Every law enforcement officer faces a choice in their career. They can work and retire as an officer or earn the graduate degree they need to move into a police supervisor role, making them better candidates for promotion and increased salary.
For those who choose to return to school, earning a master’s degree online offers the flexibility to reach their goals while working full-time as a law enforcement officer, helping them stand out from the rank and file in their department.
Marian University offers a degree for those who aspire to public safety leadership. The Master of Science in Professional Practice in Public Safety offers an education that teaches police officers and other professionals the skills needed to get jobs such as sergeant, lieutenant, captain and chief.
The Benefits of Online Learning
Alan Johnson, an assistant professor and Director of Criminal Justice and Homeland Security programs at Marian University said, “the biggest advantage of online education is that it gives you flexibility.”
“The public safety professions don’t give you lots of flexibility with your schedule. You work nights, weekends, and holidays,” said Johnson, a retired Milwaukee police lieutenant with 26 years of service. “You may be going to court, get stuck on a late assignment or have your off days or shift changed, making traditional classes difficult to schedule and attend.”
Johnson said the flexibility of online courses makes it easier for officers to work while attending school, while still having time for kids’ soccer games or taking a significant other out on a date.
Job Outlook and Salary
For those looking to move into a police manager role, the reward can prove substantial. Federal government job projections and salary figures show that police supervisor is a solid career choice.
Police supervisors, listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) under “First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives,” made a mean annual salary of $93,100 in May 2018. The top 25% on the field made more than $116,300 a year.
By a large margin, the majority of police supervisors work for local government, according to the BLS. Others work for state government, federal government, schools, colleges and universities and, junior colleges.
The U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*Net projects a 4% to 6% increase in the number of police supervisor jobs between 2018 and 2028.
What You Learn in the Master’s Program
Most people who enter Marian University’s Master of Science in Professional Practice in Public Safety are police officers who are looking to improve their future. They want to take the next step up in their law enforcement career.
The program combines real-world experience with criminal justice theory, giving officers practical knowledge on how to apply theory to situations they face every day in law enforcement.
Students use the MPath Flexible Program system to take the course. They can take the online degree program in four-week blocks of classes, which gives them the advantage of focusing on one topic at a time.
In designing the program, Marian University interviewed 10 public safety executives who said they would recommend a master’s degree to anyone who wants to get into mid-level or upper-level management.
They also identified competencies needed for police supervisor jobs. All these areas are covered in the Marian University Master of Science in Professional Practice in Public Safety degree program. They are:
- Budgeting /accounting
- Ability to conduct research
- Lead and develop a mentally and physically healthy workforce
Officers should also take advantage of any tuition reimbursement they might have from their department.
A master’s degree sets up graduates for both an improved current career and can bridge the gap into a new job once they quit or retire from the police force. It’s a smart choice for those who want to take the next step in their public safety career.