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Degree Dilemma

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Wolf Man View Post
    Maybe I'm focusing too much on what the feds would want and should just focus on myself and develop my own strengths and everything will work out how God plans it.

    We'll see.
    That is what you need to do. There is a niche for just about anything in LE. Unfortunately you often have to do things you don't really want to do, before you are able to get into that niche. Develop what you like and play to your strengths. You will find life much more enjoyable and a lot more success will find you. Even though I am a LEO (and have been for almost 20 years) I do not like most people. I have found a niche in my current work where I have little interaction with people outside my agency, even though I am still a federal officer and actively enforce federal laws. I just work a different aspect of LE.

    College is a great time to figure out who you are, what you like, and who you want to be. Enjoy the trip and make the most of it. If you already have a desire to learn a foreign language or two I think I would go that course and only take CS courses you think might be interesting, just to round you out. If you take the poly-sci major and formally learn the foreign languages, you will be an asset in areas other than LE. Washington will want you, news agencies might find you a possibility, think tanks would consider hiring you, the jobs really are endless with those skills.
    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

    For the intelectually challenged: If the government screws the people enough, it is the right and responsibility of the people to revolt and form a new government.

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    • #17
      As a side note, if you have an interest in the IT field, and pursue a different major, there's a ton of respected certifications out there that you can get, that would get a foot in the door for an IT job if you change your mind down the road.

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      • #18
        Since you are planning your future as a fed it might not hurt to get some experience as an investigator or road cop if you can. In todays economy you are going to encounter a large number of other applicants that not only have a B.A. but some with Masters and several years LEO experience. Something to think about while your getting the degree you might be able to get some part time LEO experience. For some jobs this matters, for others it doesn't, for some it says it doesn't matter but then you find out all former cops got hired, no rhyme or reason.

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        • #19
          Very good info in this thread. Had I known what I know now, I would have chosen to get my Bachelors in Accounting (instead of Criminal Justice). That said, I'm working on my Accounting Masters. Just my $.02, definitely not for everyone!

          As someone stated above, there is a niche in law enforcement for just about anything you're interested in. From computer crimes to contract fraud. I'd recommend getting your degree in whatever interests you the most. In my experience, it's more about having a degree more so than what the degree is in - as a lot of them easily transfer into law enforcement.

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          • #20
            Computer Science IMHO is not worth it. I have a lot of friends with the degree that say they wish they would have gone a different route. It's always a good foundation for computer programming but for LE, unless you want to be stuck in a kiddy porn group, be stuck as a tech agent, or work for the FBI/IRS it's not needed. The problem with computers are they are constantly changing, and you'll be constantly needing to attend more and more classes to be certified in the next greatest thing. Political Science is easier, and more universal. When it comes down to it the piece of paper with "bachelors degree" written on top of it is all that matters. Most LE jobs could care less if your major was in public safety or nuclear physics. It's a check mark that will get your foot in the door. Good grades could get you a step or two higher in pay, but other than that the four years of college means nothing else in their eyes. Hope this helps.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by CBPO I View Post
              The problem with computers are they are constantly changing, and you'll be constantly needing to attend more and more classes to be certified in the next greatest thing.
              This is true, to some extent. Not everything changes every couple of years, but some things definitely do. Ie: C++ will probably not be much different in 2 years, although there might be new libraries, or something along those lines. I recertify every 3 years, and generally get a "new" cert every couple of years. It's not that bad, but means you'll never quit studying as long as you're in the field. Might take a break for a little bit, but you'll always come back to studying the material again. Again, just my $.02. I don't recommend CS for many folks, but for some it's a good idea.

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              • #22
                There are some schools that have begun to offer degrees in Computer Forensics. It is a new field, and the career options with this degree are somewhat limited, but it may be one area to consider. There are both government/law enforcement and private sector jobs available in this field. Pay is decent, and can be very good depending on your knowledge and skill level, but you must stay current on training and certifications.

                Best of luck.

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                • #23
                  Think ShadowWarrior taught some comp forensics classes or something to that extent..

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                  • #24
                    Classes like Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Accounting, etc are geared toward teaching theory. So find a degree your interested in. Most people don't work in the fields their degrees are in anyway. I have a Criminal Justice degree but I'm stuck in IT because all of my experience is Military IT. Degree plus experience is really whats important (marketable)
                    AFOSI
                    Applied 01/08/12

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                    • #25
                      Wolf Man,
                      Best way to figure out which to go with is to look at the minimum requirements for those agencies. Then look at the desired qualifications. Political Science may not be a good one to have in a LEO position. I know some positions look for either LEO or CJ related degrees. While others just say degree. If you are looking for Federal LEO positions, don't just limit yourself to just those agencies, there are other agencies that have federal leo positions like Veteran Affairs, U.S. Park Service, Indian Affairs. All have different qualifications that are desired.
                      GOD IS A NINJA WITH A SNIPER RIFLE, WAITING TO TAKE YOU OUT.

                      "For weapons training they told me to play DOOM"

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                      • #26
                        Do what you enjoy learning. You can always get something specific at the Masters level. I was in your shoes and tossed and turned about things. I stuck with CJ and just graduated. Figured I can narrow things down when I pursue my Masters degree and have some experience under my belt.

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                        • #27
                          Yeah I've settled on the Political Science/Language route as these are things I want to accomplish regardless of what my career is. I've set my eyes on a local university with a student intern program with the U.S. Marshal Service as well so hopefully I can get into the program and learn a little about FLEO and have a solid reference from within the agency if I do decide to go the Marshal route.

                          Still too far ahead to say what I'll decide to do now, I may even go local/state LE down the line but I just feel like the Law Enforcement career has been calling to me these past few months. To be on the scene for people who need help be it theft, assault, or fraud or to investigate bad guys is the closest anyone can ever get to be being a superhero.

                          I don't care about money, wealth, or fame I know if I put my mind to it I could make a lot of money in life and my mom probably won't be too happy at first when I tell her I'm pursuing Law Enforcement but I just want to do good and punish evil. Couldn't care less about having the nicest car or lots of money.

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