3 answers

Is it better to get military experience before or after getting a degree¿

Updated Kissimmee, Florida

Im interested in the military but also becoming a police officer. #police #military #criminal #justice

3 answers

Glenn’s Answer

My answer may be biased, but I'd recommend joining the military first and start gaining that real world experience. I personally find degrees worthless without first having a background. There were extremely smart students in my bachelor's program, but since they never held a job in the occupation, they were not able to apply any of the methods nor internalize how the lessons were important in the day to day. This was a major hindrance on their integration projects at the end. Yes, they passed. But if thrown into the job, they would have to learn from the basics like everyone else. By the time they could apply their learning, it would be years down the road and they would forget most of it! Anyway, my degree I felt was useful because I was doing the job already and it was introducing new methods and ideas that a non formalized experience wouldn't provide. So my advice to you, join the military. Make it a priority to start your work experience. In 4 years, through hard work and dedication, you could have a darn impressive military record as well as a 4 year degree (that's what I did). When I got out at 8 years, I had 8 year real world experience, many decorations and career accolades at the highest levels of the Department of Defense, as well as THREE degrees (2 associates, 1 bachelors). Oh and a bonus, I had a massive savings and no debt... that's what the military can do for you... if you work hard, you can achieve anything. Best of luck!

Brian’s Answer


It depends on what your goals are. Getting a degree before going into the military would be of benefit to you because that would allow you to enter as a commissioned officer. Officers are payed more than enlisted ranks and it is a leadership position. Any military experience looks good on a resume, especially to a police department, but having leadership experience and a degree will take you far in your career.

Typically veterans are given preference over non-veterans during the initial hiring process, and that experience will definitely aid you in life.

I was hired by a police agency while finishing my degree in college, so I never had the chance to join the military. Several officers on my department are veterans and their experiences in the military have helped them in the civilian world and law enforcement.

My best advice is to do what feels right to you. Best of luck!

Gary Stephen’s Answer

Updated Harlingen, Texas

Hi, Good question, I agree with Brians answer above. I will add that if you go in the military first, the military may help you pay for college or you could do both...be in the military and go to school online or at a local campus as well. A lot of military bases now have colleges on base that you can attend during off duty hours. You will also get some college credit for your military service, if you can go in as a military police/security officer, you will earn college credit for going through military training. I received most of my first 2 year associates degree from military training. Good luck... :)