Read these 10 Criminal Justice Training Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Criminal Justice Degree tips and hundreds of other topics.
It is a common misconception to confuse training programs with degree programs. With respect to obtaining your criminal justice degree, attending schools and forging careers, some education may still be required prior to being admitted to a training program. Some training programs are included as part of an educational curriculum (such as internships, certification, etc.).
Knowing your goals prior to seeking any educational or training admission will help you prepare for any training. This way you can be fully prepared to meet the requirements of your specific area of job/educational interest within the criminal justice field. This preparation will save you frustration, time and money in the long run.
If you want to learn more about specific training programs for a variety of law enforcement opportunities, visit the website for the Bureau of Justice Assistance at http://bjatraining.ncjrs.gov. This site makes it extremely easy and helpful to search for your specific area of law enforcement interest (i.e. all the way from Aquatics to White Collar Crime) and the specific agencies and/or providers that most interest you. This site also offers recent publications that highlight justice trends, as well as information on benefits, grant programs and common "justice issues."
Training requirements and curriculum will certainly vary if you are seeking to be a state police officer or state trooper, than if you are planning to enter a local academy. For example, if you wanted to apply to be a state trooper in Louisiana, you would not only require citizenship and a clean ticket/driving record; but you would also require either 60 hours of college credit OR four years of law enforcement experience (or some combination of the two) prior to entry. Military experience is also looked highly upon. You would also have to pass physical and mental endurance tests.
Other requirements for being a state police officer can be vague and based upon subjective opinions/experiences of the training staff. For example, it is expected that you be of "good moral character" to enter the force. It is suggested that you find out more specifically what these terms mean, dependent upon the state and their variation of such a statement, prior to application. Certainly, knowing someone on the force is always a plus, as is having outstanding recommendation letters.
Again, requirements for police training and entry into the police force are similar from district to district, but are dependent on the particular city/state for which you desire to work. For example, if you wanted to be a police officer for Philadelphia, you would have to live somewhere in the city for at least a year prior to being accepted. So that means even if you passed every exam, if you weren't a resident of the city for a minimum of one year, you would not yet qualify. Another common necessity that does not vary is the need to have a valid drivers license (including up-to-date payment of all former tickets or moving violations).
If you are interested in applying to the police academy, review certification and citizenship requirements for that particular city, district or state prior to your attempt to apply. This early research will provide you with increased ease and success throughout your career changing/or beginning process.
Most states have college programs or academies specifically established to meet the state issued requirements for basic law enforcement training. These programs generally consist of mental and physical challenges, education on issues such as cultural diversity, traffic enforcement and criminal law/procedures. Each program varies in terms of length and price, and some offer out-of-state lodging opportunities, such as the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.
Conduct online, library and interview-based research to determine which basic law enforcement training program is both suitable and realistic for your desired educational and professional needs.
If you are interested in pursuing continued education as part of your professional development, there are numerous training videos from which to choose. For example, police training icons like J.D. Buck Savage offer videos and seminar packages on a variety of professional and practical skills relevant to the field. It is also suggested that you visit your local library and/or police training center to get videos quicker (and you could save the cost and check these out for free).
Police Academy training generally occurs after one is accepted to the police force of his/her district or state. Each state has regulations as to what standards and curriculum should be upheld as part of police academy training. Inevitably, training will consist of mental, educational and physical endurance tasks. New officers have to learn everything from appropriate use of firearms to liquor laws relevant to his/her district and/or state to search warrant preparation to cultural diversity awareness. While all police academies adhere to certain educational and effective curriculum standards, each district and state will vary dependent upon local laws and regulations.
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, located in Glynco, GA, is the national regulating body of training centers for law enforcement in the country. FLETC is the training organization for many federal agencies. FLETC also providers educational, curriculum and training services to local, state and international criminal justice agencies/commissions.
FTEC offers a variety of training programs for federal criminal justice employees, as well as suggested curriculum and programs for local and state government employees in the field. Basic programs vary from Basic Juvenile Corrections Officer Training (BJCOTP) to U.S. Marshals Integrated Training Program (USMSI). Advanced programs offer a wide variety of specialty area and learning opportunities as well, with even more focused curriculum; such as the Black Market Peso Training Program (BMPTP)
Each state has a Criminal Justice Training Commission (the name can vary depending on the state). The purpose of these commission offices is to provide standards and guidelines of service for criminal justice employees in the state. These commissions, which are comprised of numerous employees (on various levels) who practice criminal justice in the state, offer everything from certification training programs to medical examinations to suggested curriculum guidelines for training programs to salary incentive courses.
It is recommended that if you are seeking to be a criminal justice employee in a particular state that you review that state's requirements and guidelines for your specific area of employment interest.
Criminal justice certification programs take less time to finish than an associates degree or higher. These certification programs can be completed online and often offer credits that can be transferred if you decide to further your degree in the future.
Just as with the regular degree programs in the field, certification programs tend to be focused in a particular area of criminal justice. Terrorism, Security Management, and Crime Scene Technician are examples of focus areas.
Other certification programs, such as the the University of Wisconsin (Madison) Criminal Justice Certification Program, are part of an overall bachelors degree in the field and require a certain amount of credit hours to be obtained prior to participation in the program (and, of course, more money).