Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Degrees and Promotions

Collapse

300x250 Mobile

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Degrees and Promotions

    Hello all,

    I am going to college right now for an associates. I have been in contact with several officers in my city's department, which seems to be perpetually understaffed. Recently a Lieutenant contacted me via email (which was forwarded to him by other officers), and encouraged me to apply now, even though I have specifically stated that I am in school, and that I won't be graduating for another year.
    My questions are:

    Should I apply now for their July academy, or should I wait until I finish school?

    How much opportunity and career growth is there for people who have little or no college?

    Thank you, and have a good night.

  • #2
    I made it to a rather high rank with just a GED and college courses I picked up here and there throughout my career. I'm still about 20 units short of my bachelors.

    An all candor (and it's just my opinion) but the emphasis on college in law enforcement is a bit of a joke. One one hand, getting a degree demonstrates you have the maturity, discipline and perserverance to stick things out through a multi-year program. But the reality is, most agencies will accept and give you credit and enhanced pay for a degree in anything, even those disciplines that have absolutely no relationship to law enforcement, government or business.

    I have worked with people who only had GEDs and did the job far better that Mensa folks with multiple degrees.

    With that said, having a degree will make you look a bit prettier to an oral board and perhaps score you an extra point or two, but how you do overall on the civil service exam is what really counts. You need to be able to demonstrate your ability to actually perform the duties of the position you are seeking.

    Lastly, just because you go into the academy doesn't mean you abandon education. You can continue going part time once you get out of the academy and there are grant programs that will forgive student loans for police officers who stay on the job a certain number of years.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • #3
      What L-1 said is quite correct.

      Realize that this is a very location and agency-specific question. Some department absolutely LOVE people with college degrees, others only consider degrees as a check in a box, and even others don't care one way or another. Some departments have educational incentives (increased pay, etc), and some have programs that will pay for part of your continuing education after you're hired...you'll have to do your homework regarding different departments on this.

      I have yet to see a college degree have a real effect on the competency of an officer...what LEO's do on a daily basis can rarely be taught in a classroom. I have worked with many officers who have minimal formal education who are spectacular at the job, while I have worked with over-educated idiots who can barely complete the basic paperwork on low-level calls. Sometimes, departments do require certain education levels for higher promotion (usually administrative/command staff levels).
      "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
      -Friedrich Nietzsche

      Comment


      • #4
        I guess I was disillusioned with education about 30 years ago when an event occurred in my agency that necessitated my rapidly acquiring 30 units of college to obtain certain managerial POST certifications. Once a week for 10 weeks I drove to a particular college 50 miles away to take hours long College Level Equivalency Program (CLEP) tests that grant college credit if you could demonstrate you possessed knowledge equivalent to someone who satisactorally passed a college class in a given subject. I shotgunned tests in 60 units hoping I would pass 30. Much to my amazement, I passed 57 units, having quietly absorbed knowledge as I grew through life. My long time girlfriend was VP of a marketing firm and what I absorbed from her over the years let me ace the two marketing classes. Similarly, her college degree was in Art and from listening to her, I was amazed at my ability to pass the art classes. I could even identify china patterns, which surprizingly was part of the Art exam. Even having read the National Lampoon of all things provided me with enough of an education to answer questions on matters ranging from Shakespeare to funerals.

        My whole point is, if that's all it takes to possess the "equivalent" of a college level education, and seeing that Government gives the same weight to a degree in Basket Weaving as it does to one in Business, I suspect we are doomed as a society.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by L-1 View Post
          My whole point is, if that's all it takes to possess the "equivalent" of a college level education, and seeing that Government gives the same weight to a degree in Basket Weaving as it does to one in Business, I suspect we are doomed as a society.
          I've long believed that we should be concentrating on vocational schooling instead of the almighty college degree in this country. Watching my wife work her way through degree programs in the medical field and seeing some of the absolutely pointless, obviously money-grab, required classes that she has to take tells me exactly how useful college degrees are in general.

          Are there vocations that should require advanced degrees? Absolutely. I want my surgeons and physicists and engineers being super-educated so people don't die during operations, nuclear reactors don't explode, and various bridges and buildings don't collapse (but don't include those stupid, pointless "filler" classes in their degrees). However, most professions don't require advanced education and could benefit hugely from simple vocational training. Europe has found great success in their education system doing just that.

