1. #1
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    4 year bachelors degree before becoming a Police officer?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to this forum and I just had a quick question for current LEO's with experience maybe who were in my situation. I currently graduated highschool and start attending college next week. I am debating with myself whether or not to stop after my AA degree in criminal justice is complete then start working and continue my bachelors online at another time at my own pace. OR I can just go all out and finish my Bachelors in 4 years. I'm a very anxious person when it comes to moving away, joining the academy and just getting my life started lol I'd rather be working and get a salary/job experience while im finishing up my bachelors then be doing nothing except sitting around a dorm.
    But does anybody have a clue if theres a difference in salary or anything in whether or not ill land a job if I just have an AA in criminal justice versus having the Bachelors. I'm looking to work in Idaho somewhere if that makes a difference. Any opinions, suggestions, would be appreciated.

    Thanks a lot

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    As others will tell you, you don't necessarily need to get a bachelor's degree in criminal justice to get a career in law enforcement. You should/can major in anything you want. Very few departments require a bachelor's degree, and the ones that do don't care what it is in.

    I got my bachelor's degree in three years. I had a job by 21. It's worked out well. I didn't want to have to work while I was in school. I umpired baseball while I was in school and that was nice.

    I don't think the dept. would have hired me if I didn't have my bachelor's degree. Well, they sent me to the academy and in order for that to happen I either needed to be certified or have my bachelor's.

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    To add on to the OP's question, does an AA count for jack or is it basically "bachelors or bust"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignite View Post
    To add on to the OP's question, does an AA count for jack or is it basically "bachelors or bust"?

    Make your own thread!!! You constantly hijack other posters threads in the "ask a cop" section.
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    **edited**
    Last edited by Ignite; 08-18-2011 at 03:19 AM. Reason: ask a cop

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignite View Post
    That's some of the stupidest advice I've heard, because first, it's not a hi jack because I'm basically rephrasing exactly what the OP is asking. Secondly, why the hell would I make a completely new thread when I can just get a quick answer here where the topic is already being discussed? Maybe someday you'll chime in with something halfway constructive to say.

    Well now your violating the site's terms of use. Hows that for constructive???

    If you want to discuss the topic, are NOT in LE, and are NOT the original poster, post it in an appropriate public forum, but the 'Ask a Cop' should no longer be used as a breeding ground for civilian vs. cop discussions.

    IF YOU POST HERE AND DO NOT QUALIFY AS THE ABOVE, YOU WILL BE BANNED IMMEDIATELY AND FOREVER. CANNOT STATE IT ANY CLEARER. NO EXCEPTIONS. NO WARNINGS. NO ANTI-LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSES OR POSTS.
    Last edited by Buffaloboy; 08-18-2011 at 03:07 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ91 View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to this forum and I just had a quick question for current LEO's with experience maybe who were in my situation. I currently graduated highschool and start attending college next week. I am debating with myself whether or not to stop after my AA degree in criminal justice is complete then start working and continue my bachelors online at another time at my own pace. OR I can just go all out and finish my Bachelors in 4 years. I'm a very anxious person when it comes to moving away, joining the academy and just getting my life started lol I'd rather be working and get a salary/job experience while im finishing up my bachelors then be doing nothing except sitting around a dorm.
    But does anybody have a clue if theres a difference in salary or anything in whether or not ill land a job if I just have an AA in criminal justice versus having the Bachelors. I'm looking to work in Idaho somewhere if that makes a difference. Any opinions, suggestions, would be appreciated.

    Thanks a lot
    Finish your bachelors degree. The hiring field is especially competitive right now and you need every edge you can get. Not to mention something to fall back on if you can't get into the field.
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    You're right. I went back and looked at the rules. I thought that if you had additional questions in regards to the OP it was ok, but apparently I was mistaken.

    *leaves thread*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignite View Post
    You're right. I went back and looked at the rules. I thought that if you had additional questions in regards to the OP it was ok, but apparently I was mistaken.

    *leaves thread*
    And you violate them again...Man you are dim.
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    College drgree is never a bad idea but remember if you dont get hired as a cop what good is a criminal justice degree?? Most places dont care what your degree is. Around here you get a $$ bonus depending on your degree level.

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    I would either finish the degree to make you more competitive, OR finish the AA and join the military. Do a short enlistment, you can work on your BA while in. Plus when you get out, you'll have an AA, experiance and military hiring points (depending on the agency) Just anouther idea.

    Deffintly dont settle though. Never accept min standard, set yourself above your peers and always look for that extra angle to get you in.

