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  • Two broad questions and an introduction.

    Hi, I'm Ethan and I'm 16 years old. I'm currently a Junior in High School, and have been getting interested in joining the Kentucky National Guard. My future plans as far as careers go is to become a police officer. Mainly local, however in due time I would like to eventually become a State Trooper. I'm graduating at 17, and am having a hard time deciding on what to do. My mother is a single parent raising my brother and I, as well as me having a $24,000 scholarship to EKU where I plan on receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. Basically, I'm thinking of joining at 17 with parental consent. I would like to be in the National Guard, but be able to do college at the same time. How would I go about doing this? I just plan on getting my Bachelor's which will take four years. Once I get finished with my Bachelor's and apply to police departments in my area, how will I balance out my police job and national guard one? And since I would have to do the two weeks of training in the summer, what would happen to my civilian job? Would my superiors at the police department allow me to go on leave? What MOS should I choose for law enforcement? People say MP would be good, but I've read on the forums that police departments don't really like hiring MPs because of how it's completely different from civilian LE and how they would have to change how they operate. If I'm wanting to go to school for four years while being in the NG, does it pay for my tuition and all of that? Looking forward to your responses!

  • #2
    Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

    1. You may wish to seek additional guidance on choice of major for a career in law enforcement. Some jurisdictions don't like criminal justice majors, because they've found that those grads may have developed "bad habits." You might consider a degree that gives you an alternate career path (e.g., business management, accounting, engineering, or math).
    2. I recommend working with your recruiter to complete Basic and AIT prior to starting college (perhaps through a split option, or one-station unit training to fit into one summer). By completing Basic and AIT prior to the start of college, you would qualify for all educational incentives.
    3. Hundreds of thousands of Guardsmen manage their civilian and military careers, so obviously it's do-able. Your unit has a yearly calendar, which you'll take to your civilian chain of command to de-conflict your work schedule.
    4. Your MOS for a civilian law enforcement career isn't as important as you might think. While most jurisdictions like military experience (because it shows dedication), some dislike MPs for the same reasons they don't like criminal justice majors.
    5. Depending on your school and the incentives for which you qualify, the Guard can pay up to 100% of tuition. Usually that means state schools, although if you have contributing incentives from other sources (e.g., partial academic scholarship, or some need-based aid) the Guard might could make up the difference at a higher-cost school.

    See the link in my signature block for additional guidance.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

      Nothing wrong with a criminal justice degree as long as you get it from a state school. Go to ITT or University of Phoenix and you're not getting very far. LE is a more then police, it also include corrections and probation/parole. A human services degree is going to be needed. If you can pick up a language, that'll probably really help you as well. At 17, you want to be a police officer, at 24 your goals may change and want something with more stable hours.

      I don't think MP's have bad habits as much as they have arrogance that they know what they are doing. Most MP's aren't trained very well and don't have a lot of experience doing actual law enforcement. Light cav would be a better description.

      While there laws to protect you getting a job, some departments aren't very welcome to NG/USAR Soldiers. My first department was not, my current department is.

      Try to do an internship, Explorer program, don't use illegal drugs/drink underage ect. Some departments have a zero tolerance for drug/alcohol use. Keep your credit up ect.

      As far as MOS, pick something you would enjoy going to on the weekend, not something that'll help your career.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

        Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
        As far as MOS, pick something you would enjoy going to on the weekend, not something that'll help your career.
        I wish more future Soldiers would take this advice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

          Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
          Nothing wrong with a criminal justice degree as long as you get it from a state school. Go to ITT or University of Phoenix and you're not getting very far. LE is a more then police, it also include corrections and probation/parole. A human services degree is going to be needed.
          No matter how many times you repeat these false statements, they don't become true.

          OP, do some research on the municipal police departments (and state police) in your area. I am willing to bet that not a single one of them prefers a CJ degree over a bachelor's degree in another field. The Kentucky State Police certainly don't say anything about it.

