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Criminal Justice Articles

Finding the right Police Officer education

The best way to insure proper police education is to apply for a job during a recruiting phase. Police departments occasionally recruit new officers and provide necessary training. Education and training received during the recruitment will be acceptable and state certified. Recruitment-based training will give all prospective officers a beneficial education and guarantee a job after training.

If there are no recruitment opportunities available, a prospective officer must apply and register for police academy training. When researching police academies, it's important to choose an academy whose courses offer certification upon completion. Police academies require fitness training and hands-on training; don't fall victim to an online police academy scam. While these online courses exist, most of them are not accredited and don't guarantee acceptance by a police department. Reputable academies employ licensed instructors, require background checks, perform fitness training, and have a traditional application process. Be wary of any school that doesn't have the above-mentioned requirements.

Community colleges offer two-year programs in criminal justice. For many departments, an associate's degree is now a hiring standard. The degree must be completed before applying for the police academy. Make sure any higher education institution has state recognized accreditation. This insures that earned credits transfer to other institutions. A two-year criminal justice degree can be a basic degree or specialize in criminal justice technology or crime scene technology. These courses delve in-depth about police administration, collecting evidence, crime scene photography, probation and parole, and criminal investigation. Anyone with a two-year degree has an advantage over applicants with only a high school diploma.

Officers that want to work for a federal institution will need at least a bachelor's degree. While a bachelor's degree in criminal justice is acceptable, there are also bachelor degrees in public safety and emergency management, juvenile justice studies, forensic science, and a bachelor's in criminal justice with a focus on homeland security. It's important that any degree granting institution has accreditation and transferable credits.

A master's degree in criminal justice, public safety, or cyber security can all help an officer land a senior position within governmental institutions.

Once an officer has landed their dream job, continuing education is necessary to insure the officer is on top of new laws, procedures, technology, and protocol. While paying for an online police academy isn't recommended, there are reputable institutions that offer online continuing education. These places offer either web-based instruction or will mail out instructional CDs. In order to insure that an online institution or company is legit, they should have a comprehensive FAQ section that discusses how to add continuing education credits or certifications upon completion. If you're still unsure as to the legitimacy of a place offering police education, speak to the local police department.

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