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INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY ASSOCIATION
Together we are stronger

How education can advance your law enforcement, criminal justice career

18 Apr 2017 5:48 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

Are you thinking about a new job or promotion? Wondering about your options for a better career?

Today’s job market requires you to set yourself apart from the competition. Experience, skills, awards and membership in professional groups are certainly worthy methods, but education is vital to gaining job consideration and respect.  

Improved decision making

This carries over to the area of law enforcement, as your education level can often be the determining factor in hiring and/or promotion for second-tier and management posts. In fact, “The Impact of a College-Educated Police Force: A review of the literature,” indicates police officers who have earned a college degree have better overall job performance and greater advancement opportunities than their coworkers without a degree of some kind.

Interestingly, a 2010 research study suggests that having a college degree reduces the likelihood that officers will use force as their first option to gain compliance. The study also indicated educated officers demonstrate greater levels of creativity and problem-solving skills.

Degree options

Boost your education and law enforcement career with an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice administration. Courses in criminal justice degree programs cover topics, theories and practices that deal with law enforcement, courts, corrections, administration and more. 

Degree programs in criminal justice provide a strong academic foundation with an exploration of current key issues in law enforcement that instill a dynamic knowledge base and skill set in students.

Testimonial

Birmingham, Alabama, Police Sergeant Katrina Johnson can attest as she said her online master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Columbia Southern University led to her promotion from a precinct, evening-shift supervisor to an investigator in internal affairs. 

“My degree has enhanced my knowledge in the field of criminal justice administration as it relates to managing personnel and problem-solving,” she added.

However, if a degree is not part of your education plan right now, you may also want to look into certificate programs in areas that could aid your career as well. A few online certificate programs that might interest you include:

  • Project management
  • Public administration
  • Management
  • Human resource management
  • Finance

These certificate programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels and feature 12 semester hours of courses and instruction.

About Columbia Southern University

One of the nation’s pioneer online universities, Columbia Southern University was established in 1993 to provide an alternative to the traditional university experience. CSU offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees such as business administration, criminal justice, fire administration and occupational safety and health. Visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu or call (877) 347-6050 to learn more.

The IPSA has a Learning Partnership with CSU. All Members receive a 10% tuition discount on all online classes and an application fee waiver. Contact us about how to reedem. 


Paynich, R. L., Dr. (2009, February). The Impact of a College-Educated Police Force: A review of the literature [PDF].

Rydberg, J., & Terrill, W. (2010). The Effect of Higher Education on Police Behavior [PDF]. Sage Publications.


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