Police officers who want to increase their pay and chances at promotion can turn to online criminal justice and public programs to boost their careers to the next level. But doing so requires officers to get past some of their concerns about earning a degree through an online program.

Most police officers find that once those concerns are addressed, they can flourish in an online education system.

Marian University offers two online programs that can improve police officers’ careers, both in law enforcement and if they decide to transition into another career. Those are the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and the Master of Science in Professional Practice in Public Safety.

Online Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree

The bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Marian University focuses on three areas of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, correctional institutions, and social and juvenile justice. Many people in the online criminal justice program are those who currently work as police officers as well as those who work at criminal justice agencies and correctional facilities.

The curriculum includes 45 credits in the liberal arts, including electives in art, music, and literature, as well as classes in history, sociology, and psychology. There are 36 credits in criminal justice, including courses in constitutional, criminal and juvenile law. Other classes include Critical Issues in Criminal Justice, Criminal Investigation, Law Enforcement Administration, and Community-Based Corrections.

The online criminal justice degree program is offered through the Marian University MPath  7-Week Accelerated Program.

Online Public Safety Master’s Degree

The Master of Science in Professional Practice in Public Safety (MS PPPS) from Marian University prepares graduates for supervisory roles in law enforcement. It attracts police officers as well as those from fire departments, federal government bureaus, wildlife protection agencies, and the military.

The 31 credits in the program are designed to prepare graduates for leadership. They include classes in public, management, and organizational communication. Students also take courses in Leadership Theory and Leadership Application, Public Safety Law & Ethics, Community Collaboration, and Foundational Research and Statistics.

The online public safety master’s degree is offered through the Marian University MPath Flexible Program. Each course lasts four weeks, allowing students to focus on one topic at the time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Learning

Alan Johnson, an assistant professor and Director of Criminal Justice and Homeland Security programs at Marian University, said in his years talking to prospective students, many of the same concerns are voiced. Johnson, a retired Milwaukee police officer with 26 years of experience, said he has grown used to often hearing the following concerns, and that Marian University’s programs address them.

“I Hate Computers”

Johnson said he understands that because “there are many times I look at my kids and their connection to technology and think, “Where did this country go wrong?” However, he advised Marian University students that it is time to “take the plunge” because computers are here to stay. He also reminds them that they interface with technology frequently with everything from touch screens in police cars to watching Netflix at home.

“Aren’t Online Classes Harder (Or Easier)”

Many still think that online classes are different than traditional classes, either much easier or much harder. Online courses are different in terms of how they are experienced, and how information is delivered, but what is taught is the same and classwork and tests are no easier or harder than those in a traditional course. Johnson said that the one difference is that some online classes are accelerated, but the advantage is that students complete a course much faster. As Johnson points out, they still “have the same textbook, same tests, and same paper topics.”

“I Struggle With the Technology”

Those who are not used to interacting with technology can be assured that they are given plenty of direction by Marian University to prepare for an online course. As Johnson noted, “If you can go to a website, you can easily learn the rest. You’ll get a walkthrough on how to find your assignments, how to post discussion, take quizzes, and upload your homework and papers. It’s really all pretty self-explanatory these days.”

“I Need Personal Contact”

Marian University’s MPath system allows you to ask questions of professors via email, text, and other communication channels. Many professors give students their phone number and offer scheduled time for one-on-one mentoring. Johnson said that many students have told him “they felt they received more contact from the instructor in an online class than in a classroom.”

Johnson also pointed out that the biggest advantage of online courses for police officers is that it allows them to hold down a demanding job while also seeking to advance their career with a college degree.

Whether officers are seeking to earn a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree, the programs offered through Marian University can open the door to a better pension, more chances for promotion, and higher pay in law enforcement.