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  • Bachelors in Criminal Justice Not Enough?

    I graduated from the University of Cincinnati in June 2009 with Bachelors in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. My question, rather my disappointment is that, why does a Bachelors pull no weight in the hiring process? It is so frustrating when departments will require some type of experience in order to be considered in moving along further in the process of becoming a police officer, especially because I playe football and ran track at Cincinnati, there was no time for a job. I have applied with countless departments in multiple states and the feeling is the same with every department big or small, if they are putting 60recruits or 5recruits through an academy it seems experience is a must. So my question is how do I get that necessary experience? After 4 years of college, what else could I have done? Take a security job that pays 8 dollars an hour even though I have Bachelors in CJ? Take a loss prevention job that pays minimum wage? Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated, I respect the work you fine men and women do, and want nothing more than to serve by your side one day. Thanks for your time and thoughts.
    Last edited by UCBearcat24; 01-11-2010, 10:49 AM. Reason: editing

  • #2
    Well, if you were in Kansas you would be in luck several departments look for college grad's with no time on the force. Thats what caused me a problem, just give it time and if you find a job outside of law enforcement that you like better and pays more than take it!!! This ain't the same job it was back 10, 20 even 30 years ago.
    I trust my life with J. M. Browning's design, the 1911.

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    • #3
      Military as an MP. You have just hit the wrong places. Don't give up. This economy allows departments to be very picky. You are going against people who are already LEO's. Keep applying and you will find a job. If you haven't put in more than 5 apps at different departments then you haven't tried everywhere.

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      • #4
        My oldest Son, gradu from the same University with the same major and has never spent a day in Law Enforcement so don't think you aren't hireable somewhere doing something.

        My suggestion is to FREQUENT every site by STATE on this forum. There is a MULTITUDE of information of departements hiring throughout the USA.
        Federal, State, County, City and everything in between.

        Without me doing the looking for a specific job, from looking around I have seen that Pennsy, Maryland, Florida, various New England states have been accepting applications and from time to time taking people into their Acadamies. NJSP has just opened application taking after 2 years of being closed, so that is another. Alaska SP another. NYPD is the largest PD in the US and constantly allows people to walk in for a written test that puts you onto a list that does move, slowly now, but maybe faster in 6 months or so.
        Local dept like Baltimore City, Baltimore county, DC Metro, Houston, Dallas put ads in publications so they must have some movement/hiring going on.
        Federal jobs are out there as well, but you have to search the USAjobs sites and be willing to move.

        As far as security, it DOES give you job experience and pays some bills.
        Loss prevention another place to get resume add ons.

        5 ? how about 25 or more !

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        • #5
          First of all, I don't wish to belittle your degree, or the effort you put forth to obtain it. That said, what you're experiencing, is simple evidence that merely having the degree doesn't open too many doors for you. Many, many agencies require no previous experience. Often, these are Civil Service agencies at all levels of government. As a rule, Civil Service hiring procedures are very structured,even rigid, and will require passing a written exam. While 70% is often a "passing grade", to be a viable candidate, a score in the mid to high nineties is required . If you're successful in a Civil Service hiring process, it's possible your degree could resuilt in your being hired at a somewhat higher pay rate than a candidate without a degree. This varies from agency to agency. I second the suggestion of the previous poster, who recommends you do some research. Officer.com can be of considerable help to you in this effort. You'll find many agencies which require no previous experience. Good luck in your efforts.

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          • #6
            where did you work before/during college?
            "I am Death, and I hereby declare you to be living impaired!"

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            • #7
              A degree is just one piece of the puzzle. I had a degree and no experience at one point too. I did the unthinkable in order to gain experience. I worked for free. I volunteered as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff. I gained a lot of experience in the 1.5 years. I also did another thing that I am sure will benefit me, I started my law enforcement career in corrections. Many recruiters do look positively at candidates who are correctional officers and have that kind of experience. Also experience isn't a requirement, and your degree will open a lot of doors in terms of promotions in corrections if you choose to stay.
              What is Perseverance?
              -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
              -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
              -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


              BOP - BPA - ICE

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mikeymedic View Post
                Military as an MP.
                Thats not really an option any more as MPs aren't (for the most part) doing LE work any more..... Most are deploying to the ME and doing their Combat Support mission....

                If one goes military....one should go because they want to go....and not just a resume builder.....as one WILL get deployed to the ME and WILL get shot at....

