Law enforcement is a multidisciplinary field within the realm of criminal justice. Despite popular belief, there are many paths you can take beyond the traditional police officer jobs. Within the field of law enforcement, you can become a criminal investigator, a DEA or FBI agent, a border protection officer, even a fish and game warden. And this is just the beginning.
If you are here, you may already have a specific career goal in mind. Your next step is now to obtain a postsecondary education at a law enforcement college in your state. Fact of the matter is, most state and local agencies today prefer applicants who chose to continue their educations after high school, taking college courses and training directly related to law enforcement. Federal agencies, similarly, require that all applicants hold a college degree.
Today, there are many colleges and universities that offer programs in law enforcement and criminal justice. For aspiring protectors like you, the challenge lies in choosing the right school for the job. Which law enforcement college can set you down a path towards success? Which program offers the most comprehensive training, but also fits with your schedule, your goals, and your needs?
With a little detective work, choosing the right law enforcement college can come trouble-free, without trial and error. As a leading criminal justice school in Connecticut, Goodwin College has compiled the top four components to look for in a law enforcement college.
- Multiple program offerings
One of the most critical aspects to look for in a law enforcement college is variety. This field is a multi-dimensional one, and the right school will offer several different, yet relevant majors and degree paths leading to a law enforcement career. Even if you know exactly what you want to do, having options and diversity in your coursework will allow you to gain a range of applicable skills that can be used in the law enforcement field. At Goodwin College, we offer three different majors for students interested in law enforcement. Upon acceptance to the college, you can choose to major in:
- Criminal Justice (associate degree)
- Homeland Security (associate degree)
- Public Safety (Bachelor’s degree as well as certificate-level offerings)
Our criminal justice curriculum emphasizes criminal investigation, criminal procedure, and the development of the criminal justice system. In comparison, our homeland security courses focus on emergency planning, the National Incident Management System, and personal and physical security. In our advanced public security program, students learn everything from grant writing to risk assessment, research methodology to policy analysis, as well as overall safety and security planning.
- Hands-on and on-the-job training
Law enforcement positions typically require on-the-job training and supervised experience in areas such as patrol, traffic control, firearm use, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In investigating different law enforcement colleges, then, it is important to choose one that offers you just this: experience. Applying your learned skills to real-world practice. Using techniques that working officers and investigators employ in their day to day jobs.
At Goodwin, criminal justice and law enforcement students are required to complete 150 hours of in-field internship training. We partner with organizations like the American Red Cross, Community Court at Hartford, Connecticut Adult Probation, the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, as well as local fire departments, police departments, and judicial branches in order to give our students well-rounded, hands-on experience in the law enforcement field.
- Career-focused curriculums
Side-by-side with hands-on training is a need for a career focus. In any law enforcement college you choose, there must be an emphasis on students’ long-term career aspirations. This may come in the form of student internships to help you practice real world law enforcement skills. Or, it may mean working directly under industry experts. At Goodwin, you will find a mix of both.
Here, students are required to go out into the field to pursue on-the-job training. But even in the classroom, they are still obtaining must-have law enforcement training. Our criminal justice classes, for example, are taught by law enforcement professionals such as police commanders, detectives, state troopers, attorneys, and military veterans. The information they share with you will go beyond any textbook learnings, and is the kind of knowledge most professionals won’t get until they join the force.
Be sure to also look at the college’s career services offerings—these will provide you with a leg up when joining the workforce down the road. At Goodwin College, we are equipped with a Career Services team as well as an extensive network of Connecticut law enforcement employers that are here to provide you with a lifetime of career placement and counseling support — for free and forever.
- Program flexibility
You deserve a law enforcement college that offers classes on your schedule, not a course schedule you have to work around. Choose a program that fits into your schedule and caters to your needs, whether you are working part-time or full-time. The law enforcement courses at Goodwin, for example, are offered on days and evenings, in part-time or full-time stints. Not only this, but classes are offered three times a year here at Goodwin, meaning you can complete your degree in less time than a traditional college.
What’s your verdict? Investigating the different law enforcement colleges in your area, asking the right questions, and looking for these four constituents will be the greatest step towards your education. If you are interested in learning more about earning a degree at Goodwin, visit Goodwin.edu/learn-more today.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.