Should I Become a Campus Police Officer?
Campus police officers preserve the peace and protect the public in colleges and universities. Campus police officers ensure that the campus is safe at all times and will alert the administration and students of any threats in the area. They will also respond to any disturbances or criminal activity on campus and work with local authorities to ensure justice.
Like other police officers, campus police officers usually work full-time, although their schedules are often irregular and staggered so that a campus is protected at all times. Police officers must be armed and are exposed to more personal injury and death risks than average. There is great reward in helping students and other civilians.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree recommended|
|Degree Field||Law enforcement, criminal justice|
|Experience||Law enforcement experience|
|Key Skills||Communication and observational skills are essential, in addition to making good decisions and being strong problem-solvers; must have driver's license|
|Salary (2014)||$50,840 (average for police and patrol officers at colleges, universities and professional schools)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); Job postings (2015)
Step 1: Earn a Degree
While earning a degree may not be required to become a police officer, it may be preferred by employers or help with enrollment into a police academy. Formal training can be obtained through criminal justice degree programs that specialize in law enforcement. Courses in a program cover topics involving criminal evidence, procedural law, principles of investigation, forensic science and criminology.
- Prepare in high school. Many police agencies offer cadet programs for high school students, giving future officers valuable training and mentorship opportunities. Taking classes that hone verbal and written communication, computer software and foreign language skills will benefit police applicants.
Step 2: Graduate from Police Academy
Campus police officers will only be hired if they provide evidence of graduation from a recognized police training program. Police academies can be found at community colleges; some state-level as well as larger local police departments also offer training programs. Requirements may include college coursework, a minimum age and proof of citizenship. Topics include laws, physical training, driving skills, firearm use and emergency tactics
- Focus on the physical and mental aspects of the job. Being a police officer is physically and psychologically demanding. Acceptance for police training requires passing physical, mental and background tests.
Step 3: Gain Experience
Colleges and universities that hire campus police officers want applicants who have law enforcement experience. Entry-level jobs may be available through local and state police departments. After a few years of experience, experienced police officers can apply for campus positions.
- Gain certification and participate in continuing education. Getting a job as a campus police officer may require additional certifications in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and firearm use. Some employers require officers to attend continuing education programs in order to maintain certification as a condition of employment.