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  • Academy to College Transition?

    Is it possible to first graduate from a police academy than transition to a college/university to pursue a degree in criminal justice? I am going to be a senior in high school in 3 weeks and was considering this path on becoming a LEO. (Texas)

  • #2
    Possible, yes. Recommended? No, other way around. (You will learn the difference between "than" and "then".)

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    • Omar3005
      Omar3005 commented
      Editing a comment
      Why would you not recommend this?

  • #3
    Often an academy certification is only good for a couple years after graduation. In my state if you don't get hired as an officer within 1 year of graduating you lose your certification and have to redo the academy. As well most states will not certify people under 20/21 years old. Even if they did and even if your certification lasts through college you will forget most of what you learned after 4 years in college. Get your degree first, in something that isn't CJ, then go to the academy.

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    • #4
      On the other hand .....................many cops have gone through an academy THEN went to college after a few years of working as a cop
      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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      • #5
        Not this guy... I would love to round out my skill set in computers, but too lazy to go back to school (I have tried 6 times since getting out of the service).
        Former Police Officer (Injured LOD)
        USAF VETERAN 2004-2012
        "The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day."-LTC Grossman
        Emergency Services Dispatcher, APG MD

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        • #6
          Usually you will get a decent amount of college credits for going through an academy. Some schools actually have AA/Bachelor programs where the academy is worked into your schedule (granted you have to get accepted into the academy). The only real issue is expiration of your certification due to timing and how long it may take to get hired.

          I can't speak for Texas, but every single person in my academy class in FL had at LEAST an associates degree, and there were a lot of bachelors, masters and beyond. Just realize that if you go through the academy right out of high school, every day you spend beefing up your resume to compete against people with college/military/leo exp is another day towards the expiration of your certification. You could always do an explorer program for your first year or two of college to really stand out.

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          • #7
            Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
            On the other hand .....................many cops have gone through an academy THEN went to college after a few years of working as a cop
            Mainly because they wanted an out.

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            • #8
              Originally posted by Omar3005 View Post
              Is it possible to first graduate from a police academy than transition to a college/university to pursue a degree in criminal justice? I am going to be a senior in high school in 3 weeks and was considering this path on becoming a LEO. (Texas)
              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 departments, any degree bumps your pay.

              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

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