ARE THE BENEFITS OF A COLLEGE DEGREE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
(1967) and the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice
Standards and Goals (1973) both supported the 4-year degree
as a prerequisite for employment in law enforcement. The President's
Commission accurately predicted that the complexities of policing
would require higher levels of education. The complexities
of the Criminal Justice System today have never been greater.
American Police Association lists over 45 law enforcement
agencies that require a college degree at entry-level positions.
Government statistics reveal that 10% of all police agencies
mandate college degreed candidates, 7% mandate community college
degrees, and 86% mandate a high school diploma for an entry-level
position. Although the majority of these agencies only mandate
a high school diploma for hiring, many of these same agencies
award extra points or consideration for college degrees. The
Los Angeles Police Department is an example. According to
the 2003/2004 Annual Salary Range, entry-level officers with
a high school diploma are hired at $47,710. These same entry-level
officers entering the department with an Associates degree
are moved to the next step at $49,631. Candidates with a BA/BS
degree are moved to the third step at $51,573. Many departments
also take into consideration college degrees when promoting
to Dennis Stevens' article in Law & Order Magazine (1999),
higher education produces a number of benefits for officers
develops a broader base of information for decision-making.
provides additional years and experiences for increasing
inculcates responsibility in the individual through course
requirements and achievements.
permits an individual to learn more about the history of
the country and the democratic process.
also seems to indicate that there is a positive correlation
between higher education, fewer disciplinary actions, and
fewer citizen complaints (Braunstein & Tyre 1992).
occupations in Criminal Justice that require a college degree
include Prosecutors, Probation Officers, Forensic Specialists,
and Victim Advocates.
trend for Criminal Justice personnel to require education
beyond high school will increase as laws, equipment, and society
in general become more complex in the next century. Those
who have earned college degrees and enter the Criminal Justice
System will be at a greater advantage over others in securing
employment and later promotions in their field.