What Is the Focus of Police Studies?
Police studies, or police science, refers to the study of the techniques, principles, and theories of law enforcement from both a historical and contemporary perspective. Police studies degree programs are designed for students who are considering careers in policing as well as individuals who are currently employed in law enforcement.
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What Are the Benefits of Earning a Degree in Police Studies or Law Enforcement?
In an effort to hire highly qualified individuals, law enforcement agencies are increasingly requiring applicants to have a college degree. While a criminal justice degree covers the basics of policing, earning a degree in police studies or law enforcement can provide you with a more comprehensive education. If you’re interested in a particular issue in law enforcement, such as terrorism or cyber crime, pursuing a graduate degree in police studies can prepare you for a specialized career. At the local or state level, your degree may qualify you for employment as a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, correctional officer, or criminal investigator. Federal law enforcement jobs include working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration Services, the Department of Homeland Security, or the Drug Enforcement Administration.
What Are the Degree Requirements?
Depending on what type of career you’re interested in, you could earn a police studies or law enforcement degree at the associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s level. The kinds of classes you may have to take include criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal investigation, restorative justice, forensics, terrorism, community policing, psychology, and sociology. In addition to meeting the educational requirements, there are other qualifications you’ll need to have to become a police officer. Generally, applicants must be able to successfully complete a physical training program and pass a criminal background check.
Job Outlook for Law Enforcement
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of police and other law enforcement officers is expected to increase by 7 percent through the year 2020. Hiring for positions at the state and federal levels tends to be more competitive and candidates who are bilingual or have previous military experience are highly desirable. The majority of law enforcement officers work as sheriff’s deputies or police patrolmen, but detectives and criminal investigators also account for a sizable segment of the field. As of May 2010, the median annual wage for a police officer was $55,010, with the highest salaries earned by detectives and those employed at the federal level.