Men and women from all walks of life choose to pursue a career as a police officer. People who want to protect the community, earn a competitive compensation, and have an opportunity to retire at an early age tend to pursue work in the police force.
What Are Some Desirable Qualities of Police Officers?
City leaders and police department officials usually focus on finding candidates with qualities that include good physical and emotional health, intelligence, a strong sense of ethical and professional responsibility, and the ability to think critically.
Related Resource: 20 Best Online Schools for Criminology 2017
What Are the Common Steps for Becoming a Police Officer?
Community leaders charged with hiring the best candidates to serve the public in the local police force develop a hiring process to reflect their community’s needs. The standard process that these leaders put in place allows them to learn more about the candidate and his or her abilities to capably perform the duties of the position:
1. The Application. Like any job, the application lets the hiring staff learn the basics about the police candidate, such as level of education, past work experience, and names of character references. The application allows the candidate to introduce themselves and basically express their interest in the job. Police officer hopefuls can apply online, or they might visit their local police headquarters to fill out an application or to take one home.
2. The Basic Abilities Test. At this point in the hiring process, a criminology degree might prove most helpful, but it is not essential to do well on the basic abilities test. Many police officers do not hold a degree from college and perform just fine. However, a higher score achieved through additional education might alert officials to a candidate with future potential as a detective or a leadership position. The test measures the candidate’s critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, reading comprehension, and cognitive reasoning abilities.
3. The Physical Assessment. The nature of police work makes it critical that police officers maintain good physical fitness. Job candidates may need to perform a running test, an obstacle course, and other physical ability tests.
Is it Easier to Become a Police Officer With a Criminology Degree?
While those pursuing a career as a police officer can certainly benefit from attending college to earn a degree in criminology, it is not a requirement. It is only mandatory that police officer candidates hold a high school diploma or a GED equivalent.
There are a few core reasons a degree might work in the job candidate’s favor, such as:
- Competitive Advantage. If there are limited spots available for new police officers,a candidate who holds a college degree might have an advantage over another candidate who has not attended college in a related discipline.
- Promotion Potential. In order to move up in the ranks to the level of detective and higher, police officers who only hold a high school diploma need to take college courses to get the necessary credits, making a degree a definite advantage.
Most of all, if a degree helps a police academy candidate feel more confident in their attempt to become a police officer, that on its own makes a degree in criminology invaluable.