Law Enforcement Degree

The demand for highly qualified and tech savvy law enforcement officers is on the rise. With the growing number of crime rates and terrorist attacks, it has become crucial for law enforcement officers to acquire advanced qualifications and skills. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also highlights the fact that there is a greater demand for college educated law enforcement officers.

Types of Law Enforcement Degrees

A number of degrees are offered in the field of law enforcement to meet different educational requirements and career goals of students. Following are the major degree programs offered in law enforcement.

Associate’s Degree

It is the minimum qualification required for most law enforcement jobs. The degree takes two years to complete and trains students in basic skills of law enforcement and police work. Students acquire skills related to computers, report writing, and policing procedures. Some of the law enforcement job opportunities include police officer, fish and game warden, and private security officers.

Bachelor’s Degree

Many job positions in the field now require a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement. The degree provides students with a detailed background in policing procedures and court systems. The four year degree program also aims to train students in writing, problem solving, and analytical skills. Job opportunities with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement include criminal investigator, police detective, FBI agent, customs inspector, and border patrol agent.

Master’s Degree

With a master’s degree in law enforcement, students can specialize in various areas of law enforcement and criminal justice. Major specialization areas include leadership, forensic psychology, teaching, and consulting. A master’s degree in law enforcement can offer job opportunities at both state and federal levels.

Doctorate Degree

Doctorate degree in law enforcement is for individuals who wish to expand their knowledge of law enforcement and find practical solutions in the field. Important areas in a doctorate of law enforcement include prevention of crime, effective results, intervention, and public policy development. With a doctorate in law enforcement, graduates can acquire positions such as university professor or top ranking law enforcement official with the local, state or federal government.


Accreditation is a process that ensures quality of education delivered by a school. With accreditation, institutes are able to improve all areas of instruction and offer high standard education. Accredited institutes are continually assessed on programs and faculty, so that they can provide quality education to students.

Major benefits of selecting an accredited program include:

  • Trust on university, faculty, and curriculum.
  • Investment in the degree pays off.
  • Students acquire a competitive edge over other job applicants.
  • Employers prefer candidates from accredited institutes.
  • More opportunities for career growth

There are number of agencies that grant accreditation. Some of the common sources include:

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
  • Distance Education Council, Accrediting Commission
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Southern Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

To find out a comprehensive list of accrediting agencies and for questions regarding an institution’s accreditation, students can visit the US Department of Education website.

Law Enforcement Careers

Advances in technology and greater emphasis on homeland security have resulted in an increasing demand for law enforcement professionals, who can meet different challenges of national security.  Below is an overview of some careers that you can acquire with a law enforcement degree.

what can i do with a law enforcement degree

Police Patrol Officer

Median Salary: $56,810 in May 2014 – Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Police patrol officers are responsible for maintaining order and protecting life and property. They enforce different laws such as local, tribal, state, federal, and ordinances. They are known for performing a number of duties such as patrolling a specific area, issuing traffic summons, investigating accidents, arresting suspects, and following legal processes of courts.

Correctional Officer

Median Salary: $39,780 in May 2014 (BLS)

Correctional officers have the responsibility of supervising individuals, who have been arrested and are waiting for trial. They also oversee those who have been sentenced to serve a certain time in jail or prison. Their major duties include enforcing rules and keeping order within jails or prisons, keeping an eye on the activities of inmates, help with rehabilitation and counseling of offenders, and report on the conduct of inmates.

Security Guard

Median Salary: $24,410 in May 2014 (BLS)

Security guards perform duties such as guarding, patrolling, or monitoring certain premises so that unwanted incidents such as theft, violence, and infractions can be avoided. They may also operate x-ray and metal detector equipment to keep the premises secure. Their major duties include monitoring and authorizing entrance and exit, writing reports on daily activities and incidents, calling police in emergency situations, and monitoring to maintain order and protect property.

Police and Detectives

Median Salary: $79,870 in May 2014 (BLS)

Police officers are responsible for protecting lives and property, while detectives gather facts and collect evidence for crimes. Major duties for police officers include enforcing laws, responding to emergency and non-emergency calls, patrolling areas, carrying out traffic stops and issuing citations, arresting suspects, writing reports, and preparing cases. On the other hand, detectives work on investigating crimes, collecting evidence from crime scenes, observing activities of suspects, obtaining warrants to arrest suspects, and preparing cases and testifying in court.

Fire Inspectors

Median Salary: $56,130 in May 2014 (BLS)

Fire inspectors have the responsibility to examine buildings to find out fire hazards. They also make sure that the federal, state, and local fire codes are met. They identify the origin of fire and its causes. Major duties of fire inspectors include searching for fire hazards, ensuring that buildings meet safety requirements, testing fire devices and equipment, working on emergency evacuation plans, reviewing building plans with developers, educating people on fire and safety, and keeping a detailed record.


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Which courses are taught in Policing and Investigation Degree programs?

