college coursework is necessary for future job mobility, as detectives and administrators are required to have a degree. Pursuing college classes before you turn 21, as most agencies have an age requirement for job applicants, will help you hit the ground running after joining the force.

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Police Officer Hiring Process

The police officer hiring process is much different than that of any other job. It is not simply attending an interview and then being approved for the position. In order to become a police officer, you need to undergo a series of tests and each of them can disqualify you. The entire process is quite competitive and each police department can put more importance on a single element of the process rather than on the other. Nevertheless, the hiring process consists of several elements that are common for each agency no matter if we talk about local, state or federal law enforcement.

Once your application is accepted, you need to be tested in order to prove that you have what it takes to do the job. This includes checking both your general knowledge, writing skills, physical abilities, and your background. Here are the steps that you need to successfully pass through, in order to become a police officer:

  • Physical ability test

The physical ability test checks the fitness of the candidate and their readiness to face the physical challenges of the police officer job. Basically, there are two approaches adopted by the agencies into performing the PAT: the job simulation method and the fitness-based method. In both cases, it is a pass/fail test and the applicant must meet certain criteria in order to pass. Check with the department which of the two approaches they use and train for the test.

  • Medical exam
  • Background check
  • Polygraph test
  • Psychological screening
  • Oral board interview

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Picking The Right Program

Once you know which program level you want to pursue, its time to figure out which one best suits your needs. When researching the schools that make it onto your all-important shortlist, keep the following questions in mind:

  • Is the school regionally accredited?
  • Can you afford the tuition?
  • Does the timeline fit with your future goals?
  • Does the program have a high success rate?
  • Does the program provide POST exam prep?

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