There are four steps necessary to choose the best law enforcement college: check for accreditation, talk to former graduates, review training programs, and check graduate employment statistics. A law enforcement college provides training programs for police officers, corrections facilities staff, and security officers. Law enforcement colleges can be part of larger community and career colleges, or independent schools, sponsored by a specific law enforcement agency.
People who have a strong desire to help others, dedication, self-discipline, and are physically healthy report the greatest level of satisfaction with law enforcement college. The programs that provide this type of training are usually quite intense and may be intimidating. The purpose of this atmosphere is to allow people to determine early in the process if they enjoy this type of work environment. Law enforcement careers involve a high degree of interaction with people, some of whom may be intimidating.
When selecting a law enforcement college, it is essential to ensure that it is accredited. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party. The academic and administrative programs are compared to a minimum standard to ensure consistency in business practices. Only courses completed at an accredited institution can be transferred to other post-secondary educational institutions.
The best way to evaluate the quality of a law enforcement college is to talk to former students. Look at the graduation photos for the school and contact people who graduated three to five years ago. Most people are very happy to discuss their experiences at a training school. Have a specific set of questions related to the relevance of the training, level of preparedness, any areas of training weakness and overall impression of the school. Be direct, polite, and respectful of the time, and be sure to thank them for their help.
Look at the courses offered and compare the options between different law enforcement colleges. First year courses will be very similar, but the more senior years may offer specialized programs that add value to the overall training and allow you to apply for positions requiring unique skills. Check the names of the instructors and review their overall expertise and academic credentials.
All post-secondary institutions keep graduate employment statistics. These reports track the status of graduates three, six, and 12 months after graduation. Included in these reports are details on the position title, starting salary, full time, or part time, permanent or contract job, and relevance to training. This information provides a good context for the types of opportunities graduates can achieve and what you can look forward to upon graduation.