It might seem like there are endless opportunities to advance your education and skills within the field of policing. However, this can be challenging when you don’t know where to start. Still, staying on top of new trends, techniques, and technologies is vital to remain competitive in a fast-moving field. That’s because many hiring managers and law enforcement agencies strongly prefer applicants with recent experience with specific training programs or educational courses. This blog post discusses the value of advancing your education in policing and other aspects of the job market. So, keep reading for more information.
Why is it essential to further your education in policing?
Advanced education in policing can give you the skills and experience you need to progress to higher ranks and roles within law enforcement. For some, it starts with a Bachelor’s degree police officer program like one at Wilfrid Laurier University, a degree created for police officers by police officers. But it also continues to a Master’s degree and beyond.
By advancing your education, you improve your opportunities for position advancements. It can include becoming a chief of police, a federal agent, or a consultant. Skills learned through a degree program can help you take on leadership positions and contribute to your agency’s success. And, as society’s needs change, so does law enforcement.
Advancement in policing can help you keep up with these changes by learning new skills, such as incorporating new technologies into your work. Additionally, advancing your education can help you stay competitive in the job market by demonstrating your ability to grow and evolve with your profession.
What can you learn from advanced training?
Advanced training in policing can provide you with the skills necessary to excel in specific jobs. For example, federal agents need to have extensive knowledge about cybercrime and other areas of the law. That’s why schools offer courses related to federal law, such as criminal procedure, evidence, or federal court rules and procedures. Advanced training in policing can also allow you to acquire new skills. For example, you may want to focus on standard operating procedures to help you deal with day-to-day operations in law enforcement.
Why does a degree matter?
A degree can demonstrate the value of furthering your education in policing. For example, it shows hiring managers and other stakeholders that you have a solid educational foundation. Also, it can help position you as a candidate for a given position. Further, a degree shows potential employers you’re serious about your career and value education. Many law enforcement employers expect new hires to have at least a Bachelor’s degree.
Moving into leadership positions
Advanced education can also help you move into leadership positions. For example, you may want to become a chief of police or a sheriff, depending on your location. These positions offer the opportunity to impact the lives of others through your work positively. And, with a leadership role, you have the potential to make a significant impact on your community.
Another opportunity for advanced education in policing is to pursue a degree from an institution affiliated with an existing police department or sheriff’s office. It can be beneficial for several reasons. First, it can allow you to receive hands-on training from local agencies that can help you keep your skills and experience up-to-date. Also, it can enable you to work with other professionals with similar educational and career goals, furthering your network.
Some training programs and educational courses focus more on specific occupations, such as law enforcement or corrections. If you want to pursue one of these career paths, it may be beneficial to complete specialized training. For example, a degree in criminal justice may provide you with general knowledge about the criminal justice system; however, a degree in policing may provide you with more in-depth knowledge about the inner workings of law enforcement, including how to manage officers and patrol the streets.
Getting trained on new police tactics
Over the past few years, many police departments have adopted new tactics, such as community policing, or have tried to introduce new tactics, such as de-escalation training. That’s why it can be beneficial to further your education in policing by completing specific training in new police tactics. It can help you remain on top of recent trends and techniques in your field.
As mentioned, many departments have started incorporating community policing practices into their approach. There’s a good reason why it’s happening. For one, the process helps build trust and accountability between law enforcement officers and community members. It can also help solve problems before they turn into major incidents.
Advancing within federal law enforcement
A growing number of applicants seek advanced degrees in policing. As a result, keeping your skills up to date is vital. And that’s especially true if you want to advance in federal law enforcement. Federal law enforcement agencies, like the FBI, want candidates with degrees. So, those with a knack for problem-solving, a degree, and a willingness to work can succeed as federal agents. Let’s explore career tips for advancing as a federal law enforcement officer.
Becoming an FBI agent
Becoming an FBI agent is challenging and competitive. However, you can make it happen with some hustle and determination. First and foremost, you need a strong desire to fight crime and help people. It would be best if you also had a strong work ethic, positive attitude, strong communication skills, excellent investigative skills, and the ability to work well in a team. FBI agents want to contribute to society by helping fight crime and prevent terrorism. As a result, they work in many areas, including counterterrorism, cybercrime, counterintelligence, criminal investigative programs, and organized crime.
