Can I Receive Any College Credit For My Work Completed At a Police Academy?

Different law enforcement agencies have different requirements for hiring and training police officers. The majority of state police agencies, for instance, require a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a closely related field and successful completion of a state police academy. Police officers in large metropolitan areas often have similar requirements, with training sometimes coming through police academies offered by colleges or universities. In some cases, an undergraduate degree is not required in order to enter into a position on a local police force. In addition to the training gained through a police academy, the time and effort can also pay off by giving academy graduates a head start with college credit.

Police Academy Training and Skills

Police academies are offered by different state police agencies, local police agencies, and colleges and universities. Many of these academies offer training specific to a local area, such as learning laws specific to a state or city. In addition to these courses, most police academy attendees will take courses in fire arms training, officer safety, writing reports, professional ethics for police officers, defensive tactics, evidence collection, juvenile law, and crime scene management.

During coursework, police academies also include physical training. Each of these parts of the academy helps to prepare candidates for fieldwork training, where future police officers are able to work alongside professional law enforcement agents. Completion of fieldwork training is a requirement for most police academies, whether offered through local agencies, the state government, or individual colleges.

Additional information on the accepted standards and requirements for prospective law enforcement can be reviewed at the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training website.

Criminal Justice Degree Curriculum

There are a number of options for pursuing a post-secondary degree in criminal justice. Local community colleges often offer associate’s degrees in criminal justice, and universities across the United States offer both bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in criminal justice. Students take a variety of courses that typically include classes in criminology, introduction to law, policing, corrections, police administration, security, professional ethics in criminal justice, report writing, and juvenile justice. To find additional information on criminal justice education, visit the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Much of the coursework completed in a criminal justice degree program at a college or university is also studied and completed at police academies, so in many cases, the courses and training of a police academy curriculum are transferable into a degree program. While the number of credits varies, typically around 20 to 24 credits are accepted as credit by most colleges and universities. For specific information on how many credits can be earned toward a degree through police academy training, review the transfer credit policies of individual institutions.

Police officers must be prepared for all types of situations, and the knowledge and skills gained through both police academy training and completion of a college degree are beneficial for this preparation. Completion of a police academy can offer the benefit of preparing a future police officer for the job while at the same time helping individuals earn credits to transfer into a college criminal justice or police officer training program.