Becoming a police officer needs more than the desire to help people and maintain peace and order. Police work is challenging and ever-evolving that’s why it takes serious study as well. Most police officers earn a college degree or go on to take courses related to the job in top cop schools in the U.S. (Bachelors Degree Center, n.d.). The chosen degree must pave the way for a more favorable career, deliver an advantage over other candidates at the time of job application, and become a worthy investment for the future (Criminal Justice Degree Hub, n.d.).
If you’re wondering where to start looking for top schools for police officers, this article can be an excellent resource. We’ve included educational institutions that offer Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Police Science, and Cybersecurity courses.
Aside from character, one’s ambition of becoming a police officer also depends now on the school that one attended and the chosen degree. The school must have a huge selection of criminal justice or criminology courses, provide an opportunity to be mentored by expert faculty, offer numerous options for writing research and/or professional advancement, and ensure its students of a high chance of graduating not to be just cops but good ones (Muniz, 2020).
According to the 2017 report on the education, philosophy, and practice of the police, over 30.2% of the US police force obtained a four-year college program, 51.8% obtained a two-year course, and 5.4% obtained a graduate degree (Gardiner, n.d.). People entrust their lives to the police—and the police should only stand true to their sworn oath by making these numbers go up.
Compiled in this list are the best value colleges for a degree in criminal justice. The basis for selection includes affordability, accreditation, and graduation rates.
Arizona State University offers a degree in criminology and criminal justice that analyzes the roots and consequences of a crime while taking ideas from sociology, psychology, and biology. The course also provides learning opportunities through over 200 partner institutions.
The university has a 58% graduation rate.
The criminology and criminal justice degree offered at the University of Michigan-Dearborn takes concepts from social and behavioral sciences to analyze the relationship between offenses and law enforcement. Students also study the relationship between policy and ethics and the criminal justice system in an open democracy, as well as apply theory and practices to bring out better community results (Best Value Schools, 2021).
The university offers an additional year of study to the program to let students obtain a master’s degree. Its graduation rate is 50%.
California State University-Long Beach is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The university is situated on a 322-acre campus in the Los Angeles beach district. Its criminology and criminal justice degree prepares students in the fields of law enforcement, social services, policy and government, and forensic sciences. Students also finish placements and internships, with courses on crime analysis, criminal trials, forensic analysis approaches, and advanced crime. Also, they will learn to use digital tools such as crime analytics software.
About 65% of students graduate from this school.
Indiana University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and caters to over 110,000 students. The university prepares students to become law enforcers and corrections officers through its criminal justice degree. Students tackle discussions on private security, work-related crime, military bases, and the youth and the law. Students can also take electives, such as the psychology of criminal justice, the relationship between crime and gender, and the relationship between crime and race (Best Value Schools, 2021).
About 78% of students graduate from this school.
University of Georgia offers a criminal justice degree, which is a combination of progressive instruction and research approaches, and other criminology discussions. Discussions include law and ethics, social control institutions, and elements of a crime. The university states that its program is a great gateway for a pre-law degree.
About 85% of students graduate from this school.
Four good cop schools offer a wide variety of degree options and a reputation for a police career (Study.com, 2019). Take a look at these top schools to study police science and law enforcement.
John Jay College (City University of New York) offers a Bachelor of Science in Police Studies, which teaches students about criminal justice, police science, patrol function, and community policing. Students can also learn more about police systems and labor relations in policing from this school.
Founded in 1964, John Jay College of Criminal Justice has transformed to become a global leader in justice education. The college prepares students to serve the public as moral leaders and responsible citizens through its comprehensive liberal arts and professional program.
Tuition costs $3,165 (12-18 credits) for New Yorker students and $560 per credit hour for out-of-state students.
George Washington University offers police science associate and bachelor’s degrees, which prepare students to take leadership and law enforcement roles. This program also teaches students to analyze, solve problems, apply technology, and understand how a crime affects a community. Experts on law enforcement discuss the main standards, strategies, and principles in modern policing (Bachelors Degree Center, n.d.).
Tuition costs $39,000.
The US News and World Report included St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in the 2012 top national universities. The university has a Bachelor of Science in Police Science in the Twin Cities and the Apple Valley Center.
Tuition costs $400 for each credit.
Florida State University believes that a robotic response to crime will not work. The university also maintains that the most important tools in preventing crime are critical and independent thinking skills, as well as learning from brilliant professors.
Florida State University offers online degrees in criminology, a flexible option for working students, and a rare opportunity to be taught by prominent faculty. Completion of the associate of arts degree is required before enrolling in the program (Bachelors Degree Center, n.d.).
