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How can going to college help me advance my career in law enforcement?

I am thinking about a career in law enforcement and since many positions only require a high school diploma I was wondering if going to college or a university can help me get a higher rank in law enforcement. #police #law-enforcement

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Douglas’s Answer

Jacky,


I would strongly echo the points made by Lt. Noriega and also ask you this: Could attending (and doing well) college hurt your career in law enforcement? If you think the answer is "No" then you've answered your question about attending classes (do it!). If you think the answer is "Yes" I'd like to know your reasoning.


Aside from college, don't discount the advantages of joining the military for a few years. Most police agencies will require that you be at least 21 before they can hire you so why not spend the years between high school and law enforcement employment doing something useful. Talk to a recruiter about all of the educational opportunities that military service offers.


Best wishes to you now and for the future.

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Robert’s Answer

Some of the things you might consider when deciding whether or not to go to college before embarking on a law enforcement career:



  1. You may decide that after a short time that LE is not what you want to do. A college degree in another field would help you pursue a career elsewhere.

  2. You could end up getting hurt while working in LE and not be able to go back. Again, a college degree in another field would help you pursue a career elsewhere.

  3. You may decide that as you advance in your LE career that you want to teach others that are considering an LE career. A college degree would be required.

  4. Most agencies want well-rounded candidates who can adapt to change and make sound decisions. A college degree and life experience (i.e., internships, coursework, etc.) would only help you.

  5. While having a degree is no guarantee that you would be promoted, it is often a requirement when you want to move toward a management (i.e., Lieutenant or higher) position.

  6. You also may decide that as you take your college courses that you are more drawn toward another type of career that you would have missed had you not gone to college.

  7. This does not mean that not having a degree because you were in the military is a detriment. Military experience is very valuable.

  8. Last, but not least, education is very important in any career field you may choose.


Hope this helps and good luck!

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Mike’s Answer

In today's world education in law enforcement is a plus. Many departments require a degree I order to promote past sergeant and in some require it to become a sergeant. Sitting on promotional panels education has always come up and many give higher scores based on education. To be a patrol officer you don't normally need a degree, but if you want more out of your career one would greatly benefit you.

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John Randall’s Answer

Careers in law enforcement have different requirements in different locals. Generally, an Associate of Arts degree or 60 hours of college credit is the minimum by the time you're called from the list. Call Human Resources (Personnel) to get the correct answer for yourself. Good Luck. JRL.

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