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    Perhaps think of this way...You paid college tuition in the same state, or city and you applied for a job there. You did you part in paying fees and taxes, and you understand that city. Furthermore, if you took classes from ex-chiefs/officers etc. they undoubtedly know the department you are hiring for, so ask him/her for advice. Where can you intern? What can you do to get a foot in the door as you study along or to kill extra time. Heck, you may even make some money in the interim.

    Regarding the "what good is a CJ degree?" Well it's a part of learning about yourself, communicating with the general public and at the same time reading college level material. All positive elements one can use for any kind of interview. I CAN go on more about this, but will leave at that.

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    I have never once regretted getting my bachelors before being hired.

    I was hired right out of college in an 'impossible' market. I credit much of this to my four year degree. I was one of about 3 or 4 sponsored recruits in my academy class. The other 20ish were doing as you are considering, banking on putting themselves through school and picking up a job afterwards. To my knowledge 2 have been hired full time.

    Since then, having that degree has opened up many opportunities unavailable to those without a four year. As for CRMJ being worthless? It is important to remember, that if you major in criminal justice all your class work, work study and internships are probably with various law enforcement agencies. Not just your local PD either, but state and federal agencies. Although those agencies will not hire you out of school even if you do successfully complete an internship, a 4 year degree and the connections you make while obtaining it can have far reaching implications for your career.

    I actually think that this opportunity to make connections and prove yourself is more valuable then the degree itself.

    Finally, go to school first. Cut loose a bit. Keep your nose clean, but enjoy newfound adulthood and meet lifelong friends.

    There is plenty of time to be a cop. Although I love this job, I think many cops would agree with me when I say there is no reason to rush into it. Your life and lifestyle forever changes as soon as you pin on that badge.

    *I know I really need to change my username...not quite the poor college kid anymore huh?*

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    I was working for the police full-time. Other opportunities came along that I was able to take advantage of due to having my degree (law, by the way) and being able to switch. I'm now a reserve and use my degree in my full-time job.

    Things change - a degree isn't a bad thing to have.

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    Edit: Didn't read the rules.
    Last edited by G.M; 08-23-2011 at 04:13 AM.

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    OK, let's do degrees in general. Basically, just about any degree will stand you in good stead in a hiring process. It can be in CJ, if that's the route you want to go. We, as a forum, offer some cautions on CJ degrees in terms of their viability if a LE career doesn't work out for you. Very generally, many, many agencies are now requiring around sixty semester hours of college in order to apply. In some instances, prior LE service/experience can substitute for the educational requirement. Your best friend here, is some time spent researching departments which interest you. Look at their current educational requirements. An argument can be made for obtaining your four year degree as a full time student. Quite often, should you choose that route, you'll find that internships, or even part time employment are available at the University Police Dept, or local agencies. Again, research is your friend. O T H, I've seen many Officers complete a degree, or even do post-graduate work while working full time. In these instances, the demands of work schedules can make the educational effort challenging to say the least. Should you begin a family, those demands are only multiplied. When all the smoke clears and the dust settles, it's going to be your call. Good luck in whatever you decide.

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    A degree in most any field will always work in your favor. It shows you can set a goal & achieve it.
    Plus, if you were to be injured and no longer be a police officer, what would you do? Any police officer is one drunk driver away from retirement. Make yourself the best candidate and plan for the future.

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    If you think college involves "doing nothing except sitting around a dorm", you're in for a surprise.

    Some departments hire only college grads, some departments, such as mine, pay extra for degrees. In my case, it's about $250 a month.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G.M View Post
    A great point. Don't stop at just going to college, get active in your community. Volunteer or run a club while you are at it.

    Read the rules on who can answer questions in the "Ask A Cop" section. A student such as yourself has no place answering a question here. Didn't you even read me scolding Ignite for doing what you just did??? Consequences are a permanent ban on your first offense.
    Last edited by Buffaloboy; 08-22-2011 at 05:27 AM.
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    I agree about a degree in CJ being overkill. When I first stepped foot into the academy and all the academic stuff about cj was covered in like the first two weeks and it was only what i learned in the first two years I sat in my seat and felt like I waisted so much of my time. Despite that, i do see where a degree can be helpful, if your're not used to being taught a lot of info at a fast pace (which is how one is taught at an academy) and you dont have good study habits or are not good at writing papers, then four years of college is good preparation.

  21. #21
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    A four year degree sure isn't going to hurt. However, you might want to pursue a job in law enforcement while you're in college. Not all agencies require a four year degree. I personally have roughly three years done for a four year degree. However, because I already have a job as a Deputy Sheriff I'll likely never go back to school.

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    It is going to be a lot easier to finsih your degree now than after you get hired (and maybe get married and have a family). Get it while you can. No one is in a rush right now to hire you or anyone else.

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