          But, I digress...
          "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
          -Friedrich Nietzsche

          Comment


          • #6
            L-1 Bing_Oh Thank you guys both for your responses. You're a big help.

            Comment


            • #7
              I went for the full Monty going in right after high school. I quickly chose my LE profession by taking some LE classes and being offered an LE job while at college. I had a blast with the officers and the work and decided it would fit perfectly into my personality and upbringing. I was also commissioned an MP lieutenant upon graduating through ARMY ROTC. My degree was Law Enforcement not criminal justice. We actually were instructed and trained in patrol tactics, Emergency equipment operations, fingerprinting and classification, crime scene investigations, as well as all the state laws, government, and rules of evidence.

              Having an LE degree got me absolutely nothing as far as extra money or advancement in any department I worked for. Granted, some were small departments but when I did get into a larger department the good ol boys club that was already established screwed me several times. One was the sheriff's son who was just hired who beat me for sergeant even though I made the highest score on the exam and after I trained him. I stuck it out for over twenty years and he quit about a year after I left.

              After 20 years I was making $8.20 an hour. Most of this was due to the city changing their minds about raises every year then implementing a merit based pay increase system. When it comes down from on high thall shalt not hand out pay increases to anyone in the department you have to make the evaluations fit. Everyone got mediocre evals.

              Having two kids and a wife I decided to hang it up and get a paying job. I was working as a field technician the next week making double what my LE pay was. I have always missed the excitement and adrenaline rushes and the comradery but those are feelings and don't pay the bills. With the college education and all the continuing education I have I posses about 210 hours total. It was a fun ride but responsibility to my family was the deciding factor.
              Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."

              Comment


              • Josh Perez
                Josh Perez commented
                Editing a comment
                OneAdam12 Thank you for your advice. I admire your ability to think objectively about providing for your family. We need more people like that in the world.

            • #8
              Some states require it, some don't. Some PDs require it, some don't. If you get hired, a CC degree is something that you should be able to finish on-line. I do encourage you to finish the degree but, if you are getting the degree in order to get a job, and someone is offering you a job without the degree...

              Comment


              • #9
                I didn't graduate from high school, and I did just fine.

                College has turned into something different over the years- the prices have increased at a disproportionate rate, leaving many college attendees with massive debt that some will never be able to pay off.

                Colleges also, now more than ever, have turned into indoctrination facilities instead of education facilities. In the intellectual vacuum of upper academia, there are a lot of wacky ideas that are pushed, on students that have no life experience in the real world.

                If you want to be a cop, just go be a cop...

                Comment


                • #10
                  Here in Colorado a police academy pretty much gives you enough credit for an AA degree by itself.

                  if they want you to apply, do so then figure out how to finish your degree later.

                  Education is never wasted, but it isn’t always required either
                  "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

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    The world is full of people with Masters degrees, drowning in college debt, working for minimum wage stocking shelves in supermarkets on the graveyard shift...

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Aidokea View Post
                      The world is full of people with Masters degrees, drowning in college debt, working for minimum wage stocking shelves in supermarkets on the graveyard shift...
                      There are some like that, but fewer than the uneducated imagine to make themselves feel better. There are far more high school dropouts stocking those shelves.

                      Statistically, higher education correlates with higher income, despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary.
                      "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

                      Comment


                      • Winter_Patriot
                        Winter_Patriot commented
                        Editing a comment
                        At a certain point, education can actually set you back. My law degree made it difficult to find an LE job. Most agencies thought I was a flight risk, and I always had to explain why I wanted to work there. It seems like for most of these jobs, experience is valued more than education. I think it's better to have both if you can though.

                    • #13
                      I say get yer motor runnin' and head out on that highway to start your adventure! A lot of officers continue their education while on the job, and some departments require certain degrees to even apply, let alone for advancement. If so, get your foot in the door, see what your department requires and go forth accordingly. You want to start that pension clock as early as possible!

                      Comment


                      • Josh Perez
                        Josh Perez commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Amen brother!

