Law enforcement professionals vow to protect and serve. They are trained in areas of criminology, juvenile justice, criminal investigation, patrol administration, and more to help prevent crime from occurring and responding when it does. Through online law enforcement certificate programs, students can learn the necessary skills to work in law enforcement. Typically these programs lead to careers as a police officer or in private security.
Types of Law Enforcement Certificates
A certificate in law enforcement is often designed to prepare students for work as a state police officer, providing necessary training to pass any necessary selection criteria or education requirements. Other online law enforcement training certificate programs may be more general and prepare students for a number of different careers in law enforcement. Since many entry-level law enforcement careers, such as in police work and security, often do not require an advanced degree, students interested in gaining an overview of our criminal justice system and law enforcement skills — without spending the time and money on an associate or bachelor’s degree — may be drawn towards a certificate program. Here’s what you usually need to apply:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- Background check
Certificate programs typically take one year to complete, though more intensive tracks may take even less time. Students can expect to come away with such skills and knowledge as the process of the criminal justice system, the scientific method of criminal investigation, applied psychology, and report writing. More hands-on experiences, such as firearm training, would need to be completed on-campus or at a third-party provider as indicated by the school.
What’s Next for Certificate Holders?
Graduates of law enforcement certificate programs would be prepared for a variety of entry-level positions in public and private law enforcement agencies. These include police work, private security, and corrections. Police officers have the highest earning potential among these options, with a median annual salary of $55,010 reported in May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This compares to $39,020 for correctional officers and $24,380 for security guards.
Many academic options exist for students interested in continuing their education. These include associate or bachelor’s degree programs in law enforcement, or a related area like criminal justice. Earning an advanced degree could be beneficial to those looking to advance in the field, gain new skills and knowledge, or specialize in a particular area of law enforcement.