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
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.