Associate degree programs require two years of study, while bachelor's degrees take four years to complete. Students may be allowed to transfer credits from a police academy training program to their degree program.
A high school diploma or GED is required, along with a clean criminal record, college assessment, personal essay, letters of recommendation, and possible police experience. Some bachelor's programs only admit professional police officers. Both associate and bachelor's programs may require some hands-on experiences.
Associate Degree Programs in Police Science
Students gain the necessary skills and knowledge to evaluate and respond to criminal and disaster incidents. These programs are offered through colleges and police academies. Individuals who have already completed a police academy program may be able to apply their training toward associate degree course requirements. Students may participate in professional work experiences. They study general education topics and also learn about:
- Types of crimes
- Government and the criminal justice system
- Domestic violence intervention
- Investigative techniques
- Police documentation procedures
- Illegal drugs and their effects
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Police Science
Students complete a mixture of general education classes, police science electives and core requirements. They not only gain leadership skills but also learn to work on teams. Furthermore, they develop relevant communication skills and problem-solving abilities. These students generally complete a capstone course and gain skills in:
- Law enforcement public relations
- Strategy building
- Crowd control
- Emergency management
- Law enforcement administration
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a 2-year program in police science can pursue jobs in public and private sectors. Specific titles may include:
- Security officer
- Corrections officer
- Police officer
- Highway patrol officer
- Parole officer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment of police officers and detectives was predicted to rise 4% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The same government agency noted that in 2015, police and detectives earned an annual median salary of $60,270.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in police science may decide to continue their education toward a related graduate degree. Law enforcement workers with a police science undergraduate degree may decide to pursue a master's degree in forensic science, criminal justice or forensic psychology.
Interested individuals can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Police Science or a Bachelor of Arts or Professional Studies in Police Science. Graduates can pursue jobs in either the private or public sector, or go onto a graduate degree program.