          We are entering an age where government spending -- all government spending -- is going to have to be cut dramatically. Public service is will no longer be as lucrative as it once was. Regardless of your opinions on that subject, you need to prepare yourself for that kind of hiring environment. People whose degrees are useful only in the public service sector (criminal justice, public administration, etc) are going to be hurting big time. Instead, get yourself a degree that teaches actual skills that you can apply across a broad range of fields. I typically recommend something that combines finance/economics with a solid base of mathematics and at least some familiarity with computer programming. Not only are these skills in demand everywhere, but you will have just as good a chance of being hired as a police officer with that sort of background. Who knows, some recruiting officer might see your resume because you stand out from the rest of the crowd consisting of individuals who all have exactly the same criminal justice education. My point is that by getting a more versatile degree you give yourself the ability to find jobs in other fields if things don't work out in LE.

          Also, if you want the possibility of someday going into federal law enforcement, that is the background you want to have. Right now, there is a zero chance of you getting hired by the FBI with just a bachelor's in criminal justice. That's because the program of study resulting in such a degree does not teach any actual skills. It is just familiarization on a broad scale. Don't believe me? Look up the curriculum or program of study for CJ at any public university. Ask yourself: after taking [insert required core curriculum class here], what will I be able to DO that I was not able to do before I took the course?

          Now, I am not saying that is the only type of legitimate learning. There are lots of quality social science courses that will not teach you to do anything, but by taking them you'll explore subjects and discuss things which enhance your ability to think critically and write compellingly (incidentally, I think you'll find that most CJ curricula are rather devoid of these courses as well). But it is not a good idea to pick a major which, after studying it for four years, does not result in any new skills.

          Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
          As far as MOS, pick something you would enjoy going to on the weekend, not something that'll help your career.
          This is excellent advice. The whole "transferring military skills to the civilian sector" narrative is, for the most part, a fallacy. This is especially true in the case of soldiers relatively inexperienced in their MOSes in non-technical fields.

          I always recommend that young recruits pick a combat MOS (preferably Infantry) as their first choice and do a few years in that environment. Those skills are relevant everywhere; the skills you learn as an MP will be valid almost exclusively in an MP unit. If you find yourself interested in another MOS somewhere down the line, you'll likely have the opportunity to reclassify at some point.

          Good luck.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

            Originally posted by Ethan Jones View Post
            Hi, I'm Ethan and I'm 16 years old. I'm currently a Junior in High School, and have been getting interested in joining the Kentucky National Guard. My future plans as far as careers go is to become a police officer. Mainly local, however in due time I would like to eventually become a State Trooper. I'm graduating at 17, and am having a hard time deciding on what to do. My mother is a single parent raising my brother and I, as well as me having a $24,000 scholarship to EKU where I plan on receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. Basically, I'm thinking of joining at 17 with parental consent. I would like to be in the National Guard, but be able to do college at the same time. How would I go about doing this? I just plan on getting my Bachelor's which will take four years. Once I get finished with my Bachelor's and apply to police departments in my area, how will I balance out my police job and national guard one? And since I would have to do the two weeks of training in the summer, what would happen to my civilian job? Would my superiors at the police department allow me to go on leave? What MOS should I choose for law enforcement? People say MP would be good, but I've read on the forums that police departments don't really like hiring MPs because of how it's completely different from civilian LE and how they would have to change how they operate. If I'm wanting to go to school for four years while being in the NG, does it pay for my tuition and all of that? Looking forward to your responses!
            Listen to this sentence very carefully..

            DO NOT MAJOR IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

              Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
              Nothing wrong with a criminal justice degree as long as you get it from a state school. Go to ITT or University of Phoenix and you're not getting very far. LE is a more then police, it also include corrections and probation/parole. A human services degree is going to be needed. If you can pick up a language, that'll probably really help you as well. At 17, you want to be a police officer, at 24 your goals may change and want something with more stable hours.

              I don't think MP's have bad habits as much as they have arrogance that they know what they are doing. Most MP's aren't trained very well and don't have a lot of experience doing actual law enforcement. Light cav would be a better description.

              While there laws to protect you getting a job, some departments aren't very welcome to NG/USAR Soldiers. My first department was not, my current department is.

              Try to do an internship, Explorer program, don't use illegal drugs/drink underage ect. Some departments have a zero tolerance for drug/alcohol use. Keep your credit up ect.

