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Will I be able to become a police detective with a psychology degree?

#psychology #police #law-enforcement

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Donald’s Answer

Absolutely, although most police departments will require some time in patrol before you are moved to a detective division. While in patrol, you learn many of the fundamentals of police work. You learn the area where you will work, and slang used on the street. A psychology degree would be great, but it is extraordinarily rare to be hired as a detective with a degree alone and no law enforcement experience.
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Kim’s Answer

Abby,

As a female who became a police officer with a degree in Sociology, let me offer some advice. . .

First things first, to get to detective, you have to be a police officer first! Have to crawl before you can walk. So, concentrate on doing the things you need to do to become an officer. This means being physically fit, having good upper body strength, flexibility, endurance, etc. Having a background in teamwork helps, such as sports. Keep your reputation untarnished. Avoid drugs, bad people, etc. Don't cut classes. Be respectful to all, as the background check may involve talking to teachers, neighbors, ex-boyfriends. etc. Pay your bills. Law enforcement agencies normally do not have enough women, so, yes, it is easier for us to get hired. But, you need to be able to pull your weight and prove yourself to your fellow officers. Every rookie does - male and female.

Now, about Detective. Police officers are constantly taking more training. It is a requirement, so you stay current. Beyond that, I would encourage you to try to become a Field Training Officer, where you are responsible for training up new recruits once they graduate from the academy. It looks good on your record.

What major? Sociology/Psychology teach us a lot about people. Honestly, you will learn most of that from experience as an officer anyway. But, if it was me, and I had aspirations of being a detective, I'd look to add a minor in something like cyber security, forensic science, etc. Crimes are becoming more and more high tech. While you will get detective training if promoted to detective, you will learn more from it if you have at least been exposed to some science/technology.

Let me know if you have any questions.
Kim
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Hilary’s Answer

You can be a police officer with a forensic or police psychology degree. Most police officer positions look for a four year degree from a creditable school. Always ask questions when looking for a school in either fields.
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Chad’s Answer

It all depends on the agency you work for and the type of law enforcement position you wish to seek. In order to be a detective you must first go to a law enforcement academy,;even if you are considering a federal career. The FBI requires a bachelor's degree and having on in psychology only helps. As for the municipal police departments, you don't necessary need a bachelor's degree to become a detective. However, you will need time as a street officer, about 5 years, prior to promoting to detective. Again, having a psychology degree will only enhance your opportunities for for positions, promotions and incentive pay.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! This helped a lot :) Abby
Thank you comment icon If you have an opportunity to take a forensic psychology course, it touches on both psychology and forensic/law fields, or speaking to someone that may be an expert in this field could be a way to merge these two interests of yours together. Mia
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