Police Officer Preparation & Law Enforcement Resource - Archive
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03-23-12, 06:11 AM
Good day to everyone. It is truly good to see that there is a place where knowledgeable men and women are willing to help those of us who are less so. I have a question about degrees. So, I've always had this long standing opinion, with is somewhat research based, that a degree is basically a piece of paper that tells other people you that you think you are smart. However, as I get older and the world changes it is apparent that having one is better than not. I'm a pretty smart guy, not to brag, and could probably master just about any degree that I wanted to invest the time into. But I have chosen CJ simply because so far its pretty damn fascinating to me. So, even though it may/may not help with getting employed as an LEO is it still worth having? Or am I going to gain nothing besides intellectual stimulation out of this?
03-23-12, 07:52 AM
A degree is helpful. There was a time that a degree meant someone could express themselves fairly well in written communication, unfortunately that's no longer true. The dumbing down of the English language has reached the upper levels of academia. For a while we required bachelor's degrees and I thought the quality of reports would go up. I was sorely disappointed in the spelling, grammar and basic ability of the educated to communicate in their own native language.
A C. J. degree isn't anymore helpful in getting a job in LE than a degree in biology. In the long run, a degree in a hard science might be worth more. One in computer science or public administration would be more applicable to police work in the real world. Not much in a C.J. degree is going to be of practical value.
My department has changed their education requirements several times over the last 20 years. Now active military service will substitute for time in college. Wisest decision they've made so far. I's rather train a 22 year old with 4 years active military service than one who's spent all in time since HS in college. Knowing a lot of theory is nice, but very little of it applies to real world issues, like the guy that just got the crap beat out of him in a bar and you have to go in and identify and arrest the suspect.
03-23-12, 09:49 AM
I have to agree with you about the overall education level in our country. It's quite disappointing some of the stuff I see on paper and the things I hear come out of the mouth of "educated" people that surround me. It is good however to know that military service will still get you somewhere in this world. I'm just hoping to combine mine with a degree to be prepared on all fronts. Appreciate all the sound advise that you and the rest of the regulars here at RP provide.
03-23-12, 11:36 AM
In PA it isn't worth crap
A degree from an accredited institution gives independent evidence that you can work, think and meet standards with some dedication, so they don't have to depend on your own assessment of your intelligence (which isn't the most important aspect, anyway).
If you can master any subject, I see no reason to go with CJ. I cannot imagine there are not more interesting subjects out there. There are many different types of law you could study. Hard sciences, sure. Business, accounting, it just goes on. But if you want CJ, it's a degree, so it's worth something in most LE positions.
03-24-12, 01:57 PM
I tell people that college was one long party with a $20,000 cover charge. :) But seriously, every time some young man or woman interested in a career in law enforcement asks me about getting a CJ or in my case AJ degree, I tell them to get a degree in something else like computers, business, etc. Many departments that require college education either just want 60 semester hours or any old college degree. I received my degree in Administration of Justice, and although I am glad I got it, it just sits in a frame on the bedroom wall. It's only a prerequisite. If I could go back, I would have gotten a degree in something more marketable and minored in AJ. My freshman year, my political science professor asked the class "How many of you are here for an education?" Everyone raised their hand. He then asked, "How many of you are here to get a degree so you can get a good job?" Those questions stuck with me ever since.
When I received my second street job I had an AAS in CJ. It helped quite a bit. I obtained my BS in CJ after working the streets for about 12 years. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in education. I was learning theory that just wasn't accurate. The learning was easy, but sitting through the classes knowing I was paying to be taught incorrect information was tough. I had seen the theories tried and fail over the last 12 years and now I had to relearn them so I could not apply them, because they didn't work. I played their game and regurgitated their information then went on to forget most of what I had learned as soon as possible. I submitted my degree to my agency took my $50 per month education incentive and pressed on.
Edited to add: On several papers I wrote I knew I was including incorrect facts and wrong conclusions. I was getting A's in the classes and figured if I get caught I'll get a lower grade on the paper that might drop my class grade a little. Since GPA was not my concern, if I was marked down it didn't really matter. The sad part is I was never marked down for any of the inaccurate information or conclusions I included in my papers. All of them were A's. I can understand that, if I was writing papers that were very in depth and technical, but these were basic college courses and papers. Nothing higher than a 400 level course. All of the information should have been within the knowledge level of the instructors who all either had extensive field experience in addition to a Master degree or had Ph.D's.
My PD pays $700 a year more for a 4 year degree. But at hiring , veterans get 10 extra points added to their final score.
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