              As far as MOS, pick something you would enjoy going to on the weekend, not something that'll help your career.
              You have got to be kidding me.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

                Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
                Nothing wrong with a criminal justice degree as long as you get it from a state school. Go to ITT or University of Phoenix and you're not getting very far. LE is a more then police, it also include corrections and probation/parole. A human services degree is going to be needed. If you can pick up a language, that'll probably really help you as well. At 17, you want to be a police officer, at 24 your goals may change and want something with more stable hours.

                I don't think MP's have bad habits as much as they have arrogance that they know what they are doing. Most MP's aren't trained very well and don't have a lot of experience doing actual law enforcement. Light cav would be a better description.

                While there laws to protect you getting a job, some departments aren't very welcome to NG/USAR Soldiers. My first department was not, my current department is.

                Try to do an internship, Explorer program, don't use illegal drugs/drink underage ect. Some departments have a zero tolerance for drug/alcohol use. Keep your credit up ect.

                As far as MOS, pick something you would enjoy going to on the weekend, not something that'll help your career.
                Saying there is nothing wrong with solely majoring in criminal justice is like saying there's nothing wrong with being chronically unemployed in today's hiring environment.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

                  Originally posted by Polo08816 View Post
                  Saying there is nothing wrong with solely majoring in criminal justice is like saying there's nothing wrong with being chronically unemployed in today's hiring environment.
                  I think you mean terminally unemployed.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

                    Ethan, let me rephrase it. I'm the only person who has responded who has worked as a police officer and as a MP doing garrison law enforcement and now do parole. Oh and I've done this for the past 10 years, so I'm not exactly new.

                    I mentioned the school as important. For a state school, a CJ degree is really not much different then a sociology degree with a few added classes. Many schools will label a sociology degree with CJ emphasis. While police departments may not care what your degree is in, every other agency will, especially any corrections or probation/parole.

                    As far as fed law enforcement, it's hit and miss. You really have to study the agency, be patient, catch them when they're hiring ect. Some still use the Treasury Exam which isn't offered very often, some want specific degree types and some just take forever to get a job offer.

                    As I mentioned before, your career goals could easily change or the want of better hours. I've known people who've started as cops and went to corrections and vice versa.
                    Last edited by RedLeg; January 22nd, 2013, 12:55 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

                      Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
                      Ethan, let me rephrase it. I'm the only person who has responded who has worked as a police officer and as a MP doing garrison law enforcement and now do parole. Oh and I've done this for the past 10 years, so I'm not exactly new.

                      I mentioned the school as important. For a state school, a CJ degree is really not much different then a sociology degree with a few added classes. Many schools will label a sociology degree with CJ emphasis. While police departments may not care what your degree is in, every other agency will, especially any corrections or probation/parole.

                      As far as fed law enforcement, it's hit and miss. You really have to study the agency, be patient, catch them when they're hiring ect. Some still use the Treasury Exam which isn't offered very often, some want specific degree types and some just take forever to get a job offer.

                      As I mentioned before, your career goals could easily change or the want of better hours. I've known people who've started as cops and went to corrections and vice versa.
                      For a state school, a CJ degree is not that much different from a sociology degree because both are, for the most part, unemployable. Neither will improve the chances of employment of the degree holder significantly over the other.

                      Also, I've never seen corrections or parole career tracks being more selective than a police officer position - at least not in the tri-state area.

                      Federal law enforcement is pretty simple. It boils down to this. Almost every single agency EXCEPT the FBI has a form of a wait list or another. The FBI is always hiring because the entry standards are THAT much higher and they are THAT much more academically selective than most of the other federal agencies. It's no secret that the same skill sets the FBI is looking for are the same skill sets that are typically sought after in the private sector.

                      Originally posted by RedLeg
                      OP wanted a job in LE, gave him advice. Oh and I've shown numerous examples of agencies who want a CJ or human services degrees. Do a search.
                      Why does this feel like a wild goose chase?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

                        Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
                        Ethan, let me rephrase it. I'm the only person who has responded who has worked as a police officer and as a MP doing garrison law enforcement and now do parole. Oh and I've done this for the past 10 years, so I'm not exactly new.

