Though not a prerequisite to become a police officer, a bachelor’s degree in police science could be beneficial for someone seeking an advanced career in law enforcement. With public safety becoming an increasingly prevalent issue, the need for knowledgeable and skilled law enforcement officials grows. A bachelor's program in police science provides a solid understanding of law enforcement as a necessary function in our society.
Bachelor's programs in police science go beyond the required police training and minimal college coursework required by most police departments. In addition to law enforcement, students learn management, strategic thinking, leadership and communication skills and study the changing landscape of public safety.
Prerequisites for bachelor's programs in police science vary by institution. Minimum requirements include a high school diploma and completion of English coursework. Some programs require students to complete as many as 30 credit hours before being admitted into the police science program. And some programs require prior work experience in the area of safety and security.
Core police science courses cover ethics of policing, technology in policing including crime-mapping software and computer security, rules of evidence, policing systems, various forms of crime, emergency preparedness and community relations. Other courses cover leadership, resource management, labor relations and even financial management. Students also study law and the criminal justice systems.
Upon completion of a bachelor's program in police science, graduates are prepared for a variety of careers in law enforcement such as police officer, investigator, immigration inspector, intelligence analyst or private security officer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of law enforcement personnel should continue to grow through 2020 as the demand for public safety leads to new job openings.