Online Schools to Become a Cop
Review the educational and training requirements for becoming a cop, and read about online learning options for meeting some of those requirements. Get info on finding a school with an online police science or law enforcement program, and explore what you'd learn in a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree program. Keep in mind that you'll still need to complete policy academy training in person. Learn about finding a job as a police officer.
While much training to become a police officer is completed in person, online programs are available at different degree levels. You can take a look at the article below to find out how these programs compare, where they are offered, how online programs are delivered, and what the outcomes may be.
Do I Have Options for Online Training to Become a Cop?
The options you have are determined by the department, locality, agency and level in which you're interested. Bearing in mind that a great deal of your practical education is on-the-job training, you're still going to have to meet some education requirements.
With a local agency, you may only need a certificate. However, more local and state agencies ask that their applicants hold at least an associate's degree, and preferably a bachelor's degree. Federal agencies require a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and often a certain amount of appropriate work experience.
Although schools offer online police science or law enforcement training at each level, you still won't be qualified to become a cop with local, state and federal agencies until you complete the police academy program, which can last from months to a year, and must be completed in person.
Which Schools Offer Online Certificate Programs in Law Enforcement?
Students can earn a certificate in law enforcement or a related field online at some schools, but most programs are offered on-campus. Check out the following programs:
- Northern Arizona University provides an online Police Management Certificate program
- Mesa Community College houses a Certificate of Completion in Police Science program
- Rasmussen College has a Law Enforcement Skills Certificate program
Which Schools Offer Online Associate Degree Programs in Law Enforcement?
Associate degree programs in law enforcement or a related field are available online at a variety of schools. Here are a few examples:
- Eastern Kentucky University delivers an Associate of Arts in Police Studies degree program available online
- Liberty University has an online Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program
- Southern New Hampshire University offers an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice degree program online
Which Schools Offer Online Bachelor Degree Programs in Law Enforcement?
Numerous colleges and universities give students an opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in law enforcement, criminal justice, or related fields. A couple of these are:
- Drexel University houses an online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Justice Studies degree program
- Capella University has an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree program
- Southern New Hampshire University hosts an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree program
Are There Any Recommended Schools?
The National Law Enforcement Recruiters Association provides links to schools offering on-campus and online education programs (www.nlera.org). The National Sheriffs' Association also has a smaller list of its recommended educational partners (www.sheriffs.org). Local or state law enforcement agencies can also provide recommended schools.
What Sort of Courses Will I Take?
A certificate program averages about 30 credits and consists of about six courses. Topics covered can include principles of law, investigative techniques, police procedures, evidence, police supervision and community relations.
Associate's degree and bachelor's degree program in police science or law enforcement will, like all degree programs, entail general education courses. An associate's degree program covers such core topics as criminal justice, juvenile justice, criminal law, corrections, criminology, police procedure and the American legal system. A bachelor's degree program covers the same ground as an associate's degree program. However, the curriculum is more advanced, with the addition of courses such as criminalistics, forensics, criminal justice, police administration, police management, comparative criminal justice systems, victimology and terrorism.
Do Schools Offer Career Placement Services?
The career counseling office in a school can direct you to law enforcement agencies and can advise you on any further action necessary, because of mandatory academy programs, schools cannot aid in the hiring process. Local, county or state level law enforcement agencies can provide employment information. The National Law Enforcement Recruiters Association also has online links to local, county, state, court and corrections employment opportunities.
You can find out about federal employment opportunities at the websites of the various agencies. These include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Certificate programs, while not commonly earned online, can provide a good introduction to the field of policing. It is easier to find associate and bachelor degree programs online, which can help you prepare for further training dependent on local or state regulations.