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Can I still become a police officer or state trooper?
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Can I still become a police officer or state trooper?

I'm currently in college right now and about to change my major to criminal justice. Once I get a degree in that, i plan on becoming a law enforcement officer, but the thing is that i have used marijuana one time in my life a couple of years ago and immediately realized that i didn't like it. First and last time i use/will use it. will this affect my eligibility in the future since i heard you have to take a polygraph test? also, does anyone know the average salary an officer makes nowadays and is the hiring rate for officers still in demand or is it much harder to get a job say, 4 years from now?


2010-11-09 01:14:54 +0000
You could still become a police officer. As other posters have suggested, consider not changing your major or changing it to something other than criminal justice. There are many good degrees for police officers. When choosing a degree think about what you might want to do on the side job or what you might want to do after you retire from police work. Also, think about what you might want to specialize in as a police officer if you ever get the chance. Whatever major you choose, get the highest grade point average that you can, and don't do anything else that could jeopardize your chances of becoming a police officer. Having tried marijuana one time won't disqualify you from becoming a police officer. Some departments won't hire you if you've used it within a certain number of years, but having only used it once more than five years ago from the time you apply shouldn't be a problem for you. Many police departments do require applicants to take and pass a polygraph test. Don't worry about it. Be completely honest. Police officer salaries vary, sometimes a lot, depending on the department.

2010-11-07 21:55:35 +0000
I just wanted to stop by and agree with the above answers about the criminal justice degree. Don't get a criminal justice degree. Every pawn and their mothers have criminal justice degrees, they don't mean anything.

A degree in psychology, any type of technology field, languages, or anything else is better than a criminal justice degree.

2010-11-07 21:53:06 +0000
I agree, do not get a criminal justice degree, get anything else. They will teach you everything in the academy and it is not required. I would say that a lot of people including police officers have tried marijuana once or twice, or drinking in high school. It would only be an addiction or criminal charges that would cause you any problem getting a job. Yes they evaluate you and and ask you a lot of questions but you can just be honest.

2010-11-07 20:53:18 +0000
Average salary is impossible since all pay different. Just google the recruitment page for the department you want. They will tell you the pay and process of application hiring.
An example; Highland Park Michigan cops get about $15,000 a year with no benefits.
Highland Park Illinois cops start at $52,000 with all kinds of benefits.

Forget criminal justice as a major. Useless for future cop. Major in what you like but do not believe that cj or police science will help you get a cop job any better than a major in literature or biology.

Years ago and experimentation are fine, no problem. Many even state so on their recruitment page.
If you lie or mis-state trying to make things look better or answer the way you think they want you to you will be kicked out, immediately.

2010-11-07 23:28:26 +0000
The marijuana episode will have no bearing on future employment in law enforcement.

However think carefully about going into criminal justice. It seems to be a fad and thousands of young people are enrolled and have no chance to be hired as police officers because they are not qualified. Just because you earn a degree in CJ it does not mean that you are automatically a police officer. In fact many departments are not impressed at all with that degree.

Right now the national stats say that about 1 in 100 applicants get hired in law enforcement. Pretty long odds.

2010-11-07 20:56:17 +0000
You SHOULD be oki..


DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME getting a degree in Criminal Justice..

1st reason.. if you get injured and are no longer able to work in law enforcement you have a degree that is worthless...

2nd.. NO PD that requires you to have a degree requires it to be a Criminal justice degree..

so.. Stay in school.. get a degree in something else you like..
when you are out of school.. go to the police academy.. then get a job

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