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Posted: 8/19/2004 10:38:19 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/20/2004 3:02:15 PM EST by TheSaint2004]
I am starting college in September and just wondering how many of you LEOs have degrees. In MA it seems almost impossible to get a job without military service, so I am hoping a degree or masters will help me out. After I get out of college if I cannot get a job I will join either the Army or the Coast Guard. Just looking to see what you guys did. Thanks.
Link Posted: 8/19/2004 11:39:16 AM EST
I have a BS degree in Criminology. DO NOT GET THIS DEGREE. It is not needed and is very limiting. Get a degree in business management or any business degree. All they care about is that you have a degree they could care less what it is in. Now when it is time for a promotion a business degree looks good to the admin.

The best thing you can do while in college getting any degree is to become a reserve officer or deputy. This will help you decide what you want out of an agency. It will prepare you for your oral interview better than just about anything. Street experience is always a plus in this business and most cops can see it before you even open your mouth.

I was a reserve for 3 years. I worked ever detail I could. I volunteered to help out the detectives and got to do some surveillance work and search warrant services. I did my internship with our narc unit and got to play in that world for about a year. During my winter brakes I worked shifts as a bailiff and learned the court system and the players. When it came time for me to get on full time I was well known and seasoned. I did not score as high as I would have liked but because of what I had done for the department and that I had proven myself they reached way down on the list and hired me.

That's my $.02
Link Posted: 8/19/2004 4:38:31 PM EST
I too have a BS in Criminal Justice. It has definately been a benefit to me in LE but thats as far as the degree will take me. Focus on something more "useful" that should you not stay in LE, you have something to fall back on.

Take CJ electives, thats where the true "meat" is anyway. Good Luck!!
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 7:40:20 AM EST
No.

A degree cannot hurt, but you might want to do a little research before you commit to a course of study.

As was stated, I also have a BA in Admin of Justice. It is good for the job app, but has very little real world use for me. In fact, I am currently getting my graduate degree in Art (which I love,) and the fact that all my undergrad work was in CJ is hurting me. I have to pretty much start from scratch and shell out some serious $$$ for my prerecs. If I could go back, I would have picked a program that had a little more potential for advancement.

Most departments do not require a degree, but pay some nice incentives for previous education. 15% in my dept! Thats some good $$$ over a career.

As far as most departments, a degree is a degree. Art, Crim, Basketweaving are all the same as far a s incentives and pre-employment qualification. Pick something you WANT or LIKE to do in case you choose to persue a graduate degree. Don't get too wrapped up in the "we'll give you credit for all your police training" degree plans...unless all you want is the degree for the money (which is fine, too.) BTW, I know a few guys and gals that have taken their CJ degrees to the graduate level for teaching and such...so don't think I'm saying the program is totally useless.

Finally, a degree will definately help you promote. It just looks good on paper. I am stating the obvious when I say that a degree does not equate to being a good cop, but a paper trail when It comes to promotion time (if that is your goal) will help.

Good luck!

NorCal

Link Posted: 8/20/2004 9:27:25 AM EST
For disclosure, I've never worked in LE. I did 7+ years active duty Army military intelligence, and now I am applying with several Fed agencies. After talking to countless recruiters at the federal level, they believe that CJ degrees are useless in their world. Almost all law enforcement positions have a training academy at which they will teach you everything you need to know about criminal justice. This academy will be taught by people actually in law enforcement, not some college professor who has never been inside of a police station.

For this reason, most advocate that you get a degree to learn something that will not be taught in the academy. They want computer science, engineering, accounting, finance, law... pretty much any technical degree. With business/accounting degrees, it helps you "follow the money to find the crime." With technical computer/engineering degrees, it gives you insight for modern crimes. I got my BS degree is in Accounting, and I'm currently working on my Masters of Public Administration. Those degree coupled with a military intelligence background seems to be a pretty good combination. YMMV.

-Randy
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 11:03:19 AM EST
Hell, come to PA. Most departments now REQUIRE a 2 year degree (or 2 years experience). The guys that have military and no college can't even apply. And the kicker is, the degree can be in anything, it doesn't have to be criminal justice.

It's a shame really. You do not need college to do this job. You need common sense and street smarts, neither of which you get in college.

I was lucky. I was on the last list that you didn't need college (I was military) and I got hired.

This new requirement really shows in the kind of recruits we're getting now. A lot of them are, lets just say, behind the curve.
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 3:10:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/21/2004 9:51:32 AM EST by BigJ491]
Your best bet is to get a degree that shows you had to work to get it. In all honesty, a Crim degree is not that hard to get. I went to Ohio State, and Crim wasn't much more than just Sociology with a focus on crime.

Business and such degrees a great. Also, computer degrees would give you a great "IN" with Feds like the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, ATF, DEA, and such. All of these departments really love hiring guys for "1811 - Investigator" positions that have computer techy knowledge, as most guys can't even run a virus program.

Having a degree has helped me stand out from the crowd, but any more, most people seeking LEO jobs have some sort of a degree. It's better to stand out from that crowd too. A Masters wouldn't be a bad idea either, but don't waste your time if you just want to keep it on the streets. If you'd like to be chief someday, a masters will make a huge difference, especially one in Public Admin.
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 4:02:40 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/21/2004 4:03:23 AM EST by Airborne20323]
Im in RI and to apply at my agency you need at least 60 credits towards a "Criminal Justice" degree, or prior military. I have a B.S. in CJ and did 3 years in the Army.

