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If you get a degree in Criminal Justice do you still have to attend the academy?
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If you get a degree in Criminal Justice do you still have to attend the academy?

What is the real reason for having a degree in Criminal Justice if you still have to go through the academy?

Have you ever heard of a way for someone to become a police officer without going through the academy?
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I'm asking because I am sick of those commercials pushing people to get a degree in criminal justice. Why spend 4 years in college getting the degree when you could become a cop right now and let them pay for your school if you decide to get a degree later?


I don't think you need to attend the academy, but it depends on what you plan to do as a police officer, like fighting cybercrime or patrolling on the streets. But I am glad you will help make us safer.
Good luck!

You don't go to the academy just to learn criminal justice. You have to have physical training, mental training, using firearms, etc. You can't go into police work without any of that knowledge that would some day save your life.

Hilary Y
Goodness girl - you don't just need to know the law to be a police officer. There's far more to it than that - and that's what they teach you in the academy.

Yes, the Academy is a must...

Not to my knowledge. Having a Criminal Justice Degree helps later on if you take a promotional test. The academy introduces you to life as a police officer. You will get more hands on training there.

You still have a lot more to learn that the academy will teach you.

Any person has to graduate a POST approved academy, a few colleges have POST included in thier schooling, ( in a few states) but most or the majority of states have thier own academies. Also some police departments require you pass thier academy even if you are POST certified in thier same state.

Also very few states reconise POST certification form one state to another, so you may be POST certified have worked for 10 years in one state and move to another state and have to go all though the academy again.

But the issue is that in general there are 100 or more appliations to any one opening, so for most of the better departments you will need a college degree to ever get hired.

Of course, no one become a police officer without graduating from the police academy.

Hugo L
In order to become a police officer one must attend police academy. In the academy is were rookies train for a period of time. (depends on the state.) After completing the academy then the rookie starts his or her job. As for the CJ degree, its not just for future police officers, its for anyone who wants to work in the criminal justice system. there are a lot of jobs for people with CJ degrees in court houses, probations, department of justice, and its a good undergrad degree. Like myself I am going to attend law school, and I am working on my BA in criminal justice. As for grad students who may want a master to counsel defendants a CJ degree would be a good idea, for the student to have some time of understanding of the system.

cactus bloom
First, to attend academy in most states does not require 4-year degree. All it requires is a 2-year associate of science degree in criminal justice. Also, most jurisdictions do not do it the other way around. These days there are no shortcuts because law enforcement agencies in general want more professional departments. Don't try to rush it and don't try to take shortcuts, just do it as everyone else does it, in order, one step at a time.

Second, becoming a police officer is not the only thing you can do with a cj degree. You can become a court administrator, or a corrections officer, or continue your education with an associates of arts degree and transfer to a four-year college to study investigations. There are all sorts of jobs you can do. Just call around and ask.

The CJ degree and the academy are two seperate things.
The degree teaches you theory, process, and improves your communication skills. It also improves your ability to advance within many departments. However, a degree has absolutely no bearing on your ability to be an effective officer.
In the academy you learn how to apply laws, and the functions and skills that you will be required to do as an officer. Much of it is hands-on training that you did not do in your degree work. Many people can pass the degree requirements but have no aptitude as a real officer.
Good luck!

Jessica S
The police academy is seperate from whatever college degree you've earned. I've never heard of a department that doesn't send it's new recruits to the police academy.

You will absolutely have to go to the academy, and you want to. The degree will help you in the candidate process, some departments require a Bachelor's Degree. You want to go to the academy because they will teach you how to do the job in the real world. Defensive tactics, firearms, emergency vehicle operation classes (driving fast legally, FUN!), vehicle stops, searching, local laws you need to know, the list goes on and on. Academy varies greatly by jurisdiction, some are as short as 6 weeks, the longest I've heard of is 20 weeks. And then you will have some field training, hopefully with a good, experienced officer.

I've never heard of a department waiving the academy requirement.

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