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Is a college degree really necessary ?

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  • Is a college degree really necessary ?

    Hey guys , I'm starting the application process for several LE departments. All of the ones in my area say, the minimum requirements is a high school diploma, or a GED. Now I know departments don't hire people who only meet
    Minimum requirements. I never went to college because I went to a tech school for high school, and got a trade and started working directly after I graduated. My question is with my work experience I graduated in 2006, how much will not having degree hurt me in getting hired ? IDE like the idea of getting a degree but with just buying a house and trying to start a family and the cost of college now a days if it's not a must I might not do it. I'm hoping my good test scores, my steady job history, and my CPR and EMT training will hopefully make people forget I don't have a BA, what do you guys think ?

  • #2
    Originally posted by B16bri View Post
    Hey guys , I'm starting the application process for several LE departments. All of the ones in my area say, the minimum requirements is a high school diploma, or a GED. Now I know departments don't hire people who only meet
    Minimum requirements. I never went to college because I went to a tech school for high school, and got a trade and started working directly after I graduated. My question is with my work experience I graduated in 2006, how much will not having degree hurt me in getting hired ? IDE like the idea of getting a degree but with just buying a house and trying to start a family and the cost of college now a days if it's not a must I might not do it. I'm hoping my good test scores, my steady job history, and my CPR and EMT training will hopefully make people forget I don't have a BA, what do you guys think ?
    If the minimum requirement as listed on the application announcement is for a High School diploma or a GED---------------Then THAT IS THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENT. This is not rocket science here.................

    BUT-----------as YOU STATED , most agencies do NOT hire at the minimum requirement level.----Once again THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.


    If you want to start the process with one leg tied to the bed post, by all means apply for the position with out the college degree and see where you end up.

    The ball is entirely in your court--------------------You already know what the majority of us believe is necessary.
    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

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    • #3
      I don't want to burst your bubble, but.........

      What you are reading pertains to minimum qualifications necessary for admission to the testing/hiring process.

      I was involved in hiring for many years and yes, departments do hire people who only possess the minimum qualifications.

      Your have to understand how selection takes place. Most agencies administer written and oral exams that measure your ability to actually perform the duties of the job you are seeking. The more correct answers you give on the written exam, the higher your score.

      The oral usually scores you on things like:

      • Experience – assesses your ability and experience in accepting responsibilities and performing assigned tasks as demonstrated through achievements in work, school, and other activities.

      • Problem Solving – assesses your reasoning skills in developing timely, logical responses to a wide variety of situations and problems.

      • Communication Skills – assesses your oral communications skills, which includes speaking, listening, and non-verbal communication.

      • Interest/Motivation – addresses your interest in and preparedness for the peace officer job. It includes an assessment of your general level of interest, initiative, and goal orientation.

      • Interpersonal Skills – assesses many facets, such as social knowledge/appropriateness, social insight, empathy, social influence, social self-regulation, sociability, team orientation, social self-confidence, conflict management skills, and negotiating skills.

      • Community Involvement/Awareness – focuses specifically on your experiences and interest in community issues, as well as your interest in and ability to fill multiple roles and serve a diverse community.

      Having good college test scores, CRP and EMT training or a degree is not going to get you a higher written score and it may only may raise your oral score by a fraction a point (although if hired, the degree may get you education enhancement pay of a few percent).

      Applicants are then hired in the order of their score (highest first, next highest second, etc.) No one gets hires solely because they have a degree, or speak a second language, or have a background is a certain area. It all depends on your total score, which is based on your written and oral exams.

      FWIW I have worked with people who held degrees and who were idiots with no business being in this profession. I have also worked with folks who only had GEDs who were brilliant. Having a degree is not the golden ticket to a job in this profession.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        I got hired TWICE with only a HS Diploma and "some College" (3 years, never graduated from Community College)...

        But I echo what L1 said.

        I had a LOT of community service under my belt (Civil Air Patrol, Explorers, Scouts) as well as stable credit, stable job history, experience, and little to no traffic infractions. I tested and interviewed well, even without a degree. My agency hired 2 out of 15. I wasn't the first, but I was the second, and I did get hired.

        FYI, I was 20 the first time I got hired, and 23 or 24 the second time. I am now in my early 30s.
        Last edited by jchughes05; 09-07-2014, 05:56 PM.
        The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

        I Am the Sheepdog.


        "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
        that we are all that stands between
        the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


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        • #5
          There are plenty of agencies here in Georgia that do not require a college degree. The minimum requirements for the State of Georgia include being at least eighteen years old, high school diploma or GED, successful physical, and no felony convictions or convictions for moral turpitude.

          However, with that being said, I think it is pretty clear that police work is changing. Fifty years ago in Georgia, there wasn't necessarily a police academy. Your agency could give you a badge and gun and put you on the street. Even after the police academy started, you could work a year as an officer before you went. When you did go, it was a minimal amount of training. I believe about four weeks long.

          Today, the police academy in Georgia is mandatory before you work on the road. The regional academies are a minimum of eleven to twelve weeks long. Several agencies have academies that are twenty-six weeks or longer. Georgia has several specialized career certifications including intermediate, advanced, supervisory, management, criminal investigations, accident investigations, and many others.

          Why did I bother to ramble on about this? Policing has become a licensed career profession over the last few decades. Georgia has now partnered with local technical colleges to offer both police certification and college credit at the same time. Promotional opportunities, particularly at the management level (Lieutenant and above), now are requiring college degrees. Some even require graduate degrees. I can even show you some agencies that require a minimum amount of college and/or an associate's degree.

          L-1 was right on the money with all the necessary skills he listed for an interview. A college degree will enhance those skills and make you a more desirable candidate for most agencies. I'm not saying you have to go to college to be a good cop. You don't. L-1 is absolutely right that college is not the "end all be all" for a good officer. However, for a good well-rounded candidate, it certainly improves those skills.

          With all of the job-seekers on the market right now, agencies can afford to be more selective. I think in the next twenty-five years, more agencies will likely be looking for college than not. I also think that most promotional opportunities will require that degree sooner than later.
          Last edited by AtlCop; 09-07-2014, 06:19 PM.
          Sign here. Press hard. You are making five copies.

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          • #6
            My question is with my work experience I graduated in 2006, how much will not having degree hurt me in getting hired
            It depends on what your competitors have, and how much value the agency puts on college.

            It's certainly possible to get hired without one... but at most agencies I'm willing to bet a large portion of your competitors will have military experience, college credits if not a full degree and possibly extra points for veteran status or minor disabilities.

            What do you have that sets you apart from them, and how do you sell it? That's what will make the difference.
            "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

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