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Why college educated police officers make more money
By Police1 Staff
While it may not be required, having post-secondary education under your belt as a police officer will net you a higher salary and make it easier for you to move up in the ranks.
Police officers with more education may also be better able to adapt to proposed community policing initiatives, including public outreach and crime prevention initiatives.
Police officers with degrees earn a higher salary
Minimum education requirements for new police officers range from a high school diploma to having a four-year college degree. Many officers receive an education bonus just for having an education beyond the required high school diploma or GED.
Dallas PD, for example, automatically gives officers with a bachelor’s degree an additional $300 per month, and also offers a bonus payment of $110 to $150 per month for knowing specific foreign languages. Depending on your level of proficiency, a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) certification can net you an additional $50 to $600 per month.
The LAPD likewise offers an educational incentive bonus amounting to $4,560 per year for officers with associate’s degrees and $6,960 for those having earned a bachelor’s.
Police officers with degrees are easier to promote
According to a 2013 study published on the FBI’s website, only about 1 percent of all police departments required a college degree. However, almost half of all respondents reported that they had either taken classes or earned a bachelor’s degree while serving as an LEO.
While four-year degrees may not be required to get hired, law enforcement’s trend towards higher education may persuade officers to enroll in classes just to keep up with their peers. This is reflected in the data, as 48 percent of police respondents had a bachelor’s degree compared to 27.9 percent of all Americans who had a bachelor’s degree in 2010.
Officers who favor “street smarts” and experience over textbook knowledge will say that, regardless of studies, a university education alone doesn’t necessarily make officers more skilled or more competent at work. While that could be true, given two equally skilled and experienced officers, education may be the deciding factor that promotes one candidate over the other. Some police respondents in Minnesota even reported that a bachelor’s degree was necessary to be promoted to ranks of sergeant or higher.
Though your department may have only required a high school diploma or just a few credit hours’ worth of classes, finishing out a bachelor’s degree opens up the door for additional promotions. This is a natural transition into higher paying, less physically demanding work as you grow older.
Educated officers perform better in the field
Research suggests that possessing a college degree may improve certain aspects of field performance, including using less verbal and physical force than officers of the same experience without a degree.
Police departments place a greater value on educated officers because of the changing nature of law enforcement. In the community policing model that’s gaining traction worldwide, police officers not only enforce the law but reach out to communities to organize events and find common solutions to local problems.
The ability to adapt to new developments and critically solve problems in the rapidly-changing police profession is a must for any candidate. Officers with degrees will bring a diverse skill set to their department, earn a higher salary, and make themselves more eligible to further their careers through promotional opportunities.
This article, originally published November 2016, has been updated.
Next: What are the best degrees for police officers
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Frequently Asked Questions About how much do police officers make with a college degree
If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic how much do police officers make with a college degree, then this section may help you solve it.
What police position has the highest pay?
High-Paying Police Positions
- Assistant Chief of Police. Salary range: $53,500-$115,500 per year. …
- Chief of Police. Salary range: $50,000-$100,000 per year. …
- Police Captain. Salary range: $48,500-$96,000 per year. …
- Police Sergeant. …
- Special Agent In Charge. …
- Airport Police Officer. …
- Sergeant. …
- State Trooper.
How many police officers have a college degree?
the degree to which police officers are educated
|Education||% of police officers|
|High school diploma||35%|
|Certificate or associate degree||56%|
2 more rows
What advantages do college degrees offer a police officer?
The median salary for all law enforcement employees in May 2021 was 1,190, but higher education is the key to achieving the higher levels of law enforcement. Officers who don’t have academic degrees are rarely filled in senior positions in law enforcement, such as police chief.
How much does a new police officer in California make?
Salary b>03,116 – 47,628/year/b> San Francisco offers great benefits, and the starting pay for police officers is currently $3,116 annually; after seven years on the job, they can earn up to $47628 annually. You will receive thorough training at your full starting pay.
What are the best states for police pay?
States With the Highest Average Salary for Patrol Officers
New York leads the pack with an average of $132,290 per annum, which is much larger than its runner-up Washington D.C at $106,490. New York City is well known for its police force, being called “New York’s Finest” by many citizens alike.
A police officer’s job is it a good one?
Many people who work in law enforcement are able to utilize their innate abilities in communication, empathy, and awareness to protect their communities, despite the fact that their jobs are frequently stressful and potentially dangerous.
How witty are most police officers?
The national median score for police officers is 21, the equivalent of a 104 IQ, or just slightly above average, and according to Wonderlic, a score between 20 and 27 is the specific range that best fits with the successful performance of police work.
How much time do you spend at the police academy?
The Learning Programme will last 24 months, divided into two phases at the academy and one phase at the workplace, totaling 12 months at the academy and 12 months in the workplace.
How much education do the majority of police officers have?
Most law enforcement organizations may require or prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or a certain number of postsecondary education credits, but obtaining a high school diploma or GED is the minimum formal education requirement for police officers.
How much money do state police make?
8,500 is the 25th percentile; salaries below this are outliers; 0,500 is the 75th percentile; how much do state trooper jobs pay annually?
What is the average age for police officers?
Do not assume that just because you are over 30, your chances of becoming a police officer are over. Some agencies have no maximum age. While most agencies require you to be 21 by the date of academy graduation, some take cadets as young as 18.