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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Entry Level  >  College for Law Enforcement

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College for
Law Enforcement

There is much discussion as to whether college should be required as a prerequisite to entering the law enforcement profession. No matter what your situation may be, we ask that you keep an open mind when reading this article.

On one side it is argued that some of the best street cops on the road today have no college experience whatsoever. This is true. It is also argued that as law enforcement becomes more of a profession and as the salaries increase, it is reasonable for the public to expect applicants to have a two-year or four-year degree. This is also true.


More and more agencies are moving toward requiring a college degree. Even with those that do not yet require a degree, applicants who never made the attempt toward obtaining college credits will be questioned as to why. In most cases, military service will be the only reasonable explanation.

Today, college is more attainable then ever before. While once considered the bastard child, the off-campus, part-time student is now being recruited by state colleges and treated much better than years ago.  Same with the online degree programs.

If a state college is not in the cards, community colleges offer excellent programs. They are affordable, convenient, and there is really no excuse not to at least explore what they have to offer.

Then, there is the online option. Many colleges today are offering academic programs which can be completed entirely or almost entirely online. Some of them are excellent, and they are becoming more respected as this new industry grows. Just do your homework, and make sure that the college you are researching possesses the national accreditation you desire.


At least in this writer’s opinion, military service is a perfectly acceptable alternative to college and should be accepted in lieu of college by hiring agencies. However, a candidate with a military background can make himself or herself even more desirable by complimenting their military experiences with a formal college education.

A college degree is more than just a piece of paper. It represents a commitment to and an achievement of a long-term goal and a difficult one at that.

When a law enforcement hiring panel is looking at two applicants and one has college while the other doesn’t, the applicant without the degree starts from a disadvantageous position. If everything else is equal, the college will probably make the difference.

It is never too late to start.

Consider this. You are on a panel looking at two applicants. One has absolutely no college. The other, is enrolled and currently attending college. If all else is equal, who do you like more? Even if the one attending college is in his first semester, the fact that he is enrolled adds so much weight to his candidacy.

If nothing else, take a look at what is available. Look at the community colleges and the online colleges.  Even if you have no intention of finishing, at least do some research. Sign up, take just one class, and see where it goes. You might find that you enjoy it.







College for Law Enforcement

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