Tuition is $215 per credit for in-state students and $721 for out-of-state students.
This section lists some of the top cop schools with diverse police science degrees (Bachelors Degree Center, n.d.). These degrees guarantee a compelling police career and future.
Ohio University offers the Criminology Special Curriculum for those who wish to study the criminal justice system yet obtain a liberal arts degree. This curriculum also gives students the key framework for advanced law or criminology. Students who finish the program will obtain a degree in sociology with an emphasis on criminology.
Tuition costs $5,268 per semester for in-state students and $9,750 for out-of-state students.
Cedar Crest College has a behavioral-focused program. This program explains the root of criminal behavior, preparing students to help prevent acts of crime and take necessary measures for those that have already occurred.
The entire curriculum entails a 220-hour senior experience, which allows students to apply their learning and secure employment. It also promises a career in the criminal justice system. The interns and alumni of the college are recognized for their ethics and extensive knowledge (Bachelors Degree Center, n.d.).
Tuition is at $35,000.
Hawkeye Community College offers a certificate training program to law enforcement institutions employing police officers. The college also offers reserve officer certification programs. Moreover, it conducts training on proper firearms use.
Tuition costs $3,150 annually.
Miami University offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, which is a liberal arts take on crime, justice, punishment, policing, and the legal system. The course teaches skills in analytical and critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, technology, and more. The goal is to produce knowledgeable, experienced, and skilled students who will succeed in their future police careers (Bachelors Degree Center, n.d.).
Tuition costs $25,122 per school year for in-state students and $41,229 for out-of-state students.
George Mason University takes a dynamic approach to criminology, law, and society. In this university, students will establish a solid foundation in research, methods, theories and systems of justice, and more. Students will graduate possessing the necessary knowledge and skills to understand crime and injustice, how criminals and civil justice institutions respond, and how to improve social situations.
Tuition costs $5,376 per semester for in-state students and $15,699 for out-of-state students.
Oklahoma Baptist University prepares students to take a more in-depth view of the entire criminal justice through its criminal justice degree (Bachelors Degree Center, n.d.). The degree teaches students about criminal law and policy, organizations of police and correctional systems, and more.
Tuition is at $21,630.
Cybersecurity involves the use of computer systems to monitor and prevent cybercrimes. Here are the best universities that offer cybersecurity courses.
Drexel University is recognized by the National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (Cyber Degrees, 2021). The university offers a full-time, on-campus cybersecurity degree, in which students should pick a specialization either in computing technology or computing security. A part-time degree-completion course online is also available to transfer students with two-year experience.
Drexel’s basic course prerequisites cover network administration, IT security, and open servers. Tuition costs $17,956/on-campus term and $530/online credit. The graduation rate is 74%.
Maryville University of Saint Louis offers a cybersecurity degree that culminates in business laws. Each student receives an iPad and teams up with a coach to personalize the program. The curriculum covers general education, business, cybersecurity, and elective subjects.
Tuition costs $24,766 annually for on-campus students and $622 per credit for online students. The graduation rate is 74%.
DePaul University is recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity. DePaul offers a cybersecurity degree through its College of Computing and Digital Media, which focuses on information systems security engineering.
The university has a security facility, equipped by Cisco, to train students in virtual private networks (VPNs), firewalls, and threat detection and preventive measures (Cyber Degrees, 2021). Tuition costs $40,551 annually and the graduation rate is 71%.
St. John University offers a cybersecurity degree to prepare students for future occupations in Fortune 500 firms and law enforcement institutions. The program focuses on basic math, programming, and computing.
Tuition is $1,439 per credit and the graduation rate is 61%.
Every day is a chance for a police officer to improve people’s lives, whether it is patrolling a crime-prone town, responding to abuse, or reporting an accident. In the process, they will need not only their field experience but also knowledge of police software that they must leverage to perform their duties. Police officers are expected to be proficient in using digital tools such as law enforcement records management system solutions and evidence software among others. This is because police work does involve a lot of paperwork.
Regardless of the stress, criticisms, and risks of police work, a police officer is responsible for keeping a community safe and liveable. More than just following orders, a good police officer sees his or her job as a purpose. As former Wisconsin police chief David Couper puts it in his Improving Police blog, the police should not just protect society but improve it. (Criminal Justice Programs, n.d.).
Need more inspiration? Our guide on criminology careers can provide additional insights on professions related to police work. If addressing crime and justice on and off the streets appeals to you, you can shift gears and take a more cerebral approach to get to the heart of the problem via such courses like an online master’s degree in criminal justice.