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Where Does a Policing Degree Lead?

It can be used in various ways to enhance your career choice

Choosing which degree to take has a significant impact on your future career path. While some subjects have a broad application, others appear to be more suited to a narrower selection of roles.

If you study law at university, for example, people may assume you’ll go on to be a litigator or attorney. While a law degree can, of course, lead you down this road, there are other options too. Academia, policy development, corporate governance and research are just four career options arising from this seemingly narrow career path.

Similarly, other degree options have a variety of applications. While many people assume that a policing degree only leads to one career path, it can be used in various ways to enhance your career choice. If you’re thinking about studying policing at degree level, take a look at where it could lead.
Police Constable

As you might expect, many policing graduates embark on a career in law enforcement. Whether you apply for a role with a municipal, provincial or federal service, there are a range of different jobs to explore. While you don’t technically need a policing degree to begin your professional life as a law enforcement official, it can certainly be advantageous.

There can be a lot of competition when it comes to applying for a place at police training academies or colleges. With many people keen to establish a law enforcement career, you’ll need to ensure you’re able to stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, a bachelor’s in policing can give you the added advantage you may need when applying for police training.

‘Trade your uniform, Change your life’
Vancouver PD

With over 140 police services in Canada, there is a lot to learn about policing before you don the uniform. While you’ll still need to undertake professional training before you can join a police force, having studied at undergraduate level will ensure you have the skills and knowledge you need to excel.
The most well-known Canadian police forces include:
• Royal Canadian Mounted Police
• Metropolitan Toronto Police
• Ontario Provincial Police
• Montreal Urban Community Police
• Quebec Provincial Police

Furthermore, the life experience gained from attending university can help you to be a better police constable. While you can join most forces from the age of 18 upwards, serving at such a young age can be difficult. As well as difficulties in establishing authority, younger constables may have limited life experience on which to draw upon when dealing with sensitive or delicate situations.

By attending university and studying policing, however, you can cement your passion for the role, learn more about the practical and theoretical aspects of policing, and hone the skills you’ll need to perform to the best of your ability.

Civilian Police Work
Working for the police doesn’t necessarily mean pursuing a career as a constable, sergeant or detective. In fact, at least 24% of all police force employees in Canada are civilian workers. Working for the police in a civilian role can take many forms, some of which are more connected to law enforcement than others.

The process of civilianisation is introducing more policing-related tasks to civilian workers than ever before. This means that you don’t need to be a sworn officer in order to undertake important tasks related to law enforcement. Even if you haven’t undergone training as a constable, you can still play an important role within your police force.

When working for the police force in a civilian role, there are many specialities to focus on, including:
• IT
• Research
• Counselling
• Victim support
• Facilities management
• Accountancy
• Operations
• Administration
• HR

Of course, having studied policing at degree level will give you an advantage when working in a civilian role. The in-depth understanding of how policing works, the current challenges facing forces and the implementation of crime prevention strategies will inform your day-to-day decision-making and enable you to make more informed risk assessments.

In terms of applying for roles as a civilian worker, being a policing graduate could help you to stand out from the crowd. If you’re looking at civilian roles which are more closely aligned to the tasks usually reserved for law enforcement officials, studying policing at university could certainly be advantageous.

Public Safety
Public safety is more important than ever, particularly due to the range of threats which are ever-present. As policing is inherently linked to public safety, pursuing a bachelor’s in policing can give you a good foundation in what it takes to maintain a safe environment.

Choosing to work in public safety gives you the option to specialise in a number of fields. From environment safety and occupational safety to crowd control and event risk analysis, there are multiple fields which require public safety officials.

As many public safety officials use models and theories of policing to influence their work, undertaking a related degree can prepare you for this type of career. With an in-depth understanding of how policing strategies are used to contain disturbances and create safer environments, you will use this to enhance public safety throughout your career.

Gaining Transferable Skills with a Policing Degree
When choosing a subject to study at university, it’s important to look at the transferable skills you’ll learn. These may include:
• Leadership
• Organisation
• Teamwork
• Accountability
• Attention to detail
• Reliability
• Adaptability
• Dependability

If a subject or course offers knowledge and skills which can be applied to a range of environments or skills, you can be confident that it will increase your employability.

Many applicants assume that narrow career options won’t have a negative impact on them, particularly if they are committed to a specific career path. However, you never know where the future might lead you or what options you may want to explore. By enrolling in a policing degree course which offers transferable skills, you can enhance your employability and bring your attributes to any role you undertake.

With an insight into policing methods, for example, you could work in a prison setting, a courtroom, with youth offenders, in victim support services, as a public safety official or even in event management. The range of options available to policing graduates ensures they can pursue varied, rewarding and challenging careers.

While many applicants will be intent on applying to become a uniformed officer following successful completion of their course, this isn’t a pre-requisite of enrolling on a policing-related degree. Indeed, the varied learning outcomes and development opportunities ensure you can use a degree in policing to launch a career in a wide variety of sectors and industries.

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