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Is it possible to be a police officer before you finish college? Is it something I could do while taking classes in forensics, just to get experience? What are the best colleges for forensic science or psychology? Or even criminology?

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I am currently looking into a career relating to forensics and criminology. I am not sure exactly what I want to do yet, but would love to explore options. #law-enforcement #forensic

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Victor’s Answer

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Hey Josh,


First off, it's good to see you're looking towards your future in high school! Many states require police officers to be 21 or 18 to 20 if you served in the military.


There's many things you can do in preparation. Most large and medium sized departments require an associate degree or competition of their Academy and college, completion of their academies are always required. So, here are my three thoughts, wisdom or ideas :




  1. Serve a tour of duty in the military, any branch, preferably military police.




  2. Go to college, try to get on with a police department as a volunteer, ride along or pioneer, different places call it different titles.




  3. Go to college and work as a security guard, firearms instructor or the like. Once completed, apply for the local department's Academy.




Finally, you're doing well thinking about your future! Stay determined, don't get caught up with stupid people and stupid things! Become a sponge, that means learn anything and everything about policing. Avoid being taken in by negative stereotypes of police, there are good and bad people in every organization, good news is there are usually more good!


Wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors and you're using a great resource of information from many adults that have years of experience!

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Stanley’s Answer

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Lauren, I would strongly suggest completing your bachelor's degree before beginning your law enforcement career. The reason is simple, there are great demands on your time outside of your control once you enter the profession. The academy is demanding and allows for no outside interference. When you launch your career with any agency, you are on probation for at least one year. During that time, you will be partially shadowed by a field training officer, who will watch your progress. The scheduling will vary tremendously and you will likely work all shifts (day, night and morning). The likelihood that you can get hours to accommodate a college schedule will increase as you become more tenured in your department. It is not advisable to enter a department with demands or unreasonable expectations.
I taught criminology and sociology at Ohio University after graduating UC Berkeley's School of Criminology. Sadly, UC Berkeley's Criminology school closed, but today there are other UC's that have such programs. Whether they include forensics is another story. John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York is a good prospect. If you have a forensic crime lab in your city, check with them and see if they have any suggestions on schools closer to home.

Hi! I am so happy to hear that you taught Criminology. I have been interested in this major for quite a while however I know nothing as what classes to take, where can I take them and how long? I basically know nothing about it because of the lack of resources (despite everything being online). I believe when talking with someone who has done it is far better. I was hoping if you can give me an overview of Criminology and some advice. I would appreciate it. Thank you. Diana S. Translate
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Walter’s Answer

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Yes, many departments allow you to start with no college. As for the best school you will have to read watch that and find what is best for you because what I find to be best may not be what you find. And finally you asked if you can take class while working. Most if not all department will work with you to allow you to do so.

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Chris’s Answer

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There are a lot of major police departments that not only encourage officers to continue their education, but will also provide financial support in the form of tuition reimbursements. So, yes it is possible.

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