Law & Order. Flashpoint. CSI. There is no shortage of TV franchises dedicated to documenting the adventure, and captivating danger of police work. Of course, as any experienced officer can tell you, much of the job is decidedly unglamorous.
When it comes to determining the actual value of Wilfrid Laurier University’s online BA in Criminology and Policing, the appraisal generally falls into two categories. The first is pragmatic. Professionals with a criminology degrees increase their earning potential and widen the range of opportunities available to them. The second has to do with personal goals. Criminology university programs draw from a wide variety of academic disciplines, giving you insight not only into the criminal mindset, but also how they are prosecuted and rehabilitated. It also examines the institutions and social forces that help shape the modern world.
In other words, there’s a lot more going on than what they show on TV.
We’ve looked at how criminology degrees improve graduates’ earning potential at jobs ranging from a parole officer to a police officer to an insurance fraud investigator. While many police departments will still hire applicants without a university degree, increasing competition among those with an undergraduate degree is beginning to squeeze these applicants out of more desirable entry-level jobs. There are even rumblings that forthcoming changes to the Ontario Police Services Act will soon require officers to hold, at minimum, a post-secondary school diploma. This will have a ripple effect for those hoping to get a foothold in related private fields such as security, fraud prevention, and consulting. In many cases, these industries seek applicants with criminology or police experience—meaning a university degree will become a required, if indirect, qualification.
The reasons why criminology degrees are preferred by those deciding whom to hire or promote are clear. University graduates must possess an appealing combination of intelligence and diligence to achieve their degree in good standing. While there is no substitution for the instincts a police officer develops in the course of working their territory or that a criminologist obtains while assessing crime scenes, it’s no less important for them to develop their critical thinking skills if they want to keep up with increasingly sophisticated forms of crime—and of encouraging reform when needed to ensure public trust.
Today’s officers and criminologists are expected to apply greater sensitivity and understanding toward the diverse communities they serve. Programs like Laurier’s reveal the systemic disadvantages that give birth to criminality, and teach students not only how to stop crime, but how to contribute to the prosperity of neighbourhoods. You can choose to focus your studies on important areas of concern such as justice and mental health or online crime, and you’ll always develop important research and leadership skills that will help you make a difference at a higher, strategic level as you advance in your career.
The online nature of Laurier’s program recognizes that there are many current police officers and criminologists who find their career mobility limited by a lack of higher education who are unable to leave work to pursue their studies. By offering this flexible remote learning program, with complete freedom to complete courses according to your own schedule, we’re helping ensure that the new generation of cops and criminologists don’t leave behind those already serving our cities and towns. There are Laurier Criminology and Policing graduates making their mark across Canada, and it’s never been easier for new students to join their company.