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  • Criminal Justice degree?

    Hello, I am new to the forum so apologize if this has already been asked. I have just met my Expiration Term of Service with the United States Army. I am currently attending college working on my AA in Criminal Justice. What is your opinion on obtaining a degree in Criminal Justice after the military? From what I understand previous military service already qualifies me for departments without the degree in that aspect. " must hold 60 college credits or 36 months military service" Would a degree in Criminal Justice be pointless?

  • #2
    Pretty worthless as a degee that will do anything for you, except get you 60 units. Get it in business, Psych, anything But CJ.
    Now go home and get your shine box!

    Comment


    • Austin Parrick
      Austin Parrick commented
      Editing a comment
      What are the perks of Psych degree within a department?

  • #3
    None. It’s just more useful than CJ.
    Now go home and get your shine box!

    Comment


    • #4
      Depends on the route you want to go....if you are looking to go Federal then an accounting degree (Bachelors) could help landing a criminal investigator position with more than a few agencies. Another good degree would be a foreign language degree. Many departments/agencies offer a pay bump for bilingual officers/agents.
      “Right now I'm having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.” - Steven Wright

      US Army MP (95B) 1992-1997
      DOJ Agent/ DHS Officer 1997 to Present

      Comment


      • #5
        Unless you plan on leaving law enforcement to teach Criminal Justice full time as a college professor, let me suggest that getting a degree in Criminal Justice is not the best idea. Here's why:

        1. In most city/county/state departments, any degree bumps your pay, even if its in basket weaving.

        2. 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 most private sector companies.

        3. 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 most private sector companies.

        4. 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 or Public Administration. 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 or Public Administration 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

        Comment


        • #6
          The CJ degree question has been asked multiple times here and while I'm tempted to hyper-link to a few of the threads, I'm also enjoying a fresh mug of coffee so I'll just keep typing instead.

          Here's the deal:

          -a CJ degree is no more valuable than any other liberal arts degree: History, English, Psychology, Political Science, et al.

          -People with liberal arts degrees typically end up in jobs with non-technical skillsets, such as teacher, social worker, librarian, writer, politician, actor, attorney, police officer, et. al.

          -Once a person gets hired and some time passes, the only thing that matters is work ethic and impact. Someone could have a PhD from Harvard but it wouldn't matter if they turned out to be a lazy stupid slug.

          -College degree in this or that subject area matters practically nil by the 20 year mark, especially if the person has risen to top levels in their agency as politics is the main determining factor in who gets to run the show.

          -College degree matters even less when retiring from LE for private sector gig.


          Back to your question.... would a CJ degree be worthless if you already meet the basic qualifications to get hired?

          All I can say is education, in general, is a good thing. Having a broader understanding about how society functions is a good thing. Being exposed to different theories about law, crime, justice, leadership, etc is a good thing. Having good writing skills is a good thing. Get the degree.






          Last edited by Ratatatat; 03-31-2019, 11:01 AM.
          Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

          Hanlon's razor

          Comment


          • #7
            That very argument shows why a CJ degree is worthless.
            Now go home and get your shine box!

            Comment


            • #8
              Well, yes, the argument can be made that any and all liberal arts degree is worthless, or definitely not a certain harbinger of career success....

              A friend in the IT world says he sees 18 year olds who have the right certifications get hired all the time for programming jobs that pay $100K. No college at all. Maybe we should be directing the kids here to ditch college and LE plans, because the only certain way to earn a decent living without college debt is writing code? I couldn't sit at a terminal typing in computer gibberish for thirty years, but whatev.

              All I know is most people fare better in life when they have the piece of paper, regardless of what the degree is in. It opens more doors, allows for a competitive edge over candidates without a degree, and right or wrong, is often the line used to separate grunts from executives.

              And college students who are interested in a LE career generally won't find much interest in Macroeconomics or Modern Isms- Ableism, Classism, and Heterosexism. They want to learn about police stuff like criminology, juvenile recidivism, corrections, etc. That's the purpose of a CJ degree....
              Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

              Hanlon's razor

              Comment


              • #9
                My 22 year old son recently (last December ) completed his BS in CJ after having earned an AS in CJ. After high school I advised him to pursue a different degree (accounting, public administration or Spanish) but he wouldn’t listen. Who knows where he will end up but starting in May he will be EODing into my old agency with the academy to start a few days later. I still think that a different major would have been better but I am very proud that he finished both degrees (while working) and paid for all of it (minus the first semester) on his own without any debt.
                “Right now I'm having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.” - Steven Wright

                US Army MP (95B) 1992-1997
                DOJ Agent/ DHS Officer 1997 to Present

                Comment


                • #10
                  Get a degree in what you excel in, and in something you like. If you like accounting or finance, pursue it. If you like taking criminology courses, pursue it. As a society we are at a point where a degree is just a box you check off, and that is due to the market being overly flooded with them. What will get you jobs is networking, luck, and how you carry yourself.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    So many years ago, when I was still a young cop, I realized I wanted to get promoted; however, the only way to do so was to go back to school - realizing that I learned more about CJ working the streets and seeing a lot of my fellow officers who had been injured stuck behind a desk because they had no options, I chose to study Computer Science. I am retired LEO and did it early enough to start another career with the Federal Government, and I truly believe that it was my degree and diversification that made me an attractive candidate and eventually led to me getting the interview and the job. The only down side is that I do want to teach as well and despite my 20 years as a LEO, I cannot teach CJ because my degrees are not CJ - I do teach Computer and Systems Design, but not CJ - go figure. So if you are looking consider that if you want to teach CJ I would recommend a BS in what your interested in to diversify, but then get your Masters in CJ.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      I didn't want to have my first post be to long of a read, but I am completing my PhD and would greatly appreciate it, if you are active, retired, or former law enforcement and worked patrol to complete a survey. I believe that Hot Spots policing can reduce officer stress.

                      Your assistance is being requested to complete a 6 minute survey for research in officer stress levels, should you desire to participate please click this link. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6FRYS5K.

                      Comment

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