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Want to get a degree, CJ degree good or bad choice?

I'm relativity new to the site and have done some reading up but I have yet to see this anywhere so I'm sorry if this is a repost.
I'm currently in my second year of university and I know that I want to become a LEO. I'm not looking so much toward and federal agencies at the time and really am leaning towards the Maine State Police. I've heard both sides of the coin on whether to get a CJ four year degree or something else if you want to go into LE, so I'm torn one what to do. One university here offers a dual Criminal Justice/Psychology degree which could put me out ahead of other applicants. Also, would later getting a Masters in Criminal Justice Administration be worth anything? What really could I do with such a degree? Do you know anyone with similar degrees?


  • My daughter is in her sophomore year at college majoring in CJ, minor in Pshyc. She's has done an intern ship at and now works as a fill in dispatcher at Morehead City PD here in NC and the chief and most of the senior and ranking staff there all say to get her degree first. Also, and I know this is federal, but we have a woman in our church who is an officer for NCIS and she is hounding my daughter to get her to do an internship there because of her career goals and working on her degree. Hope that helps some.
  • A degree in CJ isn't BAD, but it's a degree that a ton of people have. I have had officers tell me that if you want to advance to a Captain or Chief it would be a good idea to get a degree in say, Business Administration or something management related.
  • astover: I've heard that as well and I have heard the opposite argument that is why I was looking into the dual degree of CJ/Psych and later on a masters in Criminal Justice Administration. I do not know much about the masters degree part of my plan, such as anyone with it. I am also new to Maine and do not yet know anyone here with a family/friend connection to a LEO or the such that I could really set down and talk to. I look forward to a ride a long and that may help answer some questions. Are there any Maine Troopers or other LEO from Maine here on TTBL?
  • A better law enforement major would be Criminology as opposed to Criminal Justice. The truth of the matter is, though, that a law enforcement degree doesn't guarantee you a law enforcement job the way a law degree or a medical degree does in those fields. The only real important thing is that you have one. You might also think about taking pre-law. It will help you understand the system and the law a bit better and could ultimately help you be a better police officer
  • Get another degree. CJ will really limit you. The academy will teach you what you need. A good training officer the rest. Accounting/ business is always good if you think FBI or command staff is in your future.
  • The school I attend offers criminal justice and law enforcement technology. LAW ENFORCEMENT TECH offers a police academy. I AM TAKING BOTH degrees
  • I have been a police officer for over ten years. I currently work 32 hours a week and go to school full time... I am chasing the four year degree in Criminology. Plus I am a mom to a very active eight year old son and the wife of a twenty year sheriff deputy! If you want to go into local law enforcement, the degree isn't a necessity. You go into the academy and come out with an idea of what to do. An FTO will teach you the rest. If you want state police or higher, it will definately put you ahead. Report writing/typing/grammar/spelling are key in this field. A sloppy report will not impress the prosecutor! I have a co worker who got his degree in CJ and claims it did not help him in any way. He keeps hounding me to change my he is going to be going to nursing school here in a few weeks. I spoke to my Chief, who does have his degree in Criminology, and he says go for it. If you really want to work for the Maine State Police, contact them and talk with them. They will tell you what they are really looking for and that should help you in making your decision. Good Luck!
  • A CJ degree really is just a degree. If you get a degree in CJ, get it because the subject matter interests you and not because you think it will be necessary for you to get hired on as a new officer. For all intensive purposes, a CJ degree is worthless unless you are beginning to advance higher up in the management side of things, and even then you would likely need a master's as well as some kind of degree in management possibly.

    A CJ degree just helps you get over that hump of needing prior LE experience, military, or a college degree/hours to get hired. It helps teach you about the history of LE, as well as some of the contemporary issues facing the field of CJ today, but none of that is really necessary to get into the academy as they will teach you most of what you need to know, with your FTO teaching you the rest.

    My recommendation... get a degree in something like management, business, finance, or any of the sciences. Those are attractive to people no matter your ultimate career field should your career in LE not work out. I know they may seem boring, but they may greatly aid you later. I got my degree in CJ, but I knew what I was getting into and knew I wanted to be a LEO. I just enjoyed the classes an curriculum.
  • Now days all peple who want to become LEOs major in criminal justice, which is a norm for society's way of thinking. But just remember you'll be going against people who have degrees in psychology/sociology/chemistry/accounting. Recommendation get your degree in either computer science or business management/public administration. In dept I worked for cj degree isn't that much looked upon it.
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