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Police Leadership Training Program Overviews

Graduate certificate and master's degree programs in law enforcement leadership are available through universities and specialized training academies. These training programs help prepare current police officers to advance in their careers.

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Essential Information

Prospective applicants to police leadership training programs may need to be recommended for some graduate certificate programs, while master's-level students might take advantage of research opportunities, flexible schedules or accelerated programs. Some graduate certificate programs are also offered exclusively through online learning since most students are working professionals. In either program, students gain the practical knowledge needed to oversee a police department, such as management and finance concepts. They also become versed in the legal and ethical principles and issues involved in law enforcement practices. A bachelor's degree is required for entry to most programs. Certificate programs may be offered online. Master's degree programs usually take 1 to 2 years to complete.


Graduate Certificate in Police Leadership

In a police leadership graduate certificate program, students improve their decision-making and management skills by examining concepts in organization, finance and management. They gain an understanding of the theories behind public safety and law enforcement policies and procedures. Programs focus on developing students' analytical abilities to prepare them for leadership roles in municipal, county, state or federal law enforcement agencies. Courses will include:

  • Policies in policing
  • Law enforcement and legal issues
  • Economics and budgeting
  • Perspectives: race and crime
  • Preventive enforcement strategies
  • Immigration and counter-terrorism

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Master of Arts in Police Leadership

In a 1- to 2-year police leadership master's degree program, students gain a sophisticated understanding of the practical, legal and ethical principles underlying law enforcement management. Programs draw from business, management, sociology and law. Classes often include seminars and guest lectures as well as electives and independent research opportunities that candidates can apply to current issues within their departments.

  • Leadership and organizational theory
  • Community assessment and evaluation
  • Security systems: theory and design
  • Contemporary issues
  • Emergency management technologies
  • Managing protection

Popular Career Options

First-line supervisors and managers in law enforcement have a range of fields within which to work. In addition to police officers, programs may be relevant to:

  • Fish and game wardens
  • Detectives
  • Criminal investigators
  • Transit and railroad police
  • Park rangers

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Employment of police and detectives is expected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Governmental spending can make a big difference in the number of jobs available in law enforcement at any given time. The BLS reports further that bilingual applicants with military experience or college training in police science will have the best opportunities at local and state levels. The BLS reported the estimated salary range for first-line supervisors of police and detectives in May 2015 was $48,930-$131,570.

Continuing Education Information

Continuing education courses and certificate programs cover topics such as leadership, forensic computing, forensic psychology and mental health counseling and international crime. They can often be applied to master's degree programs in fields such as criminal justice or public administration. Most leadership continuing education programs are available to those with mid- to upper-level management experience and undergraduate or graduate degrees.

Police leadership training programs offer coursework in police management and is generally suggested for those already in the field. There is also an opportunity for independent research and specialized certification in topics such as leadership, computing, and psychology.

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