Police Science Degree

Police Science primarily deals with the identification and investigation of crime. Police officers and detectives are responsible for responding to emergency calls, collecting relevant evidence, arresting suspects, interviewing criminals, preparing cases, and testifying in courts.

Owing to the increase in crime, public disorder, and the possibility of terrorist attacks, police officers today are confronted with more challenges and responsibilities. Some of these include first response duties and homeland security.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Police Science Degree?

Many schools in the US, such as the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, WSU Tech and Lorain County Community College, are offering Police Science degrees. Students can enroll in a 2-year long Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Police Science or a 4-year long Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Police Studies. The bachelors degree offers concentration in several areas including Police Administration & Management, Crime Analysis & Intelligence and Investigative Science.

What Are the Requirements to Complete a Police Science Degree?

Students enrolled in the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Police Science have to complete around 61-67 credits and those enrolled in the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Police Studies have to complete around 120 credits. The curriculum is based on a range of subjects such as Criminal Justice Investigation, Introduction to Police Operations, Police Supervision, Terrorism & Homeland Security, Juvenile Delinquency and Justice, and Criminal Justice Interview.

How Much Can I Make after Completing a Police Science Degree?

After completing the degree, graduates can find employment at Correctional Facilities and Law Enforcement Agencies. As per the data shared by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Police and Detectives made a yearly median pay of $63,380 in 2018. Forecasts indicate that the job opportunities for these professionals are likely to grow by 5% in the next ten years.

What are the requirements for becoming a police officer?


Although, the minimum educational requirement for the position of a police officer is a high school diploma or a GED, many police departments and agencies require candidates to have a college degree or certain number of coursework credits.


In addition to education, rigorous training is a very important pre-requisite.  Aspiring police officers have to enroll in the police training academy where they are trained as recruits. In addition to equipping recruits with knowledge in areas like state and local ordinances, constitutional law, civil rights, and police ethics, the academies provide guided training and experience in traffic control, patrol, using firearms, first-aid, self-defense, and emergency response.

Physical Fitness

Since most of the police science jobs are physically demanding and challenging, candidates will be required to take a series of tests and meet physical fitness standards. These may include vision, hearing, strength and agility tests. Agencies also administer periodic drug tests.

Additional Requirements

Other requirements that need to be fulfilled require candidates to be US citizens, and at least twenty one years of age. They must hold a valid driving license, and have no past record of criminal conduct or felony convictions. Moreover, proficiency in a foreign language and previous work experience is viewed positively by police departments and agencies.

Is Police Science the right field for you?

Even if you fulfill all the necessary requirements, you’ll need to consider if you have the right skill-set and personality traits that are essential for this field. To excel in your career and fulfill the purpose of serving the society well, you’ll need to have a strong level headed personality. You should be able to comprehend and relate to the issues faced by the general public.

Although police officers need to be understanding and sensitive to the general public’s requirements, they should also be able to use force whenever required to protect themselves and others from criminal. Therefore, they must be physically strong and fit. Effective communication skills, leadership qualities, patience, determination, and the ability to deal with stress are some of the other important personality traits that are essential to become police officers.

What Police Science Degrees are offered?

The most common degrees available include:

Associate in Police Science

This is typically a two-year degree program offered by vocational schools and community colleges. The curriculum is interdisciplinary and comprehensive, with courses like

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Law
  • Microcomputer Application
  • American National Government

Bachelors in Police Science

A bachelors program is a relatively advanced degree that is usually spread over 3 to 4 years. Some schools allow students to choose from specialty areas such as management, forensic investigations, and security management.

Examples of some of the courses include:

  • Emerging Techniques and Technologies of Policing
  • Demographic Influences on Policing
  • Police Management and Leadership
  • Police Ethics

Program Objectives

  • Provide an understanding of how the criminal justice system works
  • Equip students with the necessary knowledge and training for working in the contemporary law enforcement system
  • Study techniques and procedures to detect and investigate criminal activities
  • Enhance communication and Interpersonal skills

What can I do in the Police Science field?

There are quite a few career options within local and state as well as federal law enforcement.

Some of the jobs that have been listed by Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET Online include:

State and Local law Enforcement

Police and Sheriffs Patrol Officer

They are responsible for enforcing local, tribal, state, and federal laws in order to maintain peace and order. They may be in charge of patrolling a specific area, detecting crimes, and arresting suspects.

This occupation has been identified as having a ‘Bright Outlook’ by O*Net Online.

Median Annual Wage (2012): $55,270 (BLS)
Growth Rate (2012-2022): 3% to 7%

Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs

They work in unincorporated districts and counties, and may take part in legal processes of courts. Some sheriffs and deputy sheriffs are responsible for patrolling local courts, guard juries, and provide other relevant services.

Median Annual Wage (2012): $55,270 (BLS)
Growth Rate (2012-2022): 3% to 7%

This occupation has been identified as having a ‘Bright Outlook’ by O*Net Online.

Transit and Rail Road Police

These police officers are responsible for guarding railroad and transit properties. They make sure that employees as well as passengers are protected from robberies and thefts.

Median Annual Wage (2012): $55,210 (O*NET Online)
Growth Rate (2012-2022): 3% to 7%

Fish and Game Wardens

They enforce laws related to fishing and hunting, and take appropriate action if any kind of violations take place. They may also conduct rescue and search operations.

Median Annual Wage (2012): $48,070 (O*NET Online)
Growth Rate (2012-2022): -2% to2%

Federal Law Enforcement

The jurisdiction of these officials extends throughout the United States. They are assigned specialized responsibilities within federal agencies like Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), US Border Patrol or United States Secret Service.

FBI Agents

These are law enforcement officers or investigators who are required to enforce over 300 federal statutes and conduct investigations regarding sensitive national security issues.  Their work may revolve around issues such as anti-terrorism efforts. Entry level positions in FBI are at GS-5 grade level.

Annual Pay (2014): $27,705--$36,021 (OPM – Office of Personnel Management)

*figures for GS-5 step 1 to step 10

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Can you give me some information about a police science degree?

A:A police science degree program will help you prepare for the police force. You will learn about various aspects of the field including investigation, self-defense, arms, criminal justice, and security. The curriculum will entail a number of theoretical subjects as well as practical subjects. Take a look at our page for more information.

Q:What job can I do after a police science program?

A:A police science program's completion will allow you entry level position as a Police or Detective, who are charged with the responsibility to protect property and lives, their annual median pay was $56,980 (BLS 2012). However you can also look at a career into, Criminal Justice and law Enforcement post-secondary teachers, their median annual pay was also $56,980.

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