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  • Accounting Degree

    I'm currently a junior accounting major in college and for my entire life have wanted a career in federal law enforcement. I've heard from some people that I'm better off majoring in accounting than criminal justice. In all of my accounting classes, everybody wants to a bigtime CPA for a big 4 firm, except for me, which leads to me questioning my major. In your opinions, where does an accounting degree stand in comparison to a criminal justice in law enforcement, particularly federal. Should I have majored in Criminal Justice? Thanks for your input.

  • #2
    Any department, federal, state, or local, would love to see an accounting degree. When it comes to good ole police work, the type of degree really doesn't matter. However if you move up in your career, you're going to start being in charge of things such as budgets. You could also make some money from your fellow cops come tax time.

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    • #3
      Whether you decide to go into law enforcement or not, you're much better off with an accounting degree than a CJ degree.

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      • #4
        Everyone is going to bash the CJ degree for two main reasons. First, it doesn't provide the flexibility of a business degree, and two (if they know it or not) a lot of CJ programs suck. They don't have the administration's support, they are underfunded and undervalued, and as a result they don't churn out graduates who feel they learned something.

        If accounting interest you, go for it. If you're doing accounting just because that's the "in thing" than don't. I took as much accounting as I could as a non-business major, just for personal knowledge. If you don't like it the classes are going to be long boring drags, especially after entry level stuff, that will cause you to beat your head against the wall, question college, and watch as your GPA plummets. I saw more people dropping 300 level accounting classes than almost any other class I took, primarily because they took them for the wrong reasons.

        A QUALITY CJ program will teach you a lot. I learned way more about case law in college than at the academy, plus police administration, community relations, statistical crime analysis, stuff they just don't teach in the academy. It will also give you a leg up if you decide to attend something like the Southern Police Institute to get the skills to move into upper level administration or go onto law school, if that's your thing.

        The flexibility issue is a genuine, though. Like many speciality degrees, there isn't a ton of stuff you can do with it outside the field. In the end, you need to study what genuinely interests you. Your sanity and GPA will thank you, and it will be less stressful and easier to complete than a major you hate or that bores you (says the former computer science/business major).
        I miss you, Dave.
        http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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        • #5
          On the same note as the original poster, I’m trying right now to get into college for a CJ degree. I plan to do military service in the Marines (Could possibly do Ranger school instead.) as an officer, and then try for a federal possession, probably DEA or FBI Counter-Terrorism. I don’t want to do an accounting degree, but I always have loved Psychology.

          So, what degree would be better: Psychological, or the CJ?
          "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit" - Aristotle

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          • #6
            An accounting degree is excellent if your intrested in Federal LE as you state. Virtually any large scale investigations, organized crime, counter terrorism all at some point follow the the money. An accounting background is excellent for this reason.
            There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke

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            • #7
              CJ and Psych degrees are equally useless. If you are not a cop, you will need a MA/MS to do anything non-cop career related with either one.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by just joe View Post
                CJ and Psych degrees are equally useless. If you are not a cop, you will need a MA/MS to do anything non-cop career related with either one.
                Useless? Pysch may not be a big bucks major, but its not as limited as you might think. It can open a lot of doors in business, training, etc.

                http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun02/goodnews.html

                More generally, APA and NACE list the most common psychology employment areas and salaries as:

                * Health care and social services, $20,000 to $25,000. Job tasks include counseling, administration and research.

                * Education, $17,000 to $25,000. Job responsibilities include teaching, research and provision of student services. Child care pays the lowest salaries--typically below $20,000.

                * Management and business, $25,000 to $40,000. Such work includes employee development and training, consulting, merchandising, banking, customer service and office work. Banking and consulting earn the highest salaries and customer service and office work the lowest.

                * Federal, state and local government, $20,000 to $29,000. Duties include law enforcement, legislative support and administrative work.

                If you're just in it for the bucks forget every major mentioned in this post. Go into urban planning, pharmacy studies, chemistry, or economics.
                I miss you, Dave.
                http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CruiserClass View Post
                  Everyone is going to bash the CJ degree for two main reasons. First, it doesn't provide the flexibility of a business degree, and two (if they know it or not) a lot of CJ programs suck. They don't have the administration's support, they are underfunded and undervalued, and as a result they don't churn out graduates who feel they learned something.

                  If accounting interest you, go for it. If you're doing accounting just because that's the "in thing" than don't. I took as much accounting as I could as a non-business major, just for personal knowledge. If you don't like it the classes are going to be long boring drags, especially after entry level stuff, that will cause you to beat your head against the wall, question college, and watch as your GPA plummets. I saw more people dropping 300 level accounting classes than almost any other class I took, primarily because they took them for the wrong reasons.

                  A QUALITY CJ program will teach you a lot. I learned way more about case law in college than at the academy, plus police administration, community relations, statistical crime analysis, stuff they just don't teach in the academy. It will also give you a leg up if you decide to attend something like the Southern Police Institute to get the skills to move into upper level administration or go onto law school, if that's your thing.

                  The flexibility issue is a genuine, though. Like many speciality degrees, there isn't a ton of stuff you can do with it outside the field. In the end, you need to study what genuinely interests you. Your sanity and GPA will thank you, and it will be less stressful and easier to complete than a major you hate or that bores you (says the former computer science/business major).
                  A good school known for CJ will make your degree worth it. (my school for instance has its own state-of-the-art crime lab). But law enforcement admins like a well rounded department. Depending on what you want to do you're mostly likely going to get trained in that area anyway. The extra knowledge you bring from a different degree is an added bonus.
                  Last edited by wirefire2; 10-07-2008, 08:07 PM.

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                  • #10
                    For the OP, I will not bash CJ degrees, but I will almost always suggest some other degree. I have seen too many guys, either decide LE wasn't for them or could not get into LE and then their options were very limited. I would suggest that you stick with and finish out what you are currently doing.

                    For Chevy Power, it is nice to have a plan, but don't put the cart too far ahead of the horse. Try getting into school first and then getting good grades.
                    The comments made herein are those solely of author and in no way reflect the opinions of any other person, agency or other entity.

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                    • #11
                      OP - If your goal is to go Fed, go with the Accounting/Finance degree. I know people with equal LE experience, one with Acct degree, one with CJ. FBI wouldn't even look at the CJ degree, snatched up the Accounting Degree in a heart beat. Hands down on the street the guy with the CJ degree, was 10 times the cop the other was. But that's not what the FBI is looking for and it does help them weed through millions of applications. So they dump the CJ degrees almost automatically and focus in on the finance background, etc.....

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                      • #12
                        I was a Fed., and what I knew of accounting was very, very useful. I worked fraud cases for part of my career, set my own hours, worked solo, wrote some very big fines & penalties, had lots of fun. My record was a $1.5 Mill penalty completed in 10 investigative hours! I was with U.S. Customs Investigations (now part of I.C.E.).
                        Every Federal Investigative agency will look hard at anyone with any accounting background. CJ degrees mean nothing more than any other degree, like "Art Appreciation".
                        And your degree does NOT mean you will only do accounting cases. You will still have a chance to kiick doors and take down bad guys!
                        GO FOR IT!
                        "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                        John Stuart Mill

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