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                • #9
                  A degree can be meaningless because education alone often has no bearing on an applicant's actual ability to perform the job. That's why most civil service hiring is based on test scores, with those test being designed to measure an applicant's actual job performance ability.

                  FWIW, I used to work with an officer who had umpteen degrees and was even a member of MENSA. He was one of the most educated police officers I ever met, but he had no common sense and every incident he handled turned to crap. He eventually saw the light and took a voluntary job transfer. He stayed within civil service but gave up being a police officer to become a building manager.

                  Education standards will vary from agency to agency. Most merely require a high school diploma or GED. A few require 60 units or an AA/AS, Even fewer require 120 units or a BA/BS. More often than not, higher education standards come into play when there is an overabundance of applicants and are used to cut the pool down. They are removed when the applicant pool diminishes or it is believed they unfairly discriminate against applicants from underrepresented classes.
                  Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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                  • #10
                    Depends on where you're applying. In Minnesota, a bachelor's degree is pretty much a requirement now. It used to be that the 2 year degree was good enough, but departments around here would rather you had a 4 year degree. Some even require the 4 year degree now. In this economy, I have found that even with my 4 year, I still had a better chance by continuing my education because I didn't have much LE experience when I was looking for a job. I recently just got hired and before I got hired I enrolled in graduate school to get my master's in public safety management. It was highly looked upon in my interview when I told them I was in graduate school. On a side note, we're not even looked at for a job unless we have finished the academy here which we call skills. You can't get hired without passing a skills component. So if we weren't meant to be cops, most agencies would hope that skills weeded out those not meant to be in law enforcement. I think your degree is worth something, just keep trying and make sure you stay fit for the job.
                    The opinions given in my signatures & threads DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "scbr0512" on Officer.com.

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                    • #11
                      "If one goes military....one should go because they want to go....and not just a resume builder.....as one WILL get deployed to the ME and WILL get shot at"

                      Uh No.....Many many people go into the military for expierence and get out after 4 years. They then go onto school or their choosen field. I know people in the Navy , Coast Guard, Air Force and they haven't gone nor expect to go to ME. Go in teh Army or Marines and expect to go asap.

                      More proof a CJ degree isn't worth much yet some department's lov'em.
                      Last edited by MTAM; 01-11-2010, 08:07 AM. Reason: Why do I need to specify why I edit my post?

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                      • #12
                        In some departments a degree is required. In some states two years of college is required. Experience plus a degree is the best. Don't take a BS security or LP job because you think it is gonna help you--it's not. If you can get a well paying job in one of those fields, go ahead and take it. You need to get some solid work experience, so use that degree and get a job as a manager trainee at a company that requires management to have a degree. No one is going to hand you a job in a tight market just because you finished college. There are a lot of experienced and educated officers out of work right now. Find a village, small city or sheriff's office that needs dollar a year people and apply there.
                        Last edited by just joe; 01-11-2010, 09:47 AM.

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                        • #13
                          There are several departments in NC looking to hire right now with no experience in LE. I have my bachelors in Criminal Justice and it is helping me get a job with a Police Department. I guess it varies by state?
                          "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9 KJV

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MTAM View Post
                            "If one goes military....one should go because they want to go....and not just a resume builder.....as one WILL get deployed to the ME and WILL get shot at"

                            Uh No.....Many many people go into the military for expierence and get out after 4 years. They then go onto school or their choosen field. I know people in the Navy , Coast Guard, Air Force and they haven't gone nor expect to go to ME. Go in teh Army or Marines and expect to go asap.

                            More proof a CJ degree isn't worth much yet some department's lov'em.
                            I knew someone couldn't resist making a comment like that about CJ degrees.

                            Use your academic career as your job for the past 4+ years. Think about it! Your job was to conduct research and turn in detailed written reports. To successfuly complete those reports you had to follow written and verbal instructions, comprehend and write the English language. You most likely had some experience debating issues and trying to convince others your perspective is the right perspective etc etc.
                            How could that benefit a potential LE agency.

                            Like TheKansan stated think about a job in corrections for a while until another LE job comes available. Florida Department of Corrections, for example, will send you to the corrections academy (with pay) and in some cases will pay for the LE cross over coarse once you been there a while. How ever the LE cross over course will be on your free time. You can also get vested in the state retirement system which will carry over to most local LE jobs in FL. Most of the FL local agencies I've spoke to, in the past, required you to be certified before applying with their agency.
                            Georgia is different in that most agencies will send you to the academy.
                            Last edited by westside popo; 01-16-2010, 07:19 PM.

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