Law Enforcement Degree

Police Officer who has earned his law enforcement degree

Are you thinking of pursuing a career in law enforcement? Law enforcement agencies are increasingly looking for applicants who have earned a law enforcement degree. Most schools now offer a criminal justice degree with a concentration in law enforcement, which will give you an edge over applicants who have a less relevant formal education.

A degree in law enforcement coupled with your graduation from a police academy or training facility will help you understand the dynamics of crime prevention, the protocols of the law when dealing with suspects and dangerous situations, and a comprehensive understanding of our nation’s criminal justice system. In addition, you will learn about state and federal laws, the court system, civil rights, warrants, as well as weapons training and protocols.

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Law Enforcement Degree Courses & Curriculum

Many schools now offer criminal justice degree’s with a law enforcement specialization, which tailors the program specifically for future law enforcement professionals. In the past, criminal justice degree’s were offered as a general area of study with an overview of all the core components; however, schools are now responding to the demand to offer a more focused curriculum for specific roles. Most programs provide an overview of the criminal justice system, then a suite of courses designed to get more in depth on issues such as dealing with domestic violence issues, police protocol, warrants, and gang related challenges. The following is a sample program in a law enforcement degree.

Core Criminal Justice Curriculum

  • Intro & Overview of the Criminal Justice System
  • Criminology, Deviance, and Theories of Crime & Punishment
  • Introduction to the Courts & Correctional System
female law enforcement officers boarding a ship

Law Enforcement Specialization Courses

  • Law Enforcement Operations
  • Protocol & Jurisdiction Responsibilities & Interaction
  • Ethical Considerations in Law Enforcement
  • Legal Issues, Miranda Rights, & Search Warrants
  • Criminal Investigation Techniques & Practices
  • Handling Domestic Violence Cases
  • Tactical Strategies & Teamwork
  • New Trends in Law Enforcement – The Community Model
  • Law Enforcement Technology & Information Systems
  • White Collar Crimes

Possible Electives for Law Enforcement Degree Specialization

  • Illegal Immigration
  • Probation & Parole Officer Duties
  • First Response – Diffusing Conflict
  • Race, Gender, & Class Issues in Law Enforcement
  • Urban vs. Rural Law Enforcement
  • Computer Crimes
  • Sex Crimes
  • Special Considerations in Juvenile Justice

Law Enforcement Degree FAQ’s

What kind of jobs will a law enforcement degree prepare me for?

Law enforcement degree’s will prepare you for entry level jobs in local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies as well as private security roles. Obtaining a criminal justice degree with a law enforcement specialization is a smart option for those seeking positions as police officers, state patrol, criminal investigators, private security management, as well as a whole host of administrative and supporting positions in law enforcement. A law enforcement degree is a solid foundational education for future roles such as FBI positions and homeland security positions.

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What’s the difference between a criminal justice degree and a law enforcement degree?

Most criminal justice degree’s are the accepted norm for those seeking law enforcement positions; however, many schools now offer degree’s specifically tailored for the aspiring law enforcement professional. Often, the school will officially categorize it as a criminal justice degree with the designation of law enforcement concentration, which only adds merit to your resume and shows that you have more specific knowledge on issues that pertain to these roles

What if I’m not sure what my ultimate role among criminal justice careers will be? Is a law enforcement degree still a good option?

For those who do not have a specific career goal in mind, it can be beneficial to obtain a general criminal justice degree. Some students begin their core classes, then change their minds and decide that another concentration may be of interest such as corrections or juvenile justice. When researching school options, be sure to ask representatives about altering your concentration. Most schools are very flexible and allow the student to create their own specific concentration as long as certain core criminal justice courses have been completed. If you are unsure of where your skills and aspirations are, be sure to browse our criminal justice careers resource and get to know your options.