Criminal Justice Degree Vs Police Academy: Similarities and Differences

Criminal Justice Degree Vs Police Academy: Similarities and Differences

May 6, 2021 Off By Glespynorson

Budding police officers and sheriffs are likely to find themselves facing an important question: as an early-stage professional, is it better to attend a police academy or to pursue a criminal justice degree? The answer is complex, and it is likely to vary based on each individual’s circumstances. However, there’s evidence to suggest that it won’t harm you to do both – and it may, in fact, even help you in your career. This article will explain more.

The Similarities

To begin with, it is worth exploring the overlap between the two courses. There is a lot of learning to do: both a police academy recruit and a criminal justice degree student are likely to follow a curriculum exploring topics such as the nature of crime, the effectiveness of prevention methods, crisis management, and much more. Values of hard work, empathy and discipline are also instilled in both environments – though in very different ways.

The Differences

As the name suggests, police academy training offers a more specialized experience. It trains people specifically to take up the profession of policing, whereas a criminal justice degree can open up doors both to policingand to other careers. Entering the police academy is only for those who want to serve in a force. A criminal justice degree can help you to become a probation officer, a private investigator or something else.

It is also likely that those who attend a police academy will need to engage with a range of different skills. In a police academy, life is hard. It is likely that you will need to build your endurance through a regime of physical fitness training, waking up early, and more – which stands in contrast to a criminal justice degree, in which learning takes place through books and lectures. Discipline is key in a police academy setting. In a criminal justice degree setting, it is less important – especially if you choose an online criminal justice degree from an institution offering one, such as Central Christian College of Kansas with its well-regarded tutors. It is still essential, though, to ensure that essays and assignments are all handed in on time.

Doing Both

One recommended route into policing is to capitalize on the fact that there are similarities and pursue both a criminal justice degree and also police academy training. Those who go down this route are likely to find that they get the best of both worlds, and can complement their in-person, practical training at the academy with more academic knowledge at a college.

Ultimately, there is no defined route into policing – and as many who have worked in this field for a long time will know, it is possible to mix and match a background at a police academy and in the classroom in order to become the best possible officer you can be.