Would it be good to major in criminal justice and minor in psychology if I want to be a state trooper?
As someone who used to be a criminal justice major and interested in becoming a state trooper, I can tell you that you don't need a criminal justice degree. It might help you to network with officers however everything that you would learn in criminal justice classes you would learn in the police academy.
I would recommend studying something that might diversify you as a candidate. A degree in biology or chemistry might open up doors to go into forensics, or a degree in psychology or sociology might help improve your soft skills when interacting with the public. Choose something that you enjoy!
Your career goals (I know it's hard to think about at the beginning and that opinions and desires change as life goes by) can make a huge difference, too. If you intend to promote, data science is becoming a huge factor for police forces. Going that route makes you very marketable for a command position as you progress through your career. I know of at least one big city chief that made it there because of that Chief's knowledge of data research and science. Other fields that will serve you well, if you promote, would be Human Resources. Being knowledgeable about labor law and dynamics will serve you well.
If you have no desire to command, look at specialization. For example, there is a shortage of computer investigators with the background and skill for the field. You will get noticed for being highly skilled in a specialized field like this and become a go-to expert in no time. Many in this field move on to high-paying private sector jobs at companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and the like because of their criminal investigator experience coupled with their InfoTech degree and skills. Emergency management would be another field that is underrepresented in law enforcement and would make you a desirable officer that will stand out and receive specialized assignments. Accounting for ever increasing financial crimes...the list goes on. There are numerous specializations in law enforcement if you want to study toward success in the field.
As far as a CJ degree...your police agency will teach you what you need to know regarding criminal justice. Don't study this because you want to be a cop...study this because you have interest in the law or progressing to post graduate work in crime and law.
Good luck! This profession is in critical need of honest, caring, hard-working people committed to justice and, ever increasingly, that can think outside of the box and find creative solutions to problems instead of following the existing path.
Its not a bad idea to have a criminology degree, but I will best recommend a sociology or psychology decent for you.
You don't need same decree for a state trooper, or u need is a wide range of versatile course that tips you above the troops level.
I can only advice for the psychology or sociology for a great interaction and communication with the mass.
Dylan, I have worked with a lot of state troopers in the past. You work by yourself a lot, with back up, not always so close. They can run long distances and are in great physical condition. The highway is your main patrol area and the criminal element rises on the highway. The military would probably be the best prep. for the State Police. They can tell you what college prep. you may need. There is a Massachusetts State Police Barracks in North Dartmouth. Ask them what the pre rquirments are. You can call the academy for inquiries. (508) 867-9064
State Police Barracks
265 Faunce Corner Rd.
North Dartmouth, MA 02747
The private corporate security industry continues to growing exponentially providing exciting opportunities and excellent career paths within the top companies around world.
I agree with Graeme, do something you love and follow your passion.
A criminal justice major gives students an understanding of the three main elements of the justice system: the court system, police theory and corrections/prison operations. The study of criminal justice and corrections involves research methods for criminology, criminological theory and the psychology behind criminal behavior- none of which actually matter to a state trooper working a traffic investigation, or inspecting tractor-trailers at a weigh station, or making arrests for DUI and other traffic violations.
For most young people planning on a career in law enforcement- Highway Patrol, Sheriff's Office, or city police- you should strongly consider enlisting in the Army or Marine Corps, where you can become a Military Police (MP) as young as age 18. Military police officers must be at least 18 years old and they must be enlisted or commissioned in one of the five branches of the United States military. To be accepted into military police training, prospective MP's must have a relatively clean past, with no criminal record or prior history of drug use.
During a 2-4 year term of enlistment, you gain Veteran status, which means a lifetime of Veteran's Benefits (college grants, VA Housing loans and hiring preference, among others) on top of several years of actual law enforcement experience, and the opportunity to get into and maintain top physical conditioning, close combat skills, advanced marksmanship and firearms skills, and other valuable skills that will be useful as a State Trooper, Sheriff or police officer. Colleges and universities will give you credit for your military experience and training so you may be able to complete a degree in as few as two years after your enlistment, or before you finish your contract (online courses).
Bottom line? Get a degree in English, or Computer Forensics, or Psychology, or Finance and Accounting, with a minor in Spanish, or some other widely used language. Having a second language on the job is very helpful for the next 20-30 years.
Michael recommends the following next steps:
The study of Criminal Justice and Psychology would be helpful when applying to become a California Highway Patrol Officer.
I would also strongly recommend studying writing, grammar, and public speaking.
Another excellent method to help you learn about the job, and better your chances of acceptance to the CHP Academy, would be to join a nearby CHP Explorer Post at your closest CHP Office.
Johnny Starling, CHP Captain (Retired)