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Degree Advice


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  • Degree Advice

    So, my CDCs are FINALLY done and the new terms are starting for the distance education courses the base offers. I was going to finish my Criminal Justice degree, but my flight commander gave me some advice about going for a technical degree so I'd have something to fall back on if I get hurt on the job when I go to civillian LE after my Air Force time. So, I'm going to open this up to the floor. Any ideas? I'm a bit of a tech head anyway and have a talent for circutry and chemistry...
    "The world isn't as it should be. It's harsh. And it's cruel. That's why there's us. Champions. We live as if the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be."-Angel Season 4

  • #2
    There's never a lack of jobs for engineers...

    Try electrical or chemical engineering, if that floats your boat.
    *Not a cop*


    • #3
      Get your Criminal Justice degree, you'd be stupid not too. You're probably half way there already and all the courses you need to finish your CCAF are needed for a Bachelor's anyhow. If you try and start on a new degree right now, you wasted all the credits from tech school. I knocked out my CCAF in CJ and am now working on a Bachelor's in Computer Science. Or do like a friend of mine did, start working on another Associates and leave 1 class till the end that will finish both of them.

      Also, start taking CLEPs as much as possible. They are free to you, take advantage of it while you can. I have around 25 credits just from CLEPs. I suggest taking: speech, English (6 credits), Ethics, Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and intro to management. I know there are a few other easy ones, but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Worse case, you waste an hour of your time and can't CLEP it again for 6 months. But if you pass, you get the credits and are that much closer to your degree.

      I wouldn't suggest getting a Bachelor's in CJ, but I know the position you are in and think it would be a waste to not get your Associates in CJ. Shoot me a PM if you want.


      • #4

        I am medically retired. I have two undergrads, one in CJ & one in social science. I have an MPA. I thought I was going to retire a cop, but my orthopedic surgeons had otrher ideas. I now teach high school.

        There is no doubt that degrees in math or the hard sciences are more marketable; however, one has to have the proper disposition to major in one of these disciplines. In fact, the common personality of cops lend themselves to success in the soft sciences, arts and letters, and humanities. Cops are generally by personality people persons and not lab dwellers. But if you're suited for the hard sciences or math, get a degree in one of 'em.

        The most relevant advice I can convey to you is to get a baccalaureate; you'll be at a decided advantage vis-a-vis your future colleagues who are w/o one. Moreover, the writing on the wall indicates it will be difficult competing for positions w/o a degree. And de facto, a degree is all but expressly demanded by the most desirable departments. A BA/BS is usually required to get into law school should decide to go that route.

        When I first began my cop career in 1982, maybe thrity percent (a guess) of cops with whom I worked had a BA/BS. By the time I retired, there were rookies running around holding grad degrees. There are even a few cops w/JD's at my old agency.

        Good luck,



        • #5
          If you're within striking distance of getting your CJ degree, you might as well finish it up, it's something that can never be taken away. You can then go for the "tech" degree (using credits from your CJ degree to satisfy general education and open electives) if you want.
          Talk sense to a fool, and he will call you foolish - Euripides


          • #6
            If you're close, finish the CJ degree. But if you decide to go on for a four-year degree (and I strongly encourage you to do so), consider switching to another field. In my experience, law enforcement agencies will respect a degree in an area other than criminal justice just as much as the CJ degree. Besides, the expertise in a field other than CJ may come in handy. My undergrad degree is in molecular biology. I didn't intend a police career when I was working on it, but I never regretted getting the biology degree, either. I had the opportunity to move into the then-new field of DNA analysis because of my degree, but I had worked in a lab before being a cop and it didn't appeal to me. The upshot here is that you want to preserve your options to do something other than be a street grunt if you find that it isn't what you thought it would be, or like Josey Wales, life deals you another hand of cards. And, of course, there's nothing wrong with being the best-educated patrolman at XYZ PD, either.
            Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.


            • #7
              College Degrees

              Be careful if you plan on getting a Bachelor's degree. Many "tech" courses that people take for an Associates Degree (esp. if it is an Associates of Applied Science or some such thing) won't transfer into a 4 year degree program. Make sure you talk to someone and get a confirmation that the courses will transfer. In some places, 2-digit courses (e.g., Math 85 vs. Math 101) won't transfer into a 4-year college as anything - but you can't apply this rule of thumb everywhere, so ask.


              • #8
                In Minnesota if you have a 4 year degree in any dicipline then all you need to do is get a POST certificate and pass your SKILLS. Then you have something to fall back on. You can pass both in about 6 months each, part time and online classes. Good luck with whatever your decision is.

                A little more advice, just because you are certified doesnt mean that you will get hired. I dont know about your area but a lot of times you will want to get a reserve position and test that waters a little. It might be something worth looking into now so you have a leg-up. That way the department that you are looking into can determine if they think you would be a good fit.


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