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Studying for Police Work Online

written by: Beth Taylor•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 7/8/2010

Online degrees are becoming more and more available, and different types of study are better suited to online study. Florida Institute of Technology offers an online course toward a BA degree in Criminal Justice, so you can pursue a career in police work.

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    Online Degree in Police Work

    Internet technologies have taken the idea of "distance education" out of science fiction and into reality. Captain Kirk negotiating with Klingons on a big screen is now a reality: students and professors can discuss their subject on computer screens. When people get together in a classroom and interact with an instructor via video, sound, and Internet technologies, this is live distance education. No matter where the instructor is located, students can ask questions and receive answers in real time. Pictures, diagrams and animations can also be broadcast to enhance the instructor's lecture. Pre-recorded distance education is aptly named; an example would be a student watching a recording of the video lecture from the comfort of his or her own home.

    This type of technology, coupled with the popularity of personal computers, have led some institutions of higher learning to offer online courses of study toward a degree. The various pros and cons of online learning will be different from program to program. The Florida Institute of Technology Online is an accredited institution that offers a BA in Criminal Justice that can be earned solely via online education.

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    The Pros and Cons of Studying Online to Become a Police Officer

    Some of the benefits of this online course are obvious; for example, a student can have a job and view her courses online according to her personal schedule, instead of needing to be in class at a specific time. Studying online also saves a lot of money in commute costs!

    While students enrolled in online courses must have a very high level of self-discipline, this seems to be a necessary trait for police officers, as well. Determination, diligence, and ability to commit oneself and persevere through a difficult assignment are not only admirable traits but also tantamount to the success of an online student and a police officer. So it may seem that studying online to become a police officer may be an appropriate choice for many people.

    Many of police officer's responsibilities require interaction with the general public, sometimes in extremely tense or upsetting circumstances. Police officers need to be comfortable with people, care about people, and know how to behave toward scared, angry, even disturbed people. Police officers need to be adept at "reading" people and knowing how to respond.

    Any online course lacks personal interaction. It is possible that the loss of this component could effect the overall quality of the coursework, especially if the goal of the student is to enter a career that requires much personal interaction.

    Florida Institute of Technology students are required to interact with each other and their professors via live chat rooms, email, and message boards. Students can post questions to their teachers and debate and discuss issues with each other. Without this beneficial element, the education would be worthless. Fortunately, there are good programs that incorporate personal interaction, even if it is not face-to-face.

    The bottom line for all students, of course, is to find a program that meets their needs, and a career that they will enjoy and be good at.