Online Associate of Police Science University Degree Programs
Police science is a broad term that encompasses the research and study of various aspects of law enforcement. It can include such subjects as forensics, penology, jurisprudence, criminal justice, psychology and community relations. An online associate degree in police science can prepare an individual for work as a police officer, corrections officer, customs agent or parole officer, among other positions.
Associate Degrees in Police Science: Overview
In the past, a high school diploma or its equivalent has been the only prerequisite, other than a clean record, to qualify for entry-level employment in a law enforcement agency. In some cases that still holds true. Because of stricter standards, heightened security awareness and more complicated roles and responsibilities, more agencies and departments have begun to require employees to hold at least an associate degree.
An online associate degree in some category of police science can be convenient, in that it allows for a person already employed in law enforcement (or another field) to retain full-time employment while studying for the degree part-time.
Earning an Online Degree
By way of delivery systems software such as Blackboard and ANGEL, students access online classrooms and Web pages, where they communicate with classmates and instructors, send e-mail, participate in discussions and complete assignments. All of this is done at the student's choice of time and place. Although the online program offers a great deal more flexibility than an on-campus program, in general, individuals are expected to keep up with an assignment schedule and establish regular communication with the university or school.
Although most courses leading to an associate's degree in police science can be completed entirely online, some programs contain a practical or clinical aspect. In such cases students may be required to participate in an on-campus session or session set up in cooperation with a local law enforcement agency.
Types of Online Associate Degree Programs
Depending on the university or school, programs leading to an Associate of Science, Associate of Arts or Associate in Applied Science require from 60-64 credit hours. These include roughly 24 credit hours of general education courses, covering social science, mathematics, humanities and communications. Most online police science associate degrees are actually degrees in criminal justice with a concentration in a certain area, such as psychology, law enforcement, homeland security, corrections or crime scene evidence.
With courses in social psychology, community psychology and abnormal psychology, individuals following this concentration gain an understanding of deviant and criminal behavior and how it develops. This specialty focuses on why a crime is committed and the factors involved.
Law Enforcement Concentration
This concentration is specifically designed for individuals who are interested in becoming police officers. Courses include such subjects as practical law enforcement psychology, criminal law and procedure, ethics and investigation.
Homeland Security Concentration
Emergency services and community risk assessment are areas emphasized in a program specializing in homeland security. With courses focusing on terrorism and identifying and coping with various challenges to American security procedures, individuals are prepared for positions in customs, immigration services or border security.
Courses in the corrections concentration include counseling, principles of correction and case management procedures. The focus of this program is on dealing with communication, critical thinking and ethical reasoning in multicultural and ethnically diverse situations.
Crime Scene Evidence Concentration
Evidence technicians and crime scene specialists follow a program that includes courses in forensic science as well as crime scene investigation and analysis. Establishing the boundaries of a crime scene and the principles and procedures of searching that crime scene for specific evidence are among the focal points of this concentration. Students also learn the procedures for preserving, preparing and presenting evidence.
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