Earn A Degree Before Working In Law Enforcement?
By: U.S. News University Connection
Careers in law enforcement range from patrol officers and detectives to lawyers. If you’re considering a job in this field, becoming a police officer is a great option.
Police officers are protectors of the law, and their job duties often include obtaining warrants, arresting those who break the law, patrolling their jurisdictions and investigating criminal activity. They also respond to emergency calls, perform traffic stops, issue tickets and respond to car accidents.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% increase in job growth from 2012 to 2022, and the majority of professionals in this field continue to love their jobs. In a survey of 1,600 police officers, 71% of respondents said that, if given the choice, they would “do it all over again.”
Landing a Job
Obtaining a job in law enforcement can be competitive, and you want to make sure you are equipped with the necessary skills and abilities. For example, landing a job as a police officer requires that you pass rigorous exams for physical stamina and vision and that you complete various written tests. Usually, you need to have at least a GED or high school diploma.
After being hired, new employees need to graduate from their agency’s training academy before starting work. Students at police academies take courses in classrooms and must pass written tests. They also train in field activities such as driving and weapons use.
Value of a College Degree
An increasing number of law enforcement agencies require police officers to have a bachelor’s degree.Degrees focusing on criminal justice can be very beneficial when looking to obtain a law enforcement job. Furthermore, higher education helps you have a better chance of career advancement.
Ben Carroll, who spent 33 years in law enforcement and is an emergency planner for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, told policeone.com that he encourages young people to earn a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree before entering a career in law enforcement. He noted that that attaining a college degree can help you achieve career goals.
Additionally, Senior Officer Christopher Harris, who works for the Colonial Heights Police Department in Virginia, also told Police One that people should receive a degree before becoming a police officer. Harris said that, even after spending seven and a half years in law enforcement, he is still trying to seek a college degree while balancing his family life and working as a police officer on the night shift.
Instead of waiting to a later time, obtaining a college degree early on can help you achieve your best potential as a law enforcement officer. In addition, with numerous agencies requiring applicants to have a bachelor’s degree, having a college degree can make your career search easier and more successful.