Make sure before you waste a lot of time and money that where ever you are going to apply will take a degree in a specific field (ie computers or art). I agree that my degree in CJ is pretty much useless.

edited to correct poor spelling
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 9:19:55 AM EST
Originally Posted By BigJ491:

Business and such degrees a great. Also, computer degrees would give you a great "IN" with Feds like the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, ATF, DEA, and such. All of these departments really love hiring guys for "1811 - Investigator" positions that have computer techy knowledge, as most guys can't even fun a virus program.

Dittos. I work for a Federal agency. Have a degree in Accounting. Right now, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology or other "hard science" degrees are hot. If you have talent in a second language, it is a definite plus.

IMO, having a degree in a field that your interested in, but is second behind Law Enforcement is not a bad strategy. You may not get through a career in Law Enforcement, even if you get your foot in the door.

Good Luck!
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 10:39:42 AM EST

Originally Posted By CalFed:
Originally Posted By BigJ491:

Business and such degrees a great. Also, computer degrees would give you a great "IN" with Feds like the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, ATF, DEA, and such. All of these departments really love hiring guys for "1811 - Investigator" positions that have computer techy knowledge, as most guys can't even fun a virus program.

Dittos. I work for a Federal agency. Have a degree in Accounting. Right now, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology or other "hard science" degrees are hot. If you have talent in a second language, it is a definite plus.

IMO, having a degree in a field that your interested in, but is second behind Law Enforcement is not a bad strategy. You may not get through a career in Law Enforcement, even if you get your foot in the door.

Good Luck!



CalFed, if you don't mind me asking, who do you work for? IM or e-mail if you don't want it public... I've tested and interviewed for a couple 1811 positions and more coming up. Mainly, I wuold like to find out about the atmosphere where people are working. Coincidentally, my BS is also in Accounting and I went to DLI for Korean on my military intelligence path.

FWIW, BigJ491 "1810" is Investigator and "1811" is Criminal Investigator (Special Agent)... big difference. I've interviewed for both positions so far...

-Randy
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 10:50:05 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/21/2004 10:51:44 AM EST by QuietShootr]

Originally Posted By Luckystiff:
I have a BS degree in Criminology. DO NOT GET THIS DEGREE. It is not needed and is very limiting. Get a degree in business management or any business degree. All they care about is that you have a degree they could care less what it is in. Now when it is time for a promotion a business degree looks good to the admin.


That's my $.02



+1

I have a BS in Crim from Indiana State...it's done fuck-all for me. Edit...I'm a reclass MI guy too...must be a trend..
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 4:50:52 PM EST
If you're planning to move up the rangs Sgt.. Lt... it's been recommended to me more than once, get a degree in Business... management whatever... you learn criminal law at the academy.
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 4:58:38 PM EST
A Criminal Justice degree is a waste of time and money. College is not.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 4:27:32 AM EST

Originally Posted By double_r76:

Originally Posted By CalFed:
Originally Posted By BigJ491:

Business and such degrees a great. Also, computer degrees would give you a great "IN" with Feds like the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, ATF, DEA, and such. All of these departments really love hiring guys for "1811 - Investigator" positions that have computer techy knowledge, as most guys can't even fun a virus program.

Dittos. I work for a Federal agency. Have a degree in Accounting. Right now, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology or other "hard science" degrees are hot. If you have talent in a second language, it is a definite plus.

IMO, having a degree in a field that your interested in, but is second behind Law Enforcement is not a bad strategy. You may not get through a career in Law Enforcement, even if you get your foot in the door.

Good Luck!



CalFed, if you don't mind me asking, who do you work for? IM or e-mail if you don't want it public... I've tested and interviewed for a couple 1811 positions and more coming up. Mainly, I wuold like to find out about the atmosphere where people are working. Coincidentally, my BS is also in Accounting and I went to DLI for Korean on my military intelligence path.

FWIW, BigJ491 "1810" is Investigator and "1811" is Criminal Investigator (Special Agent)... big difference. I've interviewed for both positions so far...

-Randy



Yeah I know, but I was typing fast and skipping words. I was just tossing out the number becuase those are the positions that most people know about with the FBI, Secret Service, and what not.

Nice Avitar.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 7:10:32 AM EST
I wouldn't get it... It's too limiting. All of the info you'll need you will receive in the police academy.

I have a B.S. in physics, and I know other guys that have degrees in other fields. They bring a different prospective to the table. This provides the department with guys that have a variety of capabilities.

Lots of guys have the Crim Justice degree where I work. It just doesn't set you apart, and I don't think it contributes to the job.

Also, if you decide to leave police work... what are you going to do with a C.J. Degree?
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:27:25 PM EST
I have a BA in Criminal Justice and I believe its good to get a Justice Degree. It helped me get hired. It helped me get through the Academic portion of the Academy. It has helped with upward mobility. It also helps if you want to be a Chief or any other leadership role in Law Enforcement.
Pat
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