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Would a sociology degree help me...

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  • Would a sociology degree help me...

    Hello all,

    I am currently a college student and am studying sociology. I am very interested in Federal Law Enforcement and becoming a special agent. I was wondering if sociology is an acceptable (or even desired) degree to get so that I can pursue a career in law enforcement at a federal level. I am very interested in working with the FBI, DEA, NSA, or USMS. I also would not mind working with a local agency for a few years either. However I would ultimately like to end up at a Federal job.

    I see a lot of the agencies are looking for people who studied Arabic cultures, Spanish Language, and Engineering degrees. I also see some are looking for biology degrees and other hard science degrees. However I am really not interested in studying those at the moment but enjoy sociology.

    I am curious as to whether I will make a decent candidate for a special agent with a degree in sociology at one of the federal agencies listed above, or even other agencies.

    Thanks to all who respond.
    Last edited by Tecumseh; 09-28-2006, 06:43 AM.

  • #2
    I don't think it really matters what kind of degree you get. I'm in your position too though.

    When I was in high school, I sat down with a Buffalo Detective and he said, whatever I do, don't do Criminal Justice. Wherever you go, they will train you. However, if you can bring something else to the table, that's great. I'll be finishing up my accounting degree in a few months which is great for DEA and FBI. Granted its not a "way in," but its a plus from my understanding. Personally, I think your best bet is to get on the phone with a recruiter and quite simply ask what they might show preference too.

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    • #3
      I would agree with mark13131. What really matters is your grade point average, your resume and if you have some experience. Try seeking an internship or volunteer your summer with a local agency so you can build references and how the law enforcement community works. Good Luck.

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      • #4
        You guys are on the right track. I have worked as a Police Officer and also looked extensively into Federal Agencies. Here is what I have found and heard.

        I also have a degree in sociology and it is pretty worthless if it is just a BA or BS. In order to go federal they want advanced (ie Masters/PhD) degrees or desireable skills such as Arabic and Accounting. I agree that those subjects don't interest me either. They also really love having JD Degree's (Law School). That is the avenue that I would try to pursue. Law is close to Sociology and it will be interesting if you get a patrol position to know both sides of the game. Good luck.

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        • #5
          Sociology is better than those lame criminal justice degrees that can't be used for anything else. With a sociology degree, you still have the "status" of being a college graduate. If LE doesn't pan out, you can branch into something else with it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ArmouredSainT
            Sociology is better than those lame criminal justice degrees that can't be used for anything else. With a sociology degree, you still have the "status" of being a college graduate. If LE doesn't pan out, you can branch into something else with it.

            So in your opinion, having a Criminal Justice Degree doesnt have the "status" of being a college graduate?
            Last edited by FutureLE; 10-02-2006, 04:43 PM.

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            • #7
              OK, my bad...I used the wrong wording. Like I have posted in other forums is that someone would be more successfull in using the knowledge gained from a sociology degree as opposed to a criminal justice degree outside of LE. In speaking with folks that have a CJ degree, they found that it is only usefull in the LE setting. When they leave LE, they discover that no one will look at them for any other kind of job with a degree in CJ. Whereas a sociology degree will allow you to find a different job should LE not work out.

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              • #8
                cj degree

                my personal recommendation is not to go with a cj degree...however its not totally useless...private security, loss prevention, investigator for a prosecutors office, investigator for an insurance corp, are just some options...like i said not totally useless but there are better options..

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                • #9
                  Your Crim Justice degree can still help you out with whatever agency your training for. If you are already close to finishing it, than don't drop it because an Accounting Degree might be better. Most agencies I know say it's a rumor that they go exclusively for Accounting Degree's and law degrees. Accountants are great for the FBI, and they might have an opening when that's what they'll hire and train themselves. But if you have a CJ Degree (Bachelors), and other experience (Military or Municipal/State Police). Your in a good spot too.

                  Also the NSA isn't really a Law Enforcement organization, so in that case you want some kind of technical degree. Their more geared to people with foreign language degrees, computer technical degrees, and accounting or even history.

                  The FBI really needs people with a Law Degree. If you go for your J.D. after you get a CJ Degree, your doing good too.


                  That Buffalo detectives opinion is just that, an opinion. I've seen plenty of people go far with a CJ degree as long as they use it right.

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                  • #10
                    one more thing

                    ...I have to put in my plug that I forgot to mention that Detective mentioned that not doing CJ gave me something else to fall back on if all goes to hell or if I don't like LE (fat chance though)...but that's true...just an opinion...but one I very much trust...

                    Accounting isn't good for just the bureau, but the DEA too

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                    • #11
                      As a whole, I would avoid getting a degree in something like soc., CJ, psyc., etc. They're not really marketable in alternate career paths. I guess people that want to be in law enforcement are naturally inclined to studies involving why people do what they do, but think of a degree that sets you apart from the pack. Also, think of a degree that you could do if you weren't in LE.

                      Not that it matters but when I started college my plan was to get a BA with major in history and minor in business then go on and get an MA in history. Well, I didn't, but that's ok. I received a degree in science and taught it for a couple of years. I don't regret teaching. I often enjoyed it, but it wasn't a long-term career path for me although being a school administrator would've been fun. Now I'm in LE and actually working on a degree in business/accounting. The history degrees would not have been marketable in their own right, but that's why I minored in business. People tell you to major in something you're interested in, and I'm interested in history so I would have done that. Reflecting, however, I would pick something you like but can also use as a degree. Liberal arts might be enjoyable, but they're not directly useful.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tecumseh
                        . . . a career in law enforcement at a federal level. I am very interested in working with the FBI, DEA, NSA, or USMS.
                        1st, NSA is an intel agency, not a LE agency. They have a handful of people who handle internal LE/Security issues, but if you're looking for an intel agency NSA is NOT it. The same is true of CIA.

                        2nd, on the issue of degrees. Get a degree in something you want to study, not whatever is the flavor of the year with a fed agency, or agencies. What they want now might not be what they want by the time you graduate. Plus, many agencies either require, or strongly desire, full time work experience after college. So you better pick something you will be willing to work at 3+ years AFTER you get the degree.

                        I work with people from a wide variety of academic and work backgrounds. Being good at school and at your job will be more important than whether or not you get a degree in Sociology, or Engineering.

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                        • #13
                          Unless your degree is in accounting, forigen language etc they all count as the same thing. A soc./crim/psych are all equally worthless (or valuable, depending on how you look ast it. They are 4 year degrees and that is what matters.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Floridaboy
                            Unless your degree is in accounting, forigen language etc they all count as the same thing. A soc./crim/psych are all equally worthless (or valuable, depending on how you look ast it. They are 4 year degrees and that is what matters.
                            And the myth gets repeated, by yet another person who does not work for the feds.

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                            • #15
                              I still dont see the difference in the value of a sociology degree by itself to a crim degree by itself from a federal standpoint.

                              Comment

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