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Online Education (bachelor's Degree In Policing And Law Enforcement)

By Expert Author: John Srob

A law enforcement bachelor's degree program can prepare you for many careers in the criminal justice field, including policing, administration or investigation. While programs may go by the name criminal justice or police science, much of the coursework is the same. If you'd like to earn your degree from home, there are some online options as well.

You can find programs that prepare you for licensure as a police officer, and you may be able to attend a police academy as part of your bachelor's degree program. Other law enforcement programs are intended to be a foundation for your career, and you may need to undergo further training if you want to work as an FBI agent.

What Will I Learn?

The courses you take in a law enforcement bachelor's degree program cover police work, criminal psychology and deductive reasoning. You learn the history and sociology of crime in the U.S. and gain a thorough understanding of the laws and codes enforced and upheld by professionals. These courses give you the ability to evaluate crisis situations, preserve individuals' rights, collect and investigate evidence, resolve crises and apprehend suspects.

If your law enforcement bachelor's degree program qualifies you for licensure as a police officer or other agent of the law, you also take courses that meet the requirements set by your state. While some programs give you the option of attending a police academy, others offer an internship that lets you experience first-hand what it's like to work in law enforcement.

What Kind of Career Can I Have?

A criminal justice or law enforcement bachelor's degree gives you many career options. People who have a criminal justice bachelor's degree had careers as FBI agents, crime analysts, detectives, police officers, probation officers and loss prevention agents. Other career options include security guards, legal secretaries, fraud investigators and intelligence analysts.

The training you need to pursue some law enforcement careers goes beyond your bachelor's degree program. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you need a bachelor's degree, experience and rigorous additional training to become an FBI agent. A bachelor's degree is typically required to work as a probation officer, the BLS reported.

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement can prepare an individual for a career in the local, state or federal justice system. These programs may prepare students to qualify for law enforcement work in that particular state; others offer a broader curriculum, not tied to one state's requirements for a law enforcement professional. Students may take advantage of internships to gain field experience while working with established law enforcement professionals. To enter these 4-year programs, students must typically have completed a high school diploma or GED.

Course Topics

In most law enforcement degree programs, students take classes in psychology and sociology, as well as general education courses and courses specific to the law enforcement major. Common courses include:

Criminal law
Tactical communications
Law enforcement research methods
Conflict resolution
Community relations
Law enforcement and professional responsibility

Popular Career Options

Upon completing the program, students can be prepared to assume various positions in law enforcement. Professional opportunities could exist in police or sheriff departments, drug enforcement work, homeland security or in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Popular entry-level careers can include:

Police officer
Private investigator
Sheriff's deputy
Corrections officer

Continuing Education and Training Information

In many law enforcement agencies, new graduates are required to complete 12-14 weeks of training before they are allowed to work on their own. For graduates seeking further education, a master's degree in criminal justice is also an option. These 2-year programs require a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution for admission and often include courses like administration of criminal justice, statistics in criminal justice and legal issues in criminal justice. Students may have the option to choose from specialties like child protection, community planning or substance abuse.

You May Qualify For Financial Aid.

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