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Finish my degree or start applying...


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  • Finish my degree or start applying...

    Hello ladies and gentlemen, I am looking for some advice on whether or not I should continue with my education or start applying for law enforcement or corrections jobs. To give a little background I am 21 years old. I am currently halfway done with my B.S. in criminal justice and also work a part-time warehouse job, 25-30 hours a week, that pays quite decent for a college student. My dream for a long time has been to have a career in law enforcement or corrections.

    Now, my problem is that while I have made it halfway through college, I now find myself not wanting to be a student anymore and I am not the best student around. Most of my closest friends in college have recently graduated and been employed as officers in the community I want to work in and I now want to do the same. I just began the most challenging semester of school yet. The county jail in the area I want to work is accepting applications for corrections officers only until the end of the month and the word around is the local PD is hiring some officers in the next few months. I am also paying for college with pretty much all loans. If I continue my education I will keep adding debt that will be waiting for me after. So, I guess my main question is, is my degree in criminal justice necessary to find a job in rural eastern Indiana? Also, in my case, would I be better off sticking with school or should I begin the application process with agencies and departments in the area? Thank you for any advice.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Volk93 View Post
    . Most of my closest friends in college have recently graduated and been employed as officers in the community I want to work in and I now want to do the same.
    Re- read that 10 times

    Originally posted by Volk93 View Post
    So, I guess my main question is, is my degree in criminal justice necessary to find a job in rural eastern Indiana?.
    A degree IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE is never necessary to get a job. A DEGREE is highly recommended
    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


    • #3
      I never recommend droping out of school, a bachelor's degree will help you in a very competitive job market. That being said, you are a grown man who will have to make that decision for yourself.

      Good luck in your endeavors.


      • #4
        Finish what you started. A degree cannot hurt you in any way. What part of Indiana?

        “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

        Miyamoto Musashi

        “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

        George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)


        • #5
          Richmond, Indiana


          • #6
            There's no reason you can't do both.

            It can take years to get hired. Why waste that time twiddling your thumbs?
            "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

            "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet


            • #7
              I will never tell anyone to stop working on their education, although I would suggest something that might open some other doors for that a CJ degree would not. You might have a tough time getting hire, it might not ever happen for you, and even if you do get your foot in the door you may decide that it is not for you. Police work is much different than many people expect when viewing it from the outside. I grew up in a LE family and I was not fully aware of things the job would entail. You also have to think of where you want to be after you retire. Most of us go to work after retirement and quite a few choose another field.

              One other thing I will add is that at 21 you will most likely find yourself entering a field that you are not really ready to enter. Life experience means a lot. I was young when I got my first job working as a jailer and I did not honestly have enough background and life experiences to be ready for my responsibilities. You will never be totally there but the more you have to draw on the better off you will be.
              In God We Trust
              Everyone else we run local and NCIC


              • #8
                Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post
                There's no reason you can't do both.

                It can take years to get hired. Why waste that time twiddling your thumbs?
                I applied with various agencies and was hired while attending college. Held a full time job and went to school part time. Took forever but I got it done.


                • #9
                  I am going to drop a truth bomb on you right here and now that I wish I would have heeded about five years ago.

                  Get a degree while you can, and not in criminal justice. If you are getting close to graduation, add another major in something you think you might enjoy doing besides Law Enforcement. I say this to you for two reasons. 1. Sometimes the job just isn't ever going to happen for you. It is highly competitive and you are often competing with 10 plus applicants for a single job. 2. You may find that it isn't what you hoped for and want out. Many from my academy class found that to be true in their first year and others have been moving on since.

                  I will say this also, that even if you find a job and find that you like it, there's going to be the unforeseen that can divert your path as well. Are you married? Kids? Do you want to be the dad who misses birthdays and holidays year after year? Some families can take the rescheduling, some cannot. I haven't seen my sister in over two years because of this.

                  Law Enforcement isn't for everyone and it's not even a career for many people who wear a badge. I have loved this job many days, but I have explored other options too. I want the ability to turn in my gear and move on if it comes to that, and I think it's smart that you have that option too. One of the most profound statements I heard at academy was this; "You should never not be able to walk away from this job."

                  What I am trying to tell you is that you might find this to be a dream come true and put in 20-30 years and love it, many do. But you might find this to be too stressful, not what you thought, not worth the sacrifice that is asked of you, many do too. Set yourself up for success in life. Merely being employed as a cop is not success. Being happy, whether as a cop or not, is.


                  • #10
                    I understand where you're coming from. However, if you are already invested (financially and time-wise), I would strongly recommend completing your degree! Is it necessary? No. You can you still apply to agencies, and if a gear opportunity arises, make the decision then.
                    Also, speak with a couple academic advisors and see about changing your major. You will learn a great while at the academy and on the job.


                    • #11
                      I have told everyone I can, get a degree (not in CJ) so you have something to fall back on just in case.

                      You are one drunk driver (or other related injury) away from an early medical retirement. Then what?

                      Have a Plan B.


                      • #12
                        I just restarted school for a Religion and Philosophy Degree (classes started Jan 14th), now a Federal job popped up with a Conditional Offer of Employment, and I accepted... so I did all the work, paid the money, fought the VA to go to school, then this came up.
                        Former Police Officer (Injured LOD)
                        USAF VETERAN 2004-2012
                        "The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day."-LTC Grossman
                        Emergency Services Dispatcher, APG MD


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