A person who is considering joining the police force, or working in law enforcement in some way is often looking for a career that would allow them to give back to their community. Police officers and other law enforcement professionals are public servants. They are dedicated to keeping their community safe so that it can thrive and grow. It is not a job for everyone. It requires certain personality characteristics, such as patience and resolve. It also requires a quick and observant mind. In order to do your job and do it well, you'll need to use every possible tool at your disposal.
One of the most powerful tools you can gain is a degree in law enforcement. It's true that not all police departments require a degree. Many just require you to attend the academy. However, getting a degree gives you knowledge that translates into more tools in your toolbox. It can also increase your chances at promotions and higher salaries. Depending on your future goals, where you want your law enforcement degree to take you, you can get an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in law enforcement.
A law enforcement degree is a type of criminal justice degree with a focus that is valuable to you if you want to become a police officer, detective, or state trooper. In the course of your degree, you'll get an overview of topics like criminal justice, corrections, criminal investigation, and internet crimes. You'll get an introductory background in certain legal topics, such as constitutional and criminal law. You'll take classes that teach you how to investigate crimes, and you'll learn about the psychology behind criminal behavior and how victims react to crimes.
It's never too late to get your degree. Even if you have been through an academy class and are currently working as a police officer, you can still work toward getting your degree. It may take longer since you are working, but many officers do study – taking night classes or online classes. This is especially true for those officers that are looking to get promoted to higher ranks, or wish to work as detectives.
Getting at least a bachelor degree in law enforcement will help advance your career and help you become more effective at your job. You will gain knowledge that you will use every day. As a police officer, you will often be faced with stressful or dangerous situations where you will have a very short time to make extremely important decisions that could have serious consequences to you, your fellow officers, or the general public. The best thing you can do for yourself is to have as much knowledge as possible to draw from in such situations.
Some other options in the law enforcement field might be worth a look too: