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Associate Degree Programs for Aspiring Police Officers

Majors Overview April 15, 2013

An associate degree program in law enforcement or criminal justice studies typically qualifies individuals to enter careers as police officers. These degree programs usually provide specialty tracks particularly related to the preparation and training for law enforcement officers. Several degree programs allow students to complete it within eighteen months, if they are enrolled full-time and usually offer extensive coursework online.

Criminal Justice Associate Degree Program

A criminal justice associate degree program will prepare students for real-life scenarios when dealing with individuals and law in the community. Students will learn the fundamentals of human relation skills, the psychology of a criminal, ethics in law, and criminal investigative practices; in addition, t students are taught how to react to crisis situations. In this program, individuals will be prepared for important aspects of being a police officer, such as legal processes, in addition to physical requirements needed to perform job functions of a law enforcement agent. Students are required to hold a general educational development (GED) certificate or high school diploma in order to be admitted to the associate degree program.

Program Course Topics

Associate degree programs in law enforcement are comprised of sixty to sixty-four credit-hours and generally have an equal split of law enforcement coursework and basic educational requirements. Course topics may include the following:

•Pursuit driving techniques
•Traffic law and criminal codes
•Defensive maneuvering
•Use of firearms
•Traffic law implementation
•Juveniles and the law
•Handling domestic violence
•Criminal law practices
•Investigative skills
•Documentation processes

Employment Outlook

In 2008, the average annual salary for a police officer was $52,810, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov). Between 2008 and 2018, police officers’ employment outlook is expected to increase at approximately nine percent, which is similar to other professions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that opportunities in law enforcement are available to candidates who qualify physically, personally, and psychologically through different tests given to them by law enforcement agencies.

Information on Continuing Education

Typically, a bachelor degree program in criminal justice will help prepare individuals for supervisory positions within a law enforcement agency. The curriculum offers training in areas relating to homeland security issues, forensic methods, gang activity, cultural aspects of law enforcement, and prevention of crime. The program coursework totals one hundred twenty credit-hours, including forty-five credit-hours of the core curriculum, are required.

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