How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement

Did you spend your childhood evenings watching CSI and wishing you could be one of those cool cops driving a super fast car through all the red lights from time to time, to help fight crime? If this sounds like you, then pursuing an associate’s degree in law enforcement may be the right direction for you!

Not only are law enforcement classes really fun, the careers are very rewarding. Who wouldn’t want the chance to make a real difference in their community? A big perk that comes with working in this industry is that the field is growing rapidly over the years as more and more officers retire, which means that finding a job after graduation should not be too difficult.

By earning your associate’s degree in law enforcement, you get a quick glimpse of what you can expect to need to know in the working world. It’ll also give you a chance to determine whether or not this career path is right for you. Should you find that you are passionate about it, you can even pursue a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Higher education credentials can only help you secure a competitive position in the long run.

An associate’s degree generally takes around two years to complete. It can be obtained at most accredited community colleges, but if you are juggling other things in life and require a flexible schedule for school, a distance learning program from an accredited college is a great option to consider.

Online learning is a great alternative to traditional classroom learning because it can allow students to complete classes quicker, while taking advantage of many of the same resources as traditional classes, like tutoring or faculty assistance when needed. It does, however, requires potential students to be dedicated independent learners needing little to no hand-holding; after all, most (if not all) material will be taught entirely online. With that said, you would be expected to keep track of class schedule and complete assignments on your own time. The great benefit of online learning is that you can head to your virtual class in your pajamas, and essentially work anywhere and anytime that works best for you. Earning an online degree can be a productive way to balance school with other obligations, such as employment.

Common Associate’s in Law Enforcement Curriculum

If you’re looking to take super fun and exciting classes in college, law enforcement will allow you to do just that! Here is a quick glimpse of the coursework you can expect to see in your associate’s degree program:

  • Forensics
  • Sociology
  • Principles of abnormal behavior
  • Crisis management
  • Introduction to criminal justice
  • Human relations
  • Criminal investigations
  • Evidence handling

The list goes on, but this should give you a pretty good idea of the different topics you will learn at the associate’s level. The classes don’t delve in too deeply in one subject; rather, they give overviews to set you up for an entry-level job after coming out with the associate’s degree, or you can use this foundation to further your studies by earning your bachelor’s in a specialized concentration within law enforcement. Whichever you choose to do, starting with an associate’s degree in law enforcement will help get your foot in the door.

In addition to law enforcement-related courses, students will also have general education requirements and electives to complete, which will vary from college to college. These classes are usually not directly law enforcement related. They are designed to give students the opportunity to explore other fields while getting a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in helping them understand real-life situations and succeed in whatever career they choose to be in. For example, students may have an introductory course in math, science, history, language, and fine arts, to name a few.

Associate’s in Law Enforcement Careers

There are a plethora of career options when it comes to the law enforcement field. Each option will offer different salaries. Salary also depends on other factors like where you work, who you work for, and your education and experience levels, for example. In general, law enforcement officers make a pretty comfortable living. For example, patrol officers earn anywhere from $28,000 to $68,000 a year. Detectives and law enforcement managers earn between $36,000 to $96,000 a year.

If you want to really advance your career and earn the big bucks, though, it’s important to note that an associate’s degree alone most likely will not be enough. Employers are always looking for officers with more experience and more education, because it shows they are more likely to know what they are doing.

Having the associate’s degree is a great start, but if you have your sights set on becoming a detective or higher, then you will definitely want to consider getting a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement. The more education and experience you have, the more likely you are to advance quickly through the ranks and land the job of your dreams.

With your associate’s degree alone, you can work as a state and border patrol officer, serve in the FBI, be employed by the Food & Drug Administration, or pursue a career with Homeland Security. There are so many different agencies in the local and national government that hire law enforcement officers, so it is up to you to find the one that you’re most interested in working with.

If you can work well under pressure, care about your community, and have great morals, you will likely succeed as a law enforcement professional. Get your foot in the door by pursuing your associate’s degree in law enforcement to discover all the fun!