Although admission to a police academy often requires only a high school degree or equivalent GED, college degrees for police officers are also available. These programs are offered through 4-year institutions, and usually in the field of criminal justice or law enforcement.
Colleges that Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Criminal Justice/Police Science
These schools offer bachelor's degree programs that focus on criminal justice and related fields.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition and Fees 2015-2016*|
|Armstrong State University||Savannah, GA||4-year, public||Bachelor's|| $5,360 in-state
|George Mason University||Fairfax, VA||4-year, public||Bachelor's||$10,952 in-state, $31,598 out-of-state|
|Metropolitan State University||Saint Paul, MN||4-year, public||Bachelor's||$7,566 in-state, $14,394 out-of-state|
|Rowan University||Glassboro, NJ||4-year, public||Bachelor's||$12,864 in-state
|Texas State University||San Marcos, TX||4-year, public||Bachelor's||$9,348 in-state
|Washington State University||Pullman, WA||4-year, public||Bachelor's||$11,967 in-state
|Western Connecticut State University||Danbury, CT||4-year, public||Bachelor's||$9,516 in-state
|Texas A & M International University||Laredo, TX||4-year, public||Bachelor's||$6,635 in-state
|University of Baltimore||Baltimore, MD||4-year, public||Bachelor's||$8,326 in-state
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
When choosing a school, prospective students should keep these things in mind:
- Students pursuing a college education may prefer to take advantage of criminal justice and police science programs that offer courses focusing on strength training and physical fitness since these are important aspects of police training.
- While taking a foreign language course is required for most degrees, students may also benefit from criminal justice or police science programs that offer bilingual classes as part of its curriculum, especially for students who plan to work in areas with large non-English speaking populations.
- Students might want to consider programs that offer internships or externships, which are 'shadowing' programs that generally last a few days, and co-ops, also known as cooperative education programs, which combine classroom instruction with paid work experience in one's field of interest.
Bachelor's Degree Overview
A bachelor's degree program in criminology or criminal justice includes courses in law, ethics and investigative practice. Students also learn about operation of the American judicial and correctional systems. A student may be able to specialize with electives in subjects such as juvenile crime or rehabilitation. Sociology and psychology courses are often included with the general education requirements in a criminal justice program to help prospective police officers better understand human behavior.
Aspiring police officers should look for programs that offer internships or externships to gain experience. Other considerations include whether programs offer courses in strength training and physical fitness or bilingual classes.