Online Law Enforcement Bachelor’s Degree
If you want to pursue a career in law enforcement and maximize your salary potential, consider an online law enforcement degree. Graduates with a law enforcement degree typically earn more than those with only a high school diploma. Additionally, working professionals with a law enforcement degree perform better on the job, according to research from Michigan State University. The field offers many job opportunities as local agencies look to improve public safety. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs in law enforcement to grow 7% until 2026. This guide offers more information about online law enforcement degrees.
What is Law Enforcement?
Many positions within law enforcement do not require a college education, but professionals with a bachelor's degree have specialized skills which give them an advantage. Students studying for an online law enforcement degree learn all elements of the criminal justice system. The knowledge students gain from an online law enforcement degree prepares them to work in different roles in the field, from police officer to paralegal assistant.
Students pursuing an online law enforcement degree must complete courses on crime in America, contemporary social issues, and public policy. The curriculum teaches students to think critically and use observational skills which are useful in all settings of law enforcement, from crime scenes to courtrooms. Graduates leave the program with a firm grasp of the legal system and criminal behavior. Law enforcement programs also offer concentrations that help students develop specialized skills. Students can earn minors or concentrations in areas like child protection and juvenile justice or evidence and procedures.
Having a bachelor's degree in law enforcement gives candidates a competitive advantage in the job market and in the field. Individuals with law enforcement degrees qualify for higher paying jobs with more responsibility. Those with a bachelor's degree in law enforcement can work for federal agencies in positions like fish and game warden or FBI investigator, according to the BLS.
What Can I Do with an Online Law Enforcement Bachelor's Degree?
An online law enforcement degree prepares graduates for many careers. The versatile curriculum allows students to land jobs in law enforcement, as well as in government and education. Below you will find a list of the skills you can gain from an online law enforcement degree.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
A degree in law enforcement provides a broad and versatile education that applies to professions within law enforcement and other industries. Many students enrolled in an online law enforcement program also work full time. Often, students have work experience in the military or in law enforcement, which they may use to receive college credits.
Students can take a proactive approach to their education by tailoring their course schedule to their ambitions. To maximize their experience, students should take concentrations in areas that interest them. Taking specialized classes allows students to learn skills that can help them in their chosen professions. For example, law enforcement majors who want to work in technology should take computer science courses. If a student has an interest in homeland security, they should focus on areas like domestic terrorism, counterterrorism, and interagency preparedness.
The specific courses offered in a law enforcement program differ by college; however, the typical curriculum in a law enforcement program covers forensics, interrogations, law, and social issues. Some programs focus on diversity in law enforcement, whereas another program may highlight general education courses such as research methods and critical reading and writing.
Careers and Salary Potential
A degree in law enforcement can translate into other fields and occupations. While the majority of graduates work in law enforcement, the skills and knowledge learned in a law enforcement online program prepare students to work in many sectors of the workforce. Graduates can find work as social workers or as teachers. Below you will see how a law enforcement degree translates to different industries.
- Government: Graduates with a degree in law enforcement have a understanding of the legal system which can qualify them to work in local and federal government; for example, they make work for the Department of Homeland Security or social services.
- Educational Services: After earning a degree in law enforcement, some graduates secure teaching certificates and work as teachers. The curriculum in law enforcement programs help students develop effective communication and leadership skills, which are needed in the classroom.
Police and Detectives
Annual Median Salary: $62,960
Police officers and detectives work to protect communities and solve crimes. Police officers respond to emergencies whereas detectives work on specific cases. Officers and detectives collect evidence from crime scenes, write detailed reports, and conduct interviews with witnesses.
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Annual Median Salary: $51,410
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work with individuals on parole or probation. They help provide their clients with resources like job opportunities. They also administer drug tests.
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs
Annual Median Salary: $43,510
Correctional officers and bailiffs work in the criminal justice system. Correctional officers work in jails and prisons to maintain safety and order. Bailiffs help keep people safe in the courtroom.
Special Agent (Federal)
Annual Median Salary: $81,388
A federal special agent enforces federal laws. They may interview witnesses, collect evidence from crime scenes, or go undercover. Typically, a special agent has a bachelor's degree in law enforcement, criminology, or a related major.
Annual Median Salary: $54,624
State troopers perform similar duties to police officers. The apprehend and interrogate suspects and collect data to help in criminal cases. As part of their job, state troopers also write reports and testify in court.
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