Law enforcement associate's and bachelor's degree programs usually cover law enforcement ethics, police administration, the corrections system and investigation techniques. Students in bachelor's degree programs often can choose an area of specialization such as law enforcement or corrections. On-the-job training is common for graduates. Those who want to become police officers may need to complete additional police academy training.
Students looking to pass the admissions requirements for either associate's or bachelor's study will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition, some bachelor's degree programs require standardized test scores for entry.
Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement
The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Law Enforcement is a widely offered degree program at community colleges and vocational schools. These programs provide students with foundational knowledge in criminal justice topics. Candidates can expect to learn about crime, criminal psychology and the U.S. justice system. The curriculum of an associate's degree program in law enforcement usually includes seminar-style courses in law and criminal topics. Typical law enforcement courses include the following:
- Law enforcement ethics
- Introduction to corrections
- Police administration
- Crime and society
- Criminal procedures
- Retail security
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Students enrolled in a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminal Justice program study law enforcement and related topics, such as industrial security and loss prevention. Students must complete some general criminal justice courses along with the specialty courses for their chosen concentrations. Below are some of the topics that may be included in the curriculum:
- Juvenile justice system
- Criminal victimization
- Prevention strategies
- Correctional case management
- Law enforcement administration
- Forensic science investigation
Popular Career Options
Graduates of associate's degree programs in law enforcement may work in a wide range of settings, including retail stores or correctional facilities. Below are some of the entry-level careers for which an associate's degree in law enforcement may prepare students:
- Campus security
- Industrial security
- Police department administration
- Private or retail security
Graduates of bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice will have a variety of career options available to them. Some available positions include the following:
- Federal correctional officer
- Aviation security specialist
- Insurance fraud investigator
- Court administrator
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of an associate's degree program in law enforcement may choose to pursue additional training at police academies. Some may enter the workforce and receive on-the-job training in order to advance in their field. Bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice are also available.
Graduates may choose to pursue further training in a specific area of criminal justice, such as firearms or customs inspection. Many graduates receive on-the-job training and advance with experience.
Degree programs in law enforcement can be found at the associate's and bachelor's levels. Students looking to gain certification in the field can then go on to careers within security and policing industries.