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  • A.D.C.J. Or B.A.?

    Is a A.D.C.J. (associates degree in criminal justice) good for a career in law enforcement as a police officer or is a b.a. in criminal justice more preferred by recruiters. Do opportunities in law enforcement become limited with a associates degree? What degree in criminal justice is most comman among police officers?

  • #2
    MOST officers on this forum will tell you to get ANY degree EXCEPT a Criminal Justice degree.

    Get a degree in some field that you enjoy..........
    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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    • #3
      Iowa is right on the money. There is an academy because you don't need prior training or knowledge. Get a degree for a field in which you would be happy working if you LE plans do not pan out.

      Comment


      • #4
        Basically criminal justice degrees don't give you more points over someone with any other degree. It may help you in some areas of the academy e.g. comprhending the laws, general understanding of the how and why, taking and passing tests etc and in other areas of your career. This also depends on what they teach at your college or university.

        AA or AS v BA or BS degrees. .. IMO the Bachelors is better. However I wouldn't suggest using a lot of student loans to get a degree just to be a cop.

        With some exceptions a BA degree isn't required for new police recruits. But it could help later in the carreer with advancement to senior leadership positions and or special assignments.

        So I would suggest majoring in something that interests you and will help your future job prospects no matter what path you take.




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        • #5
          Granted, each job has minimum educational requirements, but beyond that I have to disagree as to the importance and value of a degree in the hiring process.

          I spent seven years in charge of hiring. I oversaw staff who sat on orals and sat on many oral boards myself. Never once did any of us say, “This applicant has a college degree. We must give him preference in hiring over non-college degree applicants.”

          Instead, our decision to hire was based on the applicant’s demonstrated ability to perform the duties of the job they were seeking. This was decided through written exam results, oral board scores and in some cases, scenario testing. Having a college education may have assisted applicants in providing more correct test answers, or in formulating better responses to oral board questions, or addressing scenarios, but the mere fact that someone had or lacked a college diploma was never a factor in the ultimate hiring decision.

          Similarly, college (or lack of it) never factored into the background. The purpose of the background investigation is to verify your identity, confirm that you possess the minimum qualifications for the job and determine if there is anything in your personal history that meets the criteria for DQ. There are no points and it is not scored. It is pass/fail. Unless possession of a college degree is one of the minimum requirements of the job, having or lacking a degree plays no part in the background.

          As a side note, some of the biggest idiots I ever worked with had college degrees, while some of the sharpest guys only had GEDs.

          In most departments, any degree bumps your pay, even if it's in Art..

          More food for thought.

          1. Many discover police work is not for them and leave the profession. If that happens, a Criminal Justice degree is worthless when it comes to getting a job in the private sector.

          2. Because of the unusually high injury and stress rate, many cops wind up going out early on a disability retirement. The money is good for a while but inflation catches up and you will need to get a second job. Again, a CJ degree will be worthless when it comes to getting a job in the private sector.

          3. If you do make a lifelong career in law enforcement, you no doubt want to go up the ladder. When you do, you will be dealing with issues like labor relations, budgeting, marketing, public relations, communications, completed staff work, statistics, personnel management, research, grant writing, community outreach, accounting, logistics, fleet management, audits, and equipment acquisition just to name a few. When this happens, you will be kicking yourself in the head because you got a CJ degree instead of one in Business or Public Administration.

          Consider going for a degree in Business. While you will take classes in core business subjects, you will have plenty of free electives you can use to take almost as many classes in criminal justice as your core subjects. Your degree will be in business but you will get a CJ education at the same time that will hopefully give you enough information to help you score higher on civil service exams for law enforcement jobs. Should things later go south (dissatisfaction with a law enforcement career, disability retirement, etc.) having a degree in business will open many doors to getting a meaningful job that pays well with a private company.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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          • westside popo
            westside popo commented
            Editing a comment
            FYI I have a CJ degree. I took classes on statistics (a requirement) and had to do a plethora of research and reports. Classes also covered public relations, leadership and management.
            Of course every school is different...

        • #6
          Criminal Justice degree is worthless when it comes to getting a job in the private sector.

          This is a topic which has been kicked around a few times on this forum, with valid points on both sides of the issue.

          But to say a CJ degree is worthless outside of public agency employment? I would have to dissent.

          I know many people with CJ degrees who either did not pursue LE, or LE did not work for them but their degrees were still useful in gaining employment.

