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what is the best major to take to help you become a police officer and if you don't become one what is a major that you can get any job with in law and not?

#law-enforcement #college-major

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Subject: Career question for you

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Robert’s Answer

Hi, Natalie,


There really is no "best" major as police departments want well-educated and well-rounded candidates. That being said, modern police work involves several disciplines: from history to technology and everything in between. What are your interests beyond law enforcement? Interpreting, understanding and applying the law involves many different abilities a candidate can glean from a non-law enforcement specific college education (meaning a good grasp of subjects other than criminal justice). Police departments are always tapping the officers who are good writers, good with math, good with computers, good at establishing rapport with people, who speak different languages, etc.

Some things you may consider should be: 1) that you may not like the job once you have it, 2) you may discover another career choice that suits you better once you start working, 3) you may find a career path in law enforcement that taps into the skill sets you developed or 4) you may get injured and may no longer be able to work as a police officer.

When I conduct interviews and later, pre-employment background investigations, I look for candidates who can be trustworthy, professional, compassionate, articulate, approachable and dedicated. I also look for patterns of behavior and character traits that make the candidate a good fit for my department. Bestowing a badge and a gun to anyone is a huge responsibility for the hiring authority and for the person accepting the duties required of a police officer.

I hope my answer helps and wish you good luck in your career choice!

Robert recommends the following next steps:

The CA Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) publishes a Background Investigation Manual that is available for download on their website. It contains all the traits that police departments look for and reasons why a candidate may not be hired. It might help you as you move toward your future career.
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Daniel’s Answer

A lot of my friends that become police offers took some sort of criminal justice related major in college. The issue is, unless you know you want to go down this path in high school, there is a good chance your university might not offer this program. If this becomes the case, as previously mentioned in the post above, there is any number of majors that can be chosen that could lead to a strong resume for a police officer position upon graduation. There is no specific requirement of degree in order to become a cop, so no worries!
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Mireya’s Answer

Hi Natalie,

I studied Criminal Justice and Criminology in college and there is a wide variety of classes you can take to be well rounded. The Criminal Justice courses focused more on policing and different opportunities in law enforcement. They also offered pre law courses while a Criminal Justice major so you can decide if you want to pursue a law enforcement career or continue with law. There are many opportunities with this degree, law enforcement, forensics, public policy, rehabilitation efforts. I am working for an accounting firm myself, so a degree in Criminal Justice will only open doors for you.
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