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Do Your Homework Before Selecting a Degree Program

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Dennis Porter is currently the Senior Law Enforcement Education Coordinator with American Military University.

Today, many law enforcement agencies are encouraging and even requiring their officers to have a bachelor’s degree to be considered for a promotion. Some officers who are nearing retirement are considering earning a degree to make them more marketable in retirement as consultants or adjunct instructors. However, many of these officers aren’t sure what type of school they should attend to earn their degree. While there are numerous TV commercials and magazine ads for a multitude of colleges and universities, what type of school is right for you? How do you make an intelligent choice as to what school to attend?

Here are some simple points officers should consider in order to make an informed decision about selecting a school:

  1. Always enroll in a regionally accredited school. Most state universities and private universities will only accept transferable courses from regionally accredited schools.
  2. Make sure the school you choose fits your lifestyle and personal commitments to family and activities. Earning your degree requires a significant commitment of your time. Will you have the time necessary to commit to academic studies in addition to personal commitments?
  3. Make sure the school you pick will not interfere with your duties and commitments to your agency. Talk to your superiors about enrolling in school and get approval before you start a program.
  4. Consider the cost. Earning an education should not cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please do not obligate your financial resources to earning a degree. A bachelor’s degree should not cost $40,000, a reasonable cost for a degree is under $20,000.

There are different ways to minimize the cost of earning a bachelor’s degree. One way to reduce the cost is to first enroll in a regionally accredited community college to earn an associate’s degree and then transfer to a university to earn a bachelor’s degree. Another way is to look at the schools that are a member of the National Fraternal Order of Police University Consortium and apply the above points in selecting a university that fits your needs.

Selecting a school is a very personal decision. Make sure you select a degree program that is interesting to you and be sure to do your homework before enrolling in a school.

~Dennis Porter

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