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Opinion and/or experience on Officers with 4-year Degrees

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  • Opinion and/or experience on Officers with 4-year Degrees

    HI EVERYBODY!

    So I've got 3 1/2 years in part-time in a VERY small town, and in December, I'll be getting my BA in Psychology (minor: criminology). I already have an Associates in Criminal Justice. I've started applying for some departments (if your work in Madison, WI or Milwaukee, WI area, I'd LOVE to hear your opinion/experience), and while reading research online, I just wanted to ask a few questions that just aren't quite clarified:

    1.) Many departments are keen on hiring officers with a 4-year degree. Do you believe it matters what the degree is in? (Examples: Criminal Justice, Psychology, Sociology, Agriculture, etc. etc.).

    2.) From my experience in regards to question 1, it doesn't seem to matter, they only want to see a 4-year degree. If you agree, do you think this rule changes when one applies for a promotion/administrative position?

    3.) I'm contemplating getting my Bachelor's (online) in Criminal Justice, but I will already have a Bachelor's in Psychology. Would this help in any way? (other than going for my masters; see question four). Would it be worth it? (about 10 months and $10,000).

    4.) Would there be any way to implement a Master's Degree in Industrial Organization Psychology into law
    enforcement? Any benefits of having it? Or, if I decided to stay in this profession, would it be better to get a Masters in Law Enforcement Administration? (would have to get my Bachelors first).

    5.) How would you convince a department that a Psychology Degree aids you in Law Enforcement?


    THANKS EVERYBODY!

  • #2
    I'll direct you to this recent thread

    https://forum.officer.com/forum/publ...cation-process
    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Dedede123 View Post
      1.) Many departments are keen on hiring officers with a 4-year degree. Do you believe it matters what the degree is in? (Examples: Criminal Justice, Psychology, Sociology, Agriculture, etc. etc.).
      In most agencies, a degree is a degree. As long as you have one, (and they don't specify what kind they want) you possess the minimum requirements for admission to the testing process. There are no extra points for having one degree over another, Similarly, many departments provide enhanced pay if you have a degree. They don't care what it is.

      Originally posted by Dedede123 View Post
      2.) From my experience in regards to question 1, it doesn't seem to matter, they only want to see a 4-year degree. If you agree, do you think this rule changes when one applies for a promotion/administrative position?
      Usually not, although on a few occasions I have seen upper management positions requiring degrees in public administration, criminal justice or business administration.

      Originally posted by Dedede123 View Post
      3.) I'm contemplating getting my Bachelor's (online) in Criminal Justice, but I will already have a Bachelor's in Psychology. Would this help in any way? (other than going for my masters; see question four). Would it be worth it? (about 10 months and $10,000).
      Not particularly. If you plan on going up the ranks, a Bachelors in Public Administration or Business would be far more helpful to you in actually performing the duties of the job. Again, when it comes to scoring on the promotional exam, unless they specify a particular degree preference, a degree is a degree.

      Originally posted by Dedede123 View Post
      4.) Would there be any way to implement a Master's Degree in Industrial Organization Psychology into law [/B][B]enforcement? Any benefits of having it? Or, if I decided to stay in this profession, would it be better to get a Masters in Law Enforcement Administration? (would have to get my Bachelors first).
      As a manager you will have a myriad of responsibilities and your knowledge of organizational psychology will only have minimal relevance. In addition, it has been my experience that police personnel with a degree in psychology sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing coworkers and telling them what is wrong with them, or telling coworkers what is wrong with other coworkers. This makes psych degree employees unpopular, sometimes to the point of becoming pariahs (although malcontents and complainers may flock to them and want to be their friends).

      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

      Comment


      • #4
        Don't get a criminal justice degree. I repeat, don't get a criminal justice degree. Some places will give you a little more money for a bachelor's degree but not really enough to warrant it IMO. That being said, having a degree is never a bad thing. It just doesn't equate to being effective/successful in this line of work. Street smarts and common sense are what you need. If you do go back to school, get a degree in something unrelated to this field so you'll have something to fall back on if you get injured/decide you want to do something else later on down the road.

        Comment


        • Dedede123
          Dedede123 commented
          Editing a comment
          My thoughts exactly. Couldn't of said it any better myself.

      • #5
        Even Federal Investigation jobs that require a 4 year degree do not care what it is in.

        Customs famously had an agent with a degree in............Animal Husbandry. He ended up making a huge case on smuggled prize bull semen, worth several times more per ounce than heroin. Put a bunch of guy in prison. Everybody laughed, until he got a BIG cash award, and a 2 step promotion!

        My degree was in Industrial Management - I used it exactly 1 time, but in a single 10 hour day I received, investigated, and wrote a report that resulted in a $15 Million penalty against a company.
        "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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        • #6
          As my colleagues know I repeat myself. I have a co worker that has a BA in THEATER. Where I am, you are paid for your level of education.....HS, AA, BS/BA. My degree is a BS in Medical Lab. Technology. I make the same as those w/ BAs in CJ, Theater, Psych etc. I wouldn't do the online BS. If you want to further your education (admirable IMO) go forward. Get a Masters. It probably won't make a difference in hiring though.
          Judge me by the enemies I have made----Unknown

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          • #7
            Thanks everyone for your input. I graduate in December, so right now I'm looking for work (in law enforcement). I also applied to a masters program (psychology/business/HR related). I still don't know if I'll get accepted into this masters program, but if I do, I might have to take it. Big reason being the highest paying department I can find right now will start me out at about $24-$25/hour, whereas this masters program will offer me a internship in the summer after my first year...at about $34/hour (goes into the following year, will at times lead to a permanent position).

            Gotta do some more research on it. Again, thanks for the input.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by Zeitgeist View Post
              As my colleagues know I repeat myself. I have a co worker that has a BA in THEATER. Where I am, you are paid for your level of education.....HS, AA, BS/BA. My degree is a BS in Medical Lab. Technology. I make the same as those w/ BAs in CJ, Theater, Psych etc. I wouldn't do the online BS. If you want to further your education (admirable IMO) go forward. Get a Masters. It probably won't make a difference in hiring though.
              Although I don't have a BA in theatre, I was a professional actor for a few years before getting a "real" job in LE. I can honestly say that experience has been immensely helpful throughout my years as a cop. So much of what we do is playing a role, especially being a detective. My experience in theater has made it very easy for me to adapt to a person in the interview room and build rapport.

              I'm also pretty good at acting like I know what I'm doing on the street even in the times I'm completely baffled. I strongly believe that half the battle on the streets is convincing people that you know what you're doing even if you're just making it up as you go along.
              \

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