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What are the pros and cons of going to graduate school instead of directly going to the police academy?

Is it better to go to graduate school after getting your bachelor degree or is it better going into the police academy right after school? Which option would help me in the road to becoming police detective+? #police-and-law-enforcement

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Subject: Career question for you

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Kim’s Answer

Hi Miranda!

You do not need a Graduate-level degree to become a detective, and it would be spending money you don't need to spend at this point in time. There is always a shortage of female police officers, so, assuming you meet all other criteria, you should have no problem getting a job as a police officer and working your way up to detective. Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that you will change your mind about your career path once you get in.

Most larger police departments will have tuition assistance, which might help to defray the cost of a graduate degree. You will need to see what the tuition assistance program covers. Also, at least in Texas, many agencies give certification pay and/or degree pay. With a degree, you will qualify for certifications faster than officers with no degree. Look at the TCOLE website for additional information. https://www.tcole.texas.gov/

There is also the possibility of being considered "over-qualified" if you apply for entry-level patrol officer positions with a graduate degree. It could work against you. As far as being able to "fit -in," which is very important as an officer, it will be important that you have the physical skills to take care of yourself and your fellow officers. I think you'd be better off working on any other areas of weakness that you might have, rather than putting all your efforts into excelling academically.

As to the "pro's," I think you would qualify for a greater amount of degree pay if you had a graduate degree. Also, the cost of education continues to soar, so it would be less expensive now than in the future. If you wait, you could find yourself on a shift that conflicts with school hours - although, with so many on-line offerings, that should not be that much of an issue.

It is good that you are thinking about these factors now! Please let me know if I can be of further help!
Kim
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