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  • Officer Education

    This is my first post as I have just recently just become a member. I am 20 years old and It has always been my dream to be a LEO. I am currently going to a local community college and will be graduating after this year with a general associates degree. I am really burned out of school and would love to start applying to departments after this year. My question is, do any of you officers just have an associates degree and if I were to join the force with just an associates how much would I be restricted? e.g. pay, rank, respect, job placement, etc?

    I plan on getting a bachelors degree, but at this point in my life I am just burned of school.

    I stumbled across this site about a year ago and have been on it daily reading and learning everything you guys have to say. Thanks for all your knowledge and wisdom and I hope to hear back from some of you.


  • #2
    pay: negligible difference in my department. $500/yr difference between AS/AA and BS/BA

    rank: higher education will help you get promoted, but you'll have plenty of time to finish your degree before you're eligible for promotion.

    respect: No one knows, no one will ask you, no one cares.

    job placement: Not an issue when you first start, as you won't be eligible for special teams for 3-5 years, typically. Then a computer degree might help you get in cyber-crimes, as an example, but won't make you a shoe in and lack won't keep you out.
    I miss you, Dave.


    • #3
      Every department is different, but most will promote you faster if you have a BA/BS degree. I received an AA and it may have helped somewhat, but not in the hiring process. After I got hired, my community college classes in criminal law, evidence and search/seizure really helped my understanding of those areas. In the academy, I was well beyond my peers in understanding legal concepts (even those with degrees in management). In the field, my arrests were more solid and my understanding of what needed to be included in search/arrest warrants was better than the average officer.
      "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."


      • #4
        You will never reach a point in your life where you will say:

        "Gee, I wish I knew less stuff."

        The older you get, the harder it gets to find the time for school. Take it from me, I managed to pack 4 years of college into 12.

        Life gets in the way, If you can get a part time/reserve Gig and continue school, do it.

        “All men dream...... But not equally..
        Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it is vanity;
        but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
        for they act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.....”

        TE Lawrence


        • #5
          I'd say the average officer where I work has a high school diploma and some college or an AA. Perhaps 10% have a 4 year degree, and then there are the odd few with JDs, and ivy league diplomas. There's a little bit of a financial incentive to have more education, but a degree is not required until/if you're fighting for promotion to LT. As another poster wrote, a degree and/or experience putting your thoughts onto paper helps you in terms of writing warrants or reports; I have seen some atrocious DRs...

          PS - you can apply out here in the Phoenix metro area at 20.5 (you'd be 21 when you graduate ALEA)


          • #6
            Well said M-11, I may have to quote you on that in the future.


            • #7
              Hey guys thanks a lot, I really appreciate the responses. It's great to get others perspectives and points of view.

              Other thoughts and opinions are always welcome!



              • #8
                Take it from a guy that took a long time to get a BS degree......GET IT BEFORE you become a cop!! Life does get in the way as it goes along.

                I went to a 4 year college got burned out on school and went to work for a summer.....18 years later I finished my AS and 2 after that I received my BS.

                I got a job liked the pay and never went back to college.....this hurt as life got interesting and after a few years as a cop, husband, father etc (get the picture) I finally finished my degree through a very good on line program.

                My thoughts if I could go back---- i would finish the degree now so when you did get into LE you would have something to fall back on if you did not like the profession of had to do something else.

                Also your degree will help you get promoted, possibly a pay increase, and the piece of mind that you have completed something .....


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