Becoming a special agent
Becoming a special agent is a challenging but rewarding career choice. Special agents serve as the lead investigators for departments like Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), one of the largest investigative arms of the Department of Homeland Security. HSI special agents conduct complex and sensitive investigations focusing on national security or law enforcement. They work to keep the nation safe from terrorism and other threats. Moreover, these agents can work in various settings.
Becoming a border patrol agent
Becoming a border patrol agent is another great career choice in law enforcement. Border patrol agents patrol a country’s borders to prevent illegal crossings, human trafficking, and drug smuggling. They work to keep the public safe and ensure the nation’s assets are protected. Border patrol agents can operate on land or at sea and in various settings, including urban and rural areas. To get a job as an agent, you must undergo a rigorous application process and pass a series of physical and mental agility tests. Typically, you should have two years of experience in law enforcement, with at least one year of that experience at a federal law enforcement agency.
Becoming an immigration enforcement agent
Becoming an immigration enforcement agent is yet another excellent career opportunity. Immigration enforcement agents enforce federal laws related to immigration. Immigration enforcement agents work to keep the public safe and protect the nation’s assets. For instance, these agents achieve their aims by working at the border, airports, ports of entry, and detention centers. So, if you want to consider this a career choice, you should have at least one year of experience as a law enforcement officer. Moreover, you should also have a university degree to enter this field.
Tips to stay competitive in the law enforcement job market.
The job market for law enforcement is competitive. Regardless, you can position yourself as a top candidate with the right education and training. Moreover, with the increasing complexities in the world, such as cybercrime, law enforcement needs well-qualified professionals to continue to move into this exciting career. Getting hired is only the first step. But staying competitive once you’re on the payroll is another story entirely. So, if you want to create a thriving career for the long term, look at the following four quick tips to stay competitive in the job market. They’ll also help you remain relevant from day one.
1. Stay current on trends, especially in your field
It would be best if you stayed on top of current trends as an employee in a competitive field. Moreover, it’s vital to see what’s on the horizon. By staying current on the latest in your area, you’re better able to demonstrate your value to potential employers. So, even if you work as a patrol officer in a small town, for instance, staying informed on current trends related to policing is a must. Further, it would be best if you stay current on trends in the criminal justice field. By keeping an eye on policing and criminal justice trends, you better position yourself to show what makes you unique and valuable. And doing so helps with future promotions.
2. Network, network, network!
As part of your professional online presence – network. Network with law enforcement colleagues, former classmates, and anyone else you’ve met who might help you get a foot in the door. As always, you want to be professional, and remember that the best networking goes beyond what’s in it for you. In other words, the best networking is helping others because they’ll remember your generosity in the future. So be friendly and figure out ways to help people and vice versa.
Networking is an essential part of the job search. Further, networking is a combination of being warm and curious. Of course, you seek people who can help you, but at the same time, you’re looking for others to achieve their goals as well. So, remember, you’re not wasting time if you spend time networking with others.
3. Show your value through education and experience
When looking for a new position, you must show employers that you have the skills and knowledge they value. Therefore, highlight relevant skills and experiences on your resume or cover letter when applying for a job. One way you can showcase your value is through education and experience. You can do it in several ways. First, directly mention skills and experiences on your resume or cover letter. Second, highlight relevant skills and experiences in your résumé and your letter, including transferrable skills. Third, use figures, graphics, or perhaps, an online portfolio to highlight skills and experiences.
4. Always be learning
Finally, be sure not to forget the importance of learning. You always face new challenges and opportunities no matter what job you land. New positions often present unique challenges, so they’re great learning opportunities. It’s essential to keep learning and growing, so look for ways to keep yourself doing so. Make it a habit to seek additional training whenever you can. It could be through classes at a community college, online training, or other professional development. It doesn’t have to be a degree every time. Still, look for ways to keep your skills and experience up to date. Make sure you don’t passively sit on the sidelines. Actively growing and learning will give you an edge in the job market.
Advance your education and career
Advanced education in policing helps you remain competitive in the job market. Moreover, it demonstrates your ability to grow and evolve with your profession. It can also help you move into leadership positions and obtain institutional affiliation. And it can help you gain job-specific training in new police tactics and, for example, implement community-based policing practices.
Further, you can move up within your state or local department and pursue a career as a federal agent if you wish. So, to advance in your law enforcement career, start by researching what you need to know. Hopefully, this article provided some tips and ideas for getting you started. And remember, as you keep growing in your career, always be learning. It’ll help you achieve great heights in your profession—and life.