Police Colleges: Schooling Requirements and Degree Program Options
Becoming a police officer requires specialized training at a police academy, which may be offered through community colleges, vocational schools and law enforcement organizations. Police officer training may be a standalone certificate program or part of an associate's or bachelor's degree program.
How to Select a Police College
Training at a police academy takes about three months without an additional degree program. An associate's degree with police academy training requires about two years of full-time study. Academy graduates are immediately qualified to start working as police officers, and may eligible for promotion after at least six months of employment.
Because police officers are government employees, individuals may wish to look for police institutes that are state-approved, to ensure the curriculum meets a police department's educational standards. Students can also look a police school's job placement rate to judge the types of agencies that hire a school's graduates and graduates' success in finding employment in law enforcement.
Degree Program Options
Career goals often guide a student's choice of a police college toward institutes offering degree options that match a student's long-term goals. A police academy certificate qualifies an individual for general field work at the regional or state level. Working as a detective or for the FBI requires a bachelor's degree, so individuals who want to advance in local, state or federal law enforcement can look for police schools that offer training as part of a 4-year degree program.
Police academy schooling is available to U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old and do not have a criminal history. Prospective students must also be in good physical shape and hold a high school diploma.
After admittance into police training school, individuals complete physical education and classroom courses in law, interrogation techniques and report writing. Practical application courses include firearms training, defensive tactics, CPR and first aid.
Colleges and Universities by Largest Student Enrollment
|College/University||Student Population||Institution Type|
|Arizona State University||67,082||4-year, Public|
|Miami Dade College||57,222||4-year, primarily associate's, Public|
|Houston Community College||48,169||2-year, Public|
|Michigan State University||46,510||4-year, Public|
|University of South Florida - Main Campus||46,189||4-year, Public|
|Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus||44,406||4-year, Public|
|Northern Virginia Community College||42,663||2-year, Public|
|Lone Star College System||41,345||2-year, Public|
|College of Southern Nevada||40,310||4-year, primarily associate's, Public|
|Tarrant County College District||39,596||2-year, Public|
|University of Arizona||38,057||4-year, Public|
|Riverside Community College||36,146||2-year, Public|
|Rutgers University - New Brunswick||36,041||4-year, Public|
|Austin Community College District||35,798||2-year, Public|
|Valencia Community College||35,460||2-year, Public|
|City College of San Francisco||34,868||2-year, Public|
|University of Maryland - University College||34,172||4-year, Public|
|Pima Community College||34,136||2-year, Public|
|East Los Angeles College||34,065||2-year, Public|
|Santa Ana College||33,916||2-year, Public|
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