If you have always wanted to be a Dallas police officer, it is completely possible to have your dream job, serving and protecting the community. Competition may be somewhat stiff for prospective officers in the Big D, but you can boost your chances of finding a good law enforcement job with an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. And with a four-year degree, you can even earn a higher salary.
The DPD Values Education
The Dallas Police Department is the second-largest police department in Texas and the ninth-largest in the nation, according to the DPD website. It has more than 3,300 sworn members and 500-plus non-sworn members.
The DPD takes education seriously and pays officers with a bachelor’s degree an extra $300 per month on top of their salary. Officers with college hours and no degree can receive up to $240 per month in education pay, which can go toward a four-year degree.
The department has the following education requirements for prospective DPD police officers:
- Must be a U. S. high school graduate or possess a G.E.D.
- Applicants 19 and 20 years old must have a minimum of 60 semester college hours with a 2.0 GPA or higher from an accredited college or university.
- Applicants age 21 to 44 must have a minimum of 45 semester college hours with a 2.0 GPA or higher from an accredited college or university.
- The college credit hours requirement is waived for military personnel who served at least three years on active duty and who were honorably discharged.
- The college credit hours requirement is waived for current and former law enforcement officers seeking lateral entry into the department.
Police Officers Are Always in Demand
While a bachelor’s degree is not required to become a member of the Dallas Police Department, an online degree in criminal justice certainly can’t hurt your chances of joining the force or helping you move up the ranks if you are already a cop.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for police officers and detectives is expected to be good.
“Even with crime rates falling in the last few years, demand for police services to maintain and improve public safety is expected to continue,” says the BLS website. “Applicants with a bachelor’s degree and law enforcement or military experience, especially investigative experience, as well as those who speak more than one language, should have the best job opportunities.”
Lamar University’s Online Criminal Justice Degree
Lamar University offers a degree program designed especially for law enforcement professionals. You can complete Lamar University’s online criminal justice program in as few as 48 months. Existing officers can transfer up to nine academic credits from police academy training and use them toward their bachelor’s degree. And Texas municipal, county or state peace officers may be eligible for the Peace Officer Tuition Exemption, which covers tuition and lab fees for eligible courses.
Lamar University’s online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice consists of 120 credit hours (48 hours of core curriculum classes, 27 hours of lower-level electives, and 45 hours of advanced electives). The program includes classes in areas such as correctional administration, the judicial process, juvenile delinquency and deviant behavior. The online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice also offers numerous internship opportunities and hands-on experience in law enforcement.