                      • Winter_Patriot
                        Winter_Patriot commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I would start with the agency and work on your education part-time. That's going to be stressful but will maximize your employability if you decide to go to an agency that does prefer the degree.

                    • #14
                      All of the above responses are great advice and I agree. If you are being offered a job, take it. View it as a compliment too, especially coming from the Lt., who most likely will be involved, in some shape or form, with your hiring process/decision.

                      However, you should totally continue to pursue your degree. As some suggested above, going through the academy will almost completely get you all the college credits required for an Associates Degree. After I finished my academy, I had 40 credits awarded to me in criminal justice. As you may know, an Associates requires 60 credits. So you'd only need 20 more. You could knock that out in two semesters at a traditional college. Or knock it out in less than a semester at an online college, especially if you take advantage of CLEP tests that L1 was talking about.

                      My suggestion would be, for you to obtain at the minimum, a Bachelor's Degree. Currently, in California, there is all this talk about "Police Reform." Part of some of those "reform" ideas is the requiring of all police officers to have a degree of some sort, as a minimum hiring standard. Right now, that reform idea is just banter, but don't think that banter will just go away. It is being pushed hard and eventually my prediction is, it will be a requirement. For more info on that proposal, read the link below.

                      California Police Groups Back Requiring College Classes For Recruits As Lawmakers Seek Reforms – CBS San Francisco (cbslocal.com)

                      I used to work for a department that only continued applicants through the hiring stage with one or all of the following standards:

                      1. Prior Military
                      2. Bachelor's Degree or Higher
                      3. Spoke Fluent Spanish
                      4. Lateral (meaning an already experienced officer coming from a different department)

                      Basically, if your application did not check off at least ONE of those standards, you would not even get to the interview stage.

                      And I have a feeling, this will start becoming the norm more and more.

                      No degree is going to prepare you for this job. Only hands on experience will. But I must say, out of all the years of education that I pursued, the very best classes that I took to prepare me for this career was my English Composition classes. A small percentage of this job consists of what you see on TV, the "running and gunning" part. The vast majority is writing. You must have at least a basic grasp on the English language, grammar, reading composition and so on. Don't think for one minute that the defense attorneys, district attorneys, judges and so on aren't sitting back at the court house snickering and giggling at your grammatical errors, because they are. A well written report speaks volumes to these highly educated individuals. To them, they will see a competent officer. The defense will be nervous, the DA will feel confident and you will not be summoned to court to testify as often.

                      In a 15 minute period, for example, you could conduct an awesome arrest that involved a vehicle pursuit, that led to a foot pursuit, to proning out a bad guy at gun point. However, writing about that 15 minutes is not as easy, it may take a good two to four hours. So think about that when deciding what classes to take for your core credits. If not offered in your core credits, take it as an elective. That class will be the most beneficial.

                      Anyway, just my two cents. Good luck.

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        Originally posted by Josh Perez View Post
                        Hello all,

                        I am going to college right now for an associates. I have been in contact with several officers in my city's department, which seems to be perpetually understaffed. Recently a Lieutenant contacted me via email (which was forwarded to him by other officers), and encouraged me to apply now, even though I have specifically stated that I am in school, and that I won't be graduating for another year.
                        My questions are:

                        Should I apply now for their July academy, or should I wait until I finish school?

                        How much opportunity and career growth is there for people who have little or no college?

                        Thank you, and have a good night.
                        My advice would be to obtain the minimum credits required to get hired on, and then continue your education if desired or if required for promotion.

                        Many agencies do offer "educational incentives", typically a certain percentage added on to the base salary for each level of higher education achieved. Some agencies also offer tuition reimbursement.

                        I was hired on with just an A.A. My agency paid 80% of tuition for me to obtain my B.S. (requirement to be promoted to Sgt.) and 100% for my Masters of Public Administration (requirement to be promoted to Lt.). I don't think any of the education made me a better cop...but it did make me a better-paid one.

                        Comment

                        MR300x250 Tablet

                        Collapse

                        What's Going On

                        Collapse

                        There are currently 2749 users online. 152 members and 2597 guests.

                        Most users ever online was 158,966 at 04:57 AM on 01-16-2021.

                        Welcome Ad

                        Collapse
                        Working...
                        X