                        I mentioned the school as important. For a state school, a CJ degree is really not much different then a sociology degree with a few added classes. Many schools will label a sociology degree with CJ emphasis. While police departments may not care what your degree is in, every other agency will, especially any corrections or probation/parole.

                        As far as fed law enforcement, it's hit and miss. You really have to study the agency, be patient, catch them when they're hiring ect. Some still use the Treasury Exam which isn't offered very often, some want specific degree types and some just take forever to get a job offer.

                        As I mentioned before, your career goals could easily change or the want of better hours. I've known people who've started as cops and went to corrections and vice versa.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

                          "While police departments may not care what your degree is in, every other agency will, especially any corrections or probation/parole."

                          And the survey says....false.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

                            Just like my advice on MOS, I can say, "well pick one that has a marketable equal to the civilian sector", compared to dissuading those that want to go into the combat arms. Many go into those jobs regardless, because that is what they feel will bring them honor and happiness.

                            Same with college studies. If someone wants to go into a major that is not so lucrative after college then so be it. If there was no demand in those majors and courses, the school will remove them such as what happened to me in UMUC-Europe. The master's MIS program (yes, that relates to IT) was losing its appeal and less students were taking it, causing less classes to be offered. I was told/suggested by my adviser that it may put a dent in my graduation timeline and that I should transfer to the MS-IT program in which I did. In doing that, two classes were not transferable and now I am graduating this year instead of last (which it still increased my time for a master's).

                            Now with my years in law enforcement as a Border Patrol Agent and MP (NYPD was calling me to get in their academy class in 2003), I did not have that academic background in criminal justice but I do not knock it. If the OP wants the pursue it; so be it. I rather have him become a lawyer ; even many with law degrees do not pursue a career in law.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Two broad questions and an introduction.

                              Originally posted by Ethan Jones View Post
                              Hi, I'm Ethan and I'm 16 years old. I'm currently a Junior in High School, and have been getting interested in joining the Kentucky National Guard. My future plans as far as careers go is to become a police officer. Mainly local, however in due time I would like to eventually become a State Trooper. I'm graduating at 17, and am having a hard time deciding on what to do. My mother is a single parent raising my brother and I, as well as me having a $24,000 scholarship to EKU where I plan on receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. Basically, I'm thinking of joining at 17 with parental consent. I would like to be in the National Guard, but be able to do college at the same time. How would I go about doing this? I just plan on getting my Bachelor's which will take four years. Once I get finished with my Bachelor's and apply to police departments in my area, how will I balance out my police job and national guard one? And since I would have to do the two weeks of training in the summer, what would happen to my civilian job? Would my superiors at the police department allow me to go on leave? What MOS should I choose for law enforcement? People say MP would be good, but I've read on the forums that police departments don't really like hiring MPs because of how it's completely different from civilian LE and how they would have to change how they operate. If I'm wanting to go to school for four years while being in the NG, does it pay for my tuition and all of that? Looking forward to your responses!
                              Before you have your heart set on what you want to major in when you go to college, you need to do some comprehensive research. In today's economy people can't afford to just go to college, major in something, and hope for the best after they graduate. You need to find out which majors are the most lucrative and have the best job outlook, then figure out which major interests you the most. You also need to find out what the worst college majors are, so you can avoid them. Next, it may also help for you to have a minor. This will broaden your marketability as well as provide a plan B.

                              There are many of us, including myself, who used a plan B. I majored in Graphic Communications and was a graphic designer for several years before I lost interest and started teaching. I had enough credit hours (minored in English) to begin teaching right away instead of having to go back to college to get the necessary credit hours in order to teach with an emergency certification. In retrospect, if I had minored in Education, I would have spent even less time and money when I completed my Masters degree and Alternative Certification. Nevertheless, no matter how bad the economy has gotten and no matter how many wars we've gotten into in the last 15 years I've always had steady employment and excellent group healthcare benefits as well as built up a retirement. These are things you also need to consider in your search for a career.

                              I've provided some links for you to consider:

                              Ten Best College Majors --Kiplinger

                              Ten Worst College Majors --Forbes
                              Last edited by VICEROY06; January 22nd, 2013, 10:22 AM.

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