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Men who are cops, how come some departments have basically only a high school education requirement?

I’ve been thinking about becoming a police officer in my town. It’s a pretty boring place and they often hire. I checked the requirements online and it’s basically just required that I have my high school diploma (which I do). I know I have to take an entrance exam and I’m assuming I’ll have to go to some basic training but it’s not really clear. I’m also just curious why in some places you need a college degree. I’m going to start my 30s and feel like I’ve spent too much time not pursuing a career. I’ve been steadily employed for years, but it’s not paying well, not fulfilling. I feel useless. I want to help people and do something with my life. Basically looking for advice.

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11 Comments

  1. It be many different factors. Like the size of your police department, the size of your town, if the department is desperate for new police or not. To join the NYPD you need a associate’s degree or 2 years of active military service.

  2. Varies by department and some states have different criteria for certifications. Depending on the certification criteria for your state you will have training ranging from several weeks to several months. These questions will be easily answered by the agency you apply to.

  3. some places feel that a high school diploma or GED is not enough criminal justice education to be an officer. you can graduate high school and learn very little about the law while doing so, so a degree in criminal justice (associates or bachelors) helps say to a department that you understand the law you’re being hired to enforce. but the vast majority of departments do not require you to have a college degree to be a police officer.

  4. Man i would kinda like to be cop but my county’s sheriff department has so much internal politics and other bull shit it probaly wouldnt be worth it. I probaly wouldnt be cut out for seeing how shitty humans can be on a regular basis,or the suicides and shit.

  5. Places that require a degree simply have the luxury of doing so, but that will soon go away in many more areas.

    They lower requirements due to needing more candidates, basic supply and demand.

  6. It’s an entry-level job. The extra pay compared to most entry-level jobs is basically hazard pay. Where I live a college degree is required if you are looking to be promoted above a certain level. Of course specialized positions in the department will usually require college, like forensics or cyber security for example.

    A good comparison is that you can join the military without a college degree, but you will need one to do certain things and achieve earn certain ranks.

    Some departments intentionally will not hire most applicants with college degrees or higher IQs. From what I’ve read, they’ve found that people with a higher education and/or intelligence are more likely to get bored with entry-level law enforecement, and are more likely to question authority.

  7. Many professions only require a high school degree since they’re shouldering the teaching and learning of the trade specifically without adding the extra and sometimes needless fluff.

    When you go from high school to college, it is considered higher education only because the fields your aim for from there on out are more scholastic than regular trades and as such, you benefit from having a larger array of knowledge even if it doesn’t directly impact your chosen field.

  8. It varies. I have worked in places like Fairfax, Va where you need college and polygraph. Other places, there was less of an academic standard and no polygraph whatsoever. I think it’s based on the prevalence of the types of cases and people in which you will be expected to interact.

    Most cops are great! Want to make sure they take of their communities and be of service to people. No cop wakes up in the morning and says “I’m going to discriminate, skirt procedures, and be a dick to as many people as I can today.” More education does not necessarily make someone more decent.
    It’s all about the individual man or woman.

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