A:Typically the courses included in these programs are Legal research, study of American Legal System, and Reward/ Punishment structures and Criminal Law. Through these courses, students can get in depth understanding of the investigation techniques that are needed to become a leading practitioner in this field. Your critical thinking skills and knowledge are enhanced through the real life case studies. Interaction with professionals from this field is also a part of the degree programs; which can teach you the fundamentals of Policing and Investigation.

Q:What type of courses are offered in law enforcement degree programs?

A:Law Enforcement degree programs emphasize on the following courses: *Human stress studies *Group behavior theory *Reward/ punishment structures *Change management *History of legal system Through these courses, you can get hands on practical knowledge of law enforcement procedures and techniques applied in the field.

Q:What careers can be pursued with Law Enforcement Policing Investigation Degrees at bachelor level?

A:Students who complete the bachelor degree in Law Enforcement Policing Investigation can begin various careers at entry level. A few career paths that can be followed include job positions of DEA agent, state insurance fraud investigator, private security officer, corporation security personnel, and other positions in government agencies. Law Enforcement Policing Investigation Degrees offer a range of rewarding and challenging careers.

Q:Name a few schools offering Online Law Enforcement Policing Investigation Degrees?

A:Online Law Enforcement Policing Investigation Degrees are offered to students by many renowned schools such as: Lewis University, Capella University, Kaplan University, Anna Maria College Online Walden University, Western International University, Regis University, Grand Canyon University, and South University. The above mentioned schools offer accredited Online Law Enforcement Policing Investigation Degrees.

Q:Can I know all about adult distance criminal investigation education?

A:Adult distance education is basically continuing education through which professionals can achieve credentials and qualifications while working. These programs have been deigned for adults who wish to continue higher studies through online programs and increase their career prospects. Adult distance criminal investigation education is continuing online education programs in the field of criminal investigation. Students must complete a few courses and electives in order to attain degree in this field. This program is offered by many online schools in the US.

Q:What are the degrees in policing that I can go for?

A:There are a large number of degrees in policing that you can enroll for. The most basic degrees available are diplomas and certifications. These degrees can prepare you for further education or for entry-level positions in policing. Higher education degrees include 2 year associate's degrees, 3-4 year bachelor's degrees, 1-2 year master's degrees and doctoral degrees.

Q:What are the contents of the contemporary Ethics & Justice course of the Law Policing degree programs in United States?

A:The Law Policing degree programs in United states have a core course on Ethics & Justice. This 4 credits worth course relies heavily on making the students grasp the knowledge and understanding of the ethical frameworks that are present in the criminal justice systems of the country, at federal as well as state level. The course examines all of the ethical theories and roots that underlie contemporary advancements in this field.

Q:As I read about what is the Law Enforcement Policing, it mentioned a course on College Mathematics. Can you please highlight what is involved in this course?

A:It is common to read about the course on college Mathematics while reading on what is the Law Enforcement Policing degree. This 3 credits worth course serves as a review of the basics of mathematics and stresses on topics such as fractions, whole numbers, percentages, fractions, basic stats, solving the problems with the help of algebra as well as principles of geometry.

Q:What is Policing and Investigation?

A:Policing and investigation can be described as using investigative procedures in criminal cases. This field is a major part of the law enforcement sector and is offered as an academic principle by many colleges. Students who wish to pursue detective roles or become police officers can opt for a degree in this area.

Q:Can a degree in law enforcement take the place of experience for a cop?

A:Both a degree in law enforcement and experience for a cop are two separate things and neither can take the place of each other. A degree in law enforcement enables individuals to carry out a variety of tasks efficiently as they have studied about them in depth. Most law enforcement degrees require individuals to have hands on experience by working in different law enforcement departments.

Q:Can you please tell me about the different agencies of law enforcement?

A:Law enforcement agencies basically uphold law and maintain social order. These are vital for every society and mitigating crime. Police, corrections, homeland security, and border patrol are the few main agencies that fall in this category. You can choose a career in any of these fields with a degree in law enforcement.

Q:How long are the associate law enforcement degrees?

A:An associate degree program is a foundation degree program that will normally take two years if an on-campus, traditional route is chosen. However, now a large number of associate degrees in law enforcement are offered online. An online degree has no set time of completion and can be lengthened or shortened based on the demands of the student's lifestyle.

Q:Are law enforcement degree programs appropriate for a career as a probations officer?

A:Yes, with a degree in law enforcement, you can pursue a career as a probations officer. You may have to take further training and acquire skill. A law enforcement degree will familiarize you with the criminal justice sector, criminal proceedings, investigative measures used, and more. For more detail, take a look at our page.

Q:What are the main areas of concentration of law enforcement, policing and investigation degrees?

A:The main areas of concentration of law enforcement, policing and investigation degrees include criminal law and society; history of policing, ethics, culture and the development of law; intelligence legal procedure and evidence; road safety legislation and procedure management; operational investigation placement; investigative interviewing; community engagement and partnership working; leading and managing people.

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