An online bachelors degree programs in law enforcement provides students with a range of knowledge in criminal justice, law enforcement, corrections, and more. Those looking to learn about the complex nature of crime and society’s response to criminality, as well as gain first-hand experience in law enforcement, may be drawn to this degree. Online programs are often flexible enough for those already working in the criminal justice field or a related area to study. Upon completion, graduates may be able to enter the field as a law enforcement professional, advance within their specialty, or continue their education at the graduate level.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
People with a wide range of education can enter law enforcement. For instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), education requirements for police officers can range from a high school diploma to a college or higher degree. A more advanced degree can lead to more opportunities for advancement and specialization within the field, as well as provide a greater degree of training and knowledge. New students, as well as graduates of certificate or associate degree programs in law enforcement or a related subject considering leadership positions within law enforcement may want to consider this degree.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Application requirements will vary from one law enforcement bachelors degree program to the next. But here’s what you generally can expect to need:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- SAT or ACT score
- Letters of recommendation
Inside a Law Enforcement Bachelor’s Degree Program
Law enforcement is often a specialty within a criminal justice degree program. It encompasses topics in police theory, law enforcement practice, criminology, corrections, and juvenile justice processes. Students often learn about crime-fighting strategies, theories, and policies by examining real-life scenarios and completing in-field coursework. By the end of the program, they typically have an understanding of the different police services at different levels of government; the organizational structure, administrative practices, and operating procedures of modern police agencies; law enforcement strategies for such issues as homeland security, drugs and crime, and community policing; and knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and its practical application to law enforcement and criminal procedure.
Bachelor’s degrees are typically designed to take four years to complete, though this may be longer or shorter depending on the student’s previous experience and education. For example, students with an associate degree may be able to complete a bachelor’s in two years, while some online programs may offer credit for work experience or certain certifications. It’s also important to note that while much of the courses’ content can be taught virtually, some training, such as in firearms, will need to be completed on-site at the school or a third-party provider.
What’s Next for Law Enforcement Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
A bachelor’s degree in law enforcement can lead to a number of different careers in the field of criminal justice. This includes positions in public safety, security, management, and insurance, depending on the degree focus and the student’s experience and interest. Barring any additional state or government training requirements, graduates may go on to work as police officers, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, federal agents, military officers, probation support specialists, insurance investigators, and more.
Students planning on continuing their education would also find themselves prepared for further study at the graduate level. For instance, students interested in practicing law may decide to go on to law school and earn their Juris Doctor. Others more interested in research and analysis could also study criminal justice and crime analysis at the master’s degree level and become a crime analyst. These are just some of the possibilities in this diverse field.