Earning an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree from LSUA is one way to prepare for a successful career in law enforcement.
Becoming a police officer in the State of Louisiana does not require a bachelor's degree; however, having the degree can give graduates an edge in the hiring process or potentially lead to promotions for veteran officers looking to maximize return on investment.
Like most states, Louisiana has various requirements that potential officers must meet to be eligible to work for one of the many different law enforcement entities.
Basic State Requirements
The initial basic requirements to become a peace officer in the state include completing a basic training course and passing the Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) Comprehensive Examination.
Potential officers must also then complete a training course of at least 360 hours for certification. For Level 1 certification, students must also meet POST firearm requirements.
There is a minimum grade requirement of 70 percent or better on each instruction block and the POST Comprehensive Exam and 80 percent or better on firearms certification.
Most police departments or sheriff's offices have additional requirements that a candidate must meet to become a full-time peace officer.
New Orleans Police Department
To work as a police officer in the largest city in the state, applicants must undergo a series of tests and exams, including a multiple choice exam and written test, a physical agility test, medical and psychological exams, background and panel interviews, and a substance abuse screening.
Multiple choice exams are offered on numerous dates throughout each year. Candidates who do not live in the area must apply via Civil Service and submit the required documents before they can schedule their tests.
Shreveport Police Department
Candidates who wish to apply to another of the largest police departments in the state, Shreveport, must meet similar requirements to New Orleans.
They must also be United States citizens at least 21 years old, have a valid driver's license, and be in overall good health and of good moral character. They must pass physical fitness and medical tests, civil service, psychological and polygraph exams, and a background check and drug screen.
Louisiana State Police
Not surprisingly, the requirements to become a Louisiana State Trooper are significantly more extensive than those for most other law enforcement entities.
In order to qualify, each candidate must have at least one of the following:
- Two years of experience as a full-time, POST-certified officer with armed duties and power of arrest.
- 60 semester credit hours from an accredited school.
- Any two-year combination of (1) and (2) above, with 30 semester credit hours being equivalent to one year of experience.
- Three years of continuous active military service.
Additionally, candidates must be United States citizens and of strong moral character. They must pass a written exam, a physical exam, a medical exam, a drug screening, a polygraph exam and an interview. They must also possess a valid Louisiana driver's license and complete the State Police Training Academy program.
In addition to providing a broad overview of the criminal justice field and a solid foundation for a career as a peace officer, a B.S. in Criminal Justice can also add ancillary advantages for new or seasoned officers.
Daniel Swear, an LSUA online graduate who works for the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office, was a patrol officer with the Gretna Police Department when he entered the B.S. in Criminal Justice program. He benefited from the discipline needed to complete the program.
"I would say it's necessary to have the maturity to refrain from procrastinating in order to get your work done," Swear said. "The institution treats you like an adult by affording you the opportunity to obtain a degree online. They expect you to do the legwork yourself, and it's your responsibility to make sure you do the work so you can get the most out of your degree program."
Learn more about the LSUA online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program.
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