          Some of the jobs they ended up in include:

          Safety engineering

          Loss Prevention

          Private investigations

          Brand protection

          Pre-sentencing investigations

          Lawyer

          Technical writer

          Juvenile probation


          Now don't get me wrong- it's not the greatest degree when it comes to getting a high paying job. But not everyone has the aptitude for mechanical engineering or bio-medical science and not everyone is cut out for a M-F, 9-5 office gig. So if a CJ degree can provided some basics like analytical and reasoning skills or writing skills and educate about important societal issues related to crime, law, and communities, then IMO it's better than the degrees some of my friends got in Marketing... or Communications.... or Sports Leadership.... or 19th Century Spanish Women Non-fiction authors (seriously!).







          Instinct is something which transcends knowledge.

          -Nikola Tesla

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by L-1 View Post

            1. Many discover police work is not for them and leave the profession. If that happens, a Criminal Justice degree is worthless when it comes to getting a job in the private sector.

            .
            That is just not true.

            A CJ degree in the private sector is looked at just like it is in the Law Enforcement sector.................a degree is a degree. There are many jobs out there (more in the private sector than in the public sector) that require a "degree". While , yes, it is more likely to for a private sector job to require a certain type of degree............there are also many that just require the box to be checked that you have a degree

            I personally know scores of CJ graduates who have found gainful employment using their CJ degree to CHECK OFF that box that asks for a BA/AA degree
            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

            Comment


            • #8
              I would bet that less than 10% of my graduating CJ students will end up working in the field.... but most CJ degrees are really just liberal arts/social science degrees with a handful of specialized courses thrown in. They take math, science, history, literature, sociology, psychology, economics, etc... just the same as all of the other liberal arts/social science/humanities students. I don't know many people that end up employed in careers that they really "prepared" for in college. Business students, film/tv, psychology, geography, philosophy, art history.... very often end up taking different career paths. I don't think it's until grad school or some of the very job-specific curriculums like accounting or cybersecurity or the health fields that your degree is more directly linked to your work. Most students are best to enroll in a curriculum that interests them... that they can succeed in ... they will stick with it and are more likely to graduate, which is the ultimate goal... getting that piece of paper. CJ degrees are no more worthless than the other 90% of college degrees out there, even if you don't go into the field.

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              • #9
                Don't settle on just an associates, no matter what you major in. Get at least a BA. It really isn't hard to obtain

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                • #10
                  My advice would be to obtain the minimum credits required to get hired on and later continue your education if you desire it or if required for promotion.

                  I don't know how common it is but some agencies will pay for you to continue your education once hired. I was hired on with just an A.A. (pre-law option with some CJ electives). My agency paid 80% of tuition for me to obtain my B.S. in Criminal Justice (requirement to be promoted to Sgt.) and 100% for my Masters of Public Administration (requirement to be promoted to Lt.). That's a good thing considering how much I'll be shelling out to put my daughter and son through college.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by not.in.MY.town View Post
                    My advice would be to obtain the minimum credits required to get hired on and later continue your education if you desire it or if required for promotion.

                    I don't know how common it is but some agencies will pay for you to continue your education once hired. I was hired on with just an A.A. (pre-law option with some CJ electives). My agency paid 80% of tuition for me to obtain my B.S. in Criminal Justice (requirement to be promoted to Sgt.) and 100% for my Masters of Public Administration (requirement to be promoted to Lt.). That's a good thing considering how much I'll be shelling out to put my daughter and son through college.
                    I went to school on the GI Bill but I like his thinking. Don't go into major debt for loans if you can help it. I have too many friends in their mid 30s that are still paying on their student loans.
                    My brother has a BA in CJ and works in insurance litigation. Not a worthless degree but choose something that you enjoy, can maintain a decent GPA in and keep grad school as an option.
                    Judge me by the enemies I have made----Unknown

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                    • #12
                      As somebody who has a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, I wish I would've known this 7 years ago... Don't get a degree in criminal justice. No doubt in 2017 most departments like to see an Associate's at the bare minimum, but the don't really care what it's in. It's more about showing you're not a complete idiot and are teachable.

                      So to put it simply, you're spending 4 years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars for a degree that's only good in an exclusive field. If you have difficulty getting hired, decide you don't like the job, get severely injured, or happen to get fired, that time and money spent is absolutely wasted.

                      Comment

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