Police officers are typically trained in police academies set up for the departments they will serve, and training in Maryland is also offered by the state's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. In addition, colleges frequently work in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies to offer degrees that may help individuals find positions in police work or to help with career advancement. In Maryland, there are 14 colleges and universities that offer degree programs related to police training. Offerings from the nine largest schools are profiled below. These programs are available at both 2 and 4-year schools.
Students get hands-on experience through internships, labs, and fieldwork. Graduate students have the option to complete a thesis. Some degree programs also allow students to select and work toward a specialization in the field.
Anne Arundel Community College
Located in Arnold, Anne Arundel Community College offers three different specializations for students who seek an associate's degree in law enforcement and criminal justice. Of these, the one most directly related to police work is the 73-credit police academy option: students who enroll will complete a 10-month police academy program approved by the Maryland Police Training Commission as well as 22-27 credits in general education and 48 credits in such topics as biology, penology, criminal law, physical conditioning, and American government. This school also offers a 42-credit law enforcement certificate program. Students enrolled at this college can take advantage of seminars and lectures arranged by the school's Homeland Security and Criminal Justice Institute.
Baltimore City Community College
This community college, located in Baltimore, offers programs in partnership with the Baltimore Police Department that enables officers to receive both police training and college credit at the same time. Students enrolled in the associate's degree program may specialize in either a correctional administration or law enforcement option. Police officer trainees take criminal justice class sequences; some personnel may choose to complete a community policing track. Students in this program are expected to master legal concepts, understand patterns of human behavior, develop critical and ethical thinking skills, demonstrate written and oral communication skills and understand career development options. Certificate programs are also available in correctional administration and law enforcement.
Community College of Baltimore County
Located in Baltimore, this school offers 100 certificate and associate's degree programs, including two programs in criminal justice. The associate's degree program requires 61 credit hours in such topics as criminal law, criminal investigations, criminalistics, and juvenile delinquency. This degree program also requires two internships. The 28-hour credit certificate program offers study in many of the same topics but does not require any general education classes. Students who complete the associate's program can seek careers in law enforcement, homeland security, private security, parole and probation, corrections and juvenile services.
Frederick Community College
Set in the small city of Frederick, this community college has grown from an evening school with 77 students to a school that now offers associate's degrees in over 50 fields of study to more than 17,000 students a year. This institution offers an associate's degree in police science designed to provide currently sworn police officers with opportunities for career advancement. Students complete 22 general education credit hours and 38 credit hours in such criminal justice topics as police community relations, criminal evidence and procedures, the correctional process, community relations, defense tactics, weapon procedures and operation of emergency vehicles.
Hagerstown Community College
Located in Hagerstown, this community college is the oldest in the state, with over 100 fields of study available for over 4,700 students each year. Students may pursue an associate's degree in administration of justice, which may be used as the basis for transfer to a four-year program in law enforcement, corrections or the judiciary system. Students must complete 36 credit hours in such required topics as criminal justice, law enforcement, criminology, corrections, police management, psychology, government, and constitutional law. Students must also complete 21-23 general education credits and at least six credits in electives, including a possible internship. A 30-credit certificate program in police services is also available.
Located in Rockville, Montgomery College was founded in 1946 as a night school serving 186 students. This school now serves over 60,000 individuals a year on three different campuses. The associate's of applied science degree in criminal justice offered by this school prepares students for careers in the criminal justice system, combining liberal arts courses with specialized career courses on such topics as administration of justice, organization and administration, criminal law, American government, sociology and at least nine credits worth of criminal justice electives. Students who complete the program will be expected to understand, explain and analyze different issues and challenges regarding the criminal justice process.
Prince George's Community College
Set in Largo, Prince George's Community College offers seven associate's degree and certificate programs related to cybercrime, police science and criminal justice through the Public Safety and Law Department. Of these, the one that relates most directly to police work is the associate's degree in criminal justice, which prepares individuals for entry-level positions as police, corrections or security officers with classes in such topics as police operations and criminal investigation techniques as well as criminal evidence and procedure. This institution also offers the opportunity to receive credit from the police academy graduates in partnership with Prince George's Municipal Police Academy and apply it towards the criminal justice program. Students complete the equivalent of 30 criminal justice program credits and 30 general education credits as they build a foundation for professional advancement.
University of Baltimore
Located in Baltimore, this University has one of the few programs in the nation to offer bachelor's and master's degree programs in criminal justice that are certified by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. The bachelor's degree program teaches students about the organization and administration of the criminal justice system, criminological theory as well as research design and analysis. Internship opportunities are available. The master's program requires that the students follow one of two options: they may either complete 30-33 hours and write a thesis or complete 39 hours and pass two written comprehensive exams. Classes required include at least 15 hours of core courses as well as additional courses in law enforcement, courts and law, corrections and six credits in a specialization.
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne is a four-year public institution that offers undergraduate degree programs in 36 different areas. The bachelor's degree program in criminal justice at this school blends elements of history, sociology, law, social work, psychology, and political science. This curriculum includes supervised field experiences, seminars and lab work during the junior and senior years. Students may also choose electives that allow them to specialize in corrections, law enforcement or pre-law. The master's degree program at this school can be completed in two different ways; students may either take 39 hours worth of courses, or they may take 24 semester hours of course work and write a thesis.
Police officers are trained to enforce laws, collect evidence of illegal activity and arrest persons suspected of crimes. Specific training required for this profession may vary by jurisdiction and size of the organization, but police officers are typically required to be U.S. citizens in peak physical condition and at least 21 years of age.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Police Training Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)|
|Anne Arundel Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb|| Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice - Police Academy Option,
Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Certificate - Police Academy Option
|$4,670 in-district, $7,880 in-state, $12,740 out-of-state*|
|Baltimore City Community College||Two-year, public; large city||Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement,
Associate of Applied Science in Correctional Administration
|$3,146 in-state, $7,226 out-of-state*|
|Community College of Baltimore County||Two-year, public; large suburb|| Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Studies,
Criminal Justice Studies Certificate
|$4,276 in-district, $7,110 in-state, $10,204 out-of-state*|
|Frederick Community College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate of Applied Science in Police Science||$3,578 in-district, $7,034 in-state, $9,314 out-of-state*|
|Hagerstown Community College||Two-year, public; midsize city|| Associate of Applied Science in Administration of Justice - Police Academy,
Administration of Justice - Police Academy Certificate
|$4,260 in-district, $6,360 in-state, $8,160 out-of-state*|
|Montgomery College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice||$5,178 in-district, $9,966 in-state, $13,602 out-of-state*|
|Prince George's Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice with Police Academy||$3,770 in-district, $6,050 in-state, $8,498 out-of-state*|
|University of Baltimore||Four-year, public; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice,
Master of Science in Criminal Justice
|$8,958 in-state, $21,076 out-of-state*|
|University of Maryland Eastern Shore||Four-year, public; fringe town|| Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice,
Master of Science in Criminal Justice
|$8,302 in-state, $18,508 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.