Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Taking a Law Enforcement Qualification

Law enforcement is one of the most fulfilling pathways that you can choose when you are deciding on your future career. However, before you make the first steps on the law enforcement career ladder, you must ask yourself a few questions to ensure that you know what to expect from this career option; this will allow you to check whether you are making the right decision for you. Here are some of the top questions that everyone should ask themselves before taking the qualifications that they need in policing.


Where do you want to practice?

Whether you want to take employment in the public sector in your country or abroad, you must decide upon the location that you want to start your career before you apply to college. The area where you want to practice policing and law enforcement can affect the type of degree that you take and the college that you apply for, especially in policing and criminology, where courses will be tailored toward the specific laws and regulations of the country in question. This means that you may have to attend a college in that country that you plan to start your career in.

Click here to help you to decide if you want to practice policing in the US or Canada and to find out more about the impact of this upon your degree. If you’re going to move to Canada for your career, you have the option of joining federal, municipal, and provincial forces. Whereas federal options include the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Metropolitan Urban Community Police, there are also state-specific forces, such as the Metropolitan Toronto Police.

Many factors may affect your decision on where to practice law enforcement, and these include:

  • The availability of job roles and where you can apply for jobs within the country.
  • The risks and dangers of police officers in the country.
  • Whether you want to work in your home country to give back to the community.
  • The long-term impact that your work will have on the country.
  • The starting salary of policing in the country.
  • The educational and experience-based requirements and the training schemes that are on offer.
  • If you are disqualified from practicing in some countries for any reason.
  • The physical requirements for the job roles.


Which degree should you choose?

Although you may have decided on a career in law enforcement, this does not mean that there is only one pathway that you should approach. In fact, there are many colleges across the country- and the world- which offers degrees that can suit you in the long term. When you are choosing the right degree for you, you should consider whether you want to take an online degree or a degree at a traditional institution. Then, it is paramount that you take the time to consider some of the other significant factors which could impact what you get out of your course, such as the knowledge and skills that you can obtain from it.

For instance, you should try to pick a course which has:

  • Access to a vast professional network.
  • Excellent lecturers with direct experience of law enforcement.
  • A course that offers practical modules and work experience.
  • A degree that has high levels of engagement and good access to resources.
  • Modules that interest you and which correspond to the career path that you want.

You should also decide which law enforcement degree that you should take in line with the outcome that you are aiming for. For instance, you may want to choose one that relates to a specialism, such as criminology, or you may simply want to take a broader and more generalized degree that can be used to work toward a range of career options in the future.


What effect will law enforcement have on your life?

There was an increase of over 16,000 police officers from 2017-18, partly due to the high numbers of new graduates in BA Policing and Criminology degrees.

Law enforcement is not a career choice to be undertaken lightly, and there are many factors that you need to consider before you make a final decision in deciding whether a career in policing or criminology is right for you. Careers in law enforcement are vocations and can quickly overtake every aspect of your life. You need to understand the impact that a career in law enforcement can have on your life before you take a qualification in the subject.

For instance, you need to understand that policing can have a significant impact on your work/life balance. Careers in law enforcement and criminology often have incredibly long hours, you may be involved in stressful situations regularly, and careers in the sector can have a negative impact on your mental health. You may also succumb to issues such as law enforcement fatigue, which occurs due to the hectic daily lives of police officers and those in related careers. Not only this, but there are many risks involved for those who are looking to work in the police force, such as dangers to your physical person.

However, that is not to say that careers in law enforcement are without their benefits, with police officers making a positive contribution to the community and helping to reduce crime in local areas. You will also be able to experience new circumstances every day, which can prevent your career from becoming dull. There are also many progression opportunities within the police force, such as becoming a chief officer. You can also receive many job benefits, such as tuition reimbursement, facilities for your fitness, and a good retirement plan. You will also receive extra pay for any irregular hours that you work.


What can you gain from a law enforcement degree?

Before you decide to take up a law enforcement degree, you must realize what you could gain from it, both in terms of your education and career prospects, and the type of knowledge and skills that you will be learning. This will ensure that you can make a good decision in terms of whether a law enforcement degree is right for you.

A law enforcement degree will allow you to advance past the education barriers, which can be an issue for those looking to go into policing as a career. They can help you to boost your resume and allow you to be in a better position to apply for your dream positions, ensuring that you can stand out from other candidates and increase your overall employability.

They will also allow you to gain the soft and transferable skills that you need to become a valued law enforcement officer. For instance, a degree in law enforcement can:

  • Teach you how to lead correctly.
  • Help you to become adaptable and resourceful.
  • Help you to prepare for the demanding situations that you might encounter by honing your problem-solving skills.

Not only this but if you are already in the law enforcement sector and are thinking of taking a degree, signing up for a policing qualification can open your job prospects by allowing you to aim for a promotion or apply for positions higher within the service that you are working for. Degrees can then enable you to take on positions of responsibility as soon as possible by helping you to understand the running and operations of your local police force.


What are the potential career pathways?

Before you decide to commit to a law enforcement qualification, you must consider the potential career pathways that these degrees can offer you. Not only will you be able to become a police officer or criminologist (two of the most popular career pathways), but there is also a selection of exciting and meaningful careers that are less well-known with law enforcement degrees.

In fact, the number of jobs that you can choose from is incredibly varied and dependent on your individual skills, experience, and abilities. You may also want to select a pathway following its average salary. To find a career pathway that suits you, here are the jobs that you can get with a law enforcement degree: 

  • Police officer
  • FBI and CIA agent
  • Crime Scene investigator
  • State trooper
  • Probation officer
  • Criminologist
  • Corrections officer

These roles are not always active, however, and they can also include civilian policing roles, such as those in IT and computing, victim support, and administration. Although these are not as directly impacting the community as officer careers, they are just as important and work best for those that want to make a difference without being on the front line. There are also several roles in public safety, such as event control and jobs in occupational safety, which are completely necessary and integral to the police force, but which diverge from the more traditional options.

Taking a law enforcement degree is a significant step towards your eventual career in policing or criminology. There are many questions that you need to ask yourself to ensure that you are making the right decision, both in your career choice and in the specific course that you have decided to sign up for, which can help you to come to the ultimate decision.