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Confused on what degree I want. Help a college student out!

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  • Confused on what degree I want. Help a college student out!

    I want to be a police officer and hopefully rank up to sergeant or detective if I am good enough (I know detective isn't necessarily a higher rank but you get what I mean)

    Anyways I am stuck on what degree I should get. I want to go to a university and get a bachelors. However many people advised me that I should not get a bachelors in criminal justice, which is what I originally intended on doing. They said not to because it's almost worthless and not needed for law enforcement and that any degree would get me a career in law enforcement. I am sort of confused on what to get. I want a bachelors but not sure in what if its not in criminal justice. I am only interested in law enforcement so I don't wanna be going for like a business degree or something. So what should I go for?

    Anyone in the same scenario as me or have any advice? Any feedback is greatly appreciated. I am such a confused college student and don't know what to do!

  • #2
    If CJ is really what you want to study, then go for it. Good grades are important, and studying something you're not into will make getting good grades more difficult. A CJ degree won't hurt, and may make the academic portions of the academy easier since you'll be covering much of the same stuff again.

    That said, you also need to think about what to do if a LE career doesn't work out for you. Your CJ degree won't be completely worthless, but not as good as something else might be. Getting a degree that's useful in LE as well as in other fields is something to think about.

    Also, CJ is what most people study... so it's hard to differentiate yourself from other applicants. I have a CJ degree with a minor in public admin. That and $2.00 will buy me a cup of coffee... but at least I have the degree. That gets my foot in the door many places. I'm pursuing a master's in emergency management just to be a little different down the road.

    What do you want to do in LE? Be a detective? What are you going to investigate? What skills will be useful in your investigations? There are bachelor's degrees in forensics, psychology and social work. Don't knock it... plenty to be learned there about how the other half lives and thinks.

    Don't knock business either. White collar crimes like fraud, money laundering... the degree is what you make it. Plenty of opportunity to focus your bus admin degree on criminal activity.

    Computer crimes and identity theft are big right now. An IT degree would be useful in those cases.

    What about a foreign language? Every cop everywhere needs some Spanish, and if you work an urban jurisdictions some knowledge of Russian, Farsi, Arabic or whatever could come in handy.

    Hard science degrees aren't bad if that's your thing. Chemistry, physics etc can lead to various things down the road.

    Philosophy teaches you how to think logically and analyze critically.

    Don't forget that most under grads change their major at least once. The whole point of General Ed in college is to expose you to fields you never thought about. If you want to major in CJ, fine. Minor in one of the above... or major in something else and minor in CJ.

    ...and if you take a class for Gen Ed in underwater basket weaving and decide you like that, don't be afraid to chance your major. HAVING the degree with a good GPA is most important. The subject matter rarely is... sometimes, but rarely.
    Last edited by tanksoldier; 05-14-2014, 05:18 PM.
    "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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    • #3
      Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post
      If CJ is really what you want to study, then go for it. Good grades are important, and studying something you're not into will make getting good grades more difficult. A CJ degree won't hurt, and may make the academic portions of the academy easier since you'll be covering much of the same stuff again.
      Yes.


      What do you want to do in LE? Be a detective? What are you going to investigate? What skills will be useful in your investigations? There are bachelor's degrees in forensics, psychology and social work. Don't knock it... plenty to be learned there about how the other half lives and thinks.

      Don't knock business either. White collar crimes like fraud, money laundering... the degree is what you make it. Plenty of opportunity to focus your bus admin degree on criminal activity.

      Computer crimes and identity theft are big right now. An IT degree would be useful in those cases.
      Double yes.

      What about a foreign language? Every cop everywhere needs some Spanish, and if you work an urban jurisdictions some knowledge of Russian, Farsi, Arabic or whatever could come in handy.
      This is the best advice of all. Spanish, Spanish, Spanish. Also, look at where you want to work i.e. if you want to work in San Francisco Chinese might be a great language to study, especially if you ever want to be a detective there.

      ........... HAVING the degree with a good GPA is most important. The subject matter rarely is... sometimes, but rarely.
      Bingo. Good luck.
      Harry S. Truman, (1884-1972)
      “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.”

      Capt. E.J. Land USMC,
      “Just remember – life is hard. But it’s one hell of a lot harder if you’re stupid.

      George Washington, (1732-1799)
      "I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."

      Originally posted by Country_Jim
      ... Thus far, I am rooting for the zombies.

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      • #4
        I don't know I am just so confused. Maybe forensics, psychology and social work.

        But what other kind of jobs can I get with those degrees if LE doesnt work out?

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        • #5
          Decision making a critical skill in life and very much a requirement for police work. None of us are you. Go get a CJ degree. It's your time not ours.

          I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a student getting a Criminal Justice Degree. The attitude I got from people when I told them what I was majoring in was awesome! Lots of negativity! A few confused looks and some "yea, I want to be cop too cuz that would be cool to **** with people all day but I am not that big of a dick" kinda responses.

          It's your choice. You have to live with it. If you major in something else, you can pretty much say goodbye to some obscure State level Detective position that has "the badge, the gun, the sorta authority for like 6.3 hours of the day if the Agency director authorizes it" spot. Oh, you said you wanted to be a detective...

          Good luck!
          semper destravit

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          • #6
            Read this about 60 times; tanksoldier makes many excellent points. No matter what you choose, or what degree you end up with, make sure to learn a foreign language.

            If cost isn't a problem, you might consider adding a completely different class each term, chosen either randomly via dart throwing, or what's furthest from where you'd expect to see yourself. Even if those specific classes aren't what light you up, they could lead to something that does more than you ever expected.
            "Snort-laughter is the best medicine"
            ----- Mussel Bound


            Don't forget to laugh today. The more implausible it seems, the more you need to.

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            • #7
              Africana Studies.


              "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.

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