Earning a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification grants you the credentials to be a practicing peace officer. Through POST Certification Training, you can more easily obtain a Criminal Justice degree at Louisiana State University of Alexandria. These distinctions -- a criminal justice degree and a POST certification -- can give you valuable experience and knowledge to follow your career path in law enforcement.
Through LSUA, you can pursue an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (BSCJ). This degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours, although completion times vary. But what does it mean to be a POST Certified Officer?
What Is a POST Certified Officer?
The dictionary definition for a peace officer is not exact, because the credentials and duties vary according to jurisdiction. However, for an employee of a state, county or municipality, as, for instance, a sheriff for a public law enforcement agency, the general description may include responsibility for:
- Arrests, searches and seizures, and execution of criminal and civil warrants.
- Prevention or detection of crime.
- Enforcement of penal, traffic or highway laws.
Ultimately, to be a peace officer, you must be certified by the POST Council. Being a peace officer means that you have a higher authority to carry out justice. Because of the extensive process and the authority you could be granted, having a POST certification may provide you with a higher degree of accountability and respect than others.
How Can the LSUA Program Help You Become a POST Certified Officer?
LSUA's criminal justice degree program caters to those pursuing a POST certification. By passing a 320-hour basic training course through the Louisiana Council on POST, you can apply for 15 hours of credit to replace the following classes in the BSCJ program:
- CJUS 1107: Introduction to Criminal Justice
- CJUS 2131: Police Process
- CJUS 3025: Ethical Leadership in Criminal Justice
- CJUS 4999: Internship in Criminal Justice
- Three hours of criminal justice elective credit hours at the 4000 level
LSUA offers services and programs to help you do your best work and provide you with the help you need. Director of Distance Learning at LSUA, Teresa Seymour, outlines the benefits of obtaining a degree in criminal justice: "We have free tutoring for students in areas of math and science... We also have extensive student support, a student support area, that includes career services, disability services, counseling services, both for academic and personal issues. Every student is provided an email, and Office 365 is available for all online students at no extra charge."
What Does the Program Entail?
Students can complete the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice online, which gives them the flexibility and convenience they need. This program establishes the groundwork for criminal justice, then builds on it with a wide array of electives.
There are three categories of class requirements:
- General Education Courses, which include basics such as English Composition, American History, and foundational math courses like Algebra (39 credit hours).
- Major Requirements, which include classes more specifically tied to criminal justice such as Police Process, the Judicial Process, and Constitutional Law and Criminal Justice (30 credit hours).
- Additional Requirements, which include 12 credit hours of Criminal Justice Electives and 15 hours of Free Electives (51 credit hours).
By the end of the program, you will have in-depth knowledge of law enforcement, corrections, juvenile delinquency and the court system. Along with learning about topics that directly relate to criminal justice, you'll have opportunities to develop transferrable skills such as communication, problem-solving and teamwork.
The Criminal Justice program is ideal for working professionals who feel they may not have time for school but still want to pursue their passion. This was true for 59-year-old Liz Matthews who originally attended LSUA in the late '70s for special education. After returning to achieve her full bachelor's degree, she is now a POST-certified corrections officer. Going back to school is expanding career opportunities for Matthews by helping her earn a bachelor's, the preferred degree where she works.
Learn more about LSUA's Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice online program.
Sources:Discover Corrections: What Is a Peace Officer and POST Certification?
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