How do I get a Law Enforcement Degree?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 16 December 2018
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Depending on the level of education the student wants to pursue, getting a law enforcement degree could mean a number of different things. There are a few different degrees one could pursue in this area. One is known as police science; another is known as criminal justice, but others exist as well. If going to college, the student will also have the choice of earning an Associate's degree or a Bachelor's degree, depending on what the particular law enforcement program offers.

Getting a law enforcement degree is dependent on what one wants to do with the degree. Law enforcement is much more than simply police officers patrolling the streets. Some may want a degree in criminal justice administration, which will help the student learn how to manage a police department or correctional institution. Others may want a law degree in order to become a prosecutor, which is another part of law enforcement.

An Associate's degree in law enforcement degree takes two years to earn. Thus, for those who want to get through the classes quickly and find a job, this offers a faster way to do that. Often, there are not as many general education, or core, credits required to earn this degree. Also, even those who are earning Bachelor's degrees will often go ahead and pick up this degree along the way. This allows them to enter the workforce while possibly continuing to work toward a Bachelor's degree in police science or criminal justice.


A Bachelor's degree is more typical of what many people envision when there is talk of a college degree. Getting a four-year law enforcement degree will include a substantial amount of training in police activities, court systems and likely even psychology, especially abnormal or deviant psychology. Those choosing to go this route will spend more time in school, but get a more thorough education that could include internships and other specialized training.

Though not really a degree, those wanting to become a police officer could simply opt for law enforcement certification, which is offered through a police academy. Even a student who receives a law enforcement degree through college will likely have to attend the police academy for this certification before starting a job. These classes usually take a matter of weeks to complete, and provide training in state law, civil rights, arrest techniques and weapons training. In many jurisdictions, this is all that is required to become a patrol officer, though having a degree would certainly make a candidate more competitive.



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Post 2

@JaneAir - I disagree. I know money is tight for a lot people with the way the economy is, but I think education is always a good idea. Even if it isn't strictly necessary to get a job a college education expands your mind.

Also, there are a lot of ways to pay for degrees. Sometimes if you can get an entry level job you can get your employer to pay for you to go get your degree. And there is always financial aid.

Post 1

I think anyone who is thinking about getting a law enforcement degree should consider what kind of law enforcement job they want. I'm a big fan of education, but only when it is necessary.

For example, if someone wanted to be a police officer a degree isn’t mandatory. I think it would be a better idea to just apply with the police department and the go through their training. As the article said, even if you have a degree you still have to go through training anyway. It doesn't make sense to me to spend the time to get a degree when it isn't really needed.

However, if you wanted to become a lawyer or something like that, obviously a degree is a necessity.

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