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Careers After Law Enforcement: Insight from Dr. Gabriele Suboch

professor, law enforcement, criminal justice

During Law Enforcement Appreciation month, NCU wants to take a moment to recognize law enforcement officials who have dedicated their lives to upholding law and order throughout their communities. Those who serve in law enforcement deserve support and respect when it comes to their days in service, and after they're finished, they should be able to take advantage of new opportunities to further their success.

Actually, there are quite a few law enforcement officers who are pursuing NCU online degrees in hopes to find other avenues outside of traditional law enforcement. Many people in the field can retire at a young age with pensions, and when they do, in many cases, they return to school to find new ways to put their law enforcement experience toward other endeavors.

To give you an idea of what kinds of careers may be available to those who earn a degree in Criminal Justice, Dr. Gabriele Suboch, a distinguished professor in the Criminal Justice department at NCU, has offered to share her insight about what the future may hold for those looking to serve beyond their time in uniform. 

Related Article - What Can I Do with a Criminal Justice Degree?

Teaching After Retirement or As a Second Job

According to research done by Dr. Suboch, "baby boomers are retiring from law enforcement and want to teach part-time at a university." This stems from a desire to share their expertise and make a lasting impact for those leading the next blue wave. "Not only are retirees searching for teaching positions, but even current law enforcement officers are looking for a second job in teaching," says Dr. Suboch. Officers looking to expand their studies and advance in their careers may be required to pursue higher degrees of education, which may involve teaching hours. Also, by taking advantage of teaching opportunities on a part-time basis, they may be more likely to secure a full-time position after retirement. Dr. Suboch also explains how military police officers who are leaving the armed forces and looking for employment are great candidates for academic instruction. "Especially injured officers, those who cannot become active law enforcement anymore due to their injuries, will look for teaching positions." 

Keep in mind, becoming a teacher depends on the type of degree you have, as well as teaching certifications and experience. Most teaching positions in the field at the collegiate level will require a Master of Science in Criminology, or in some cases, a PhD in Criminal Justice. To instruct at the high school level, only a bachelor's degree and teaching credentials will suffice. However, for those searching for advanced positions within the realm of law enforcement, there are many other opportunities to explore.

Related Article: What Types of Jobs Can You Pursue with a Doctorate in Criminal Justice?

Other Careers After Traditional Law Enforcement

Rather than transitioning from a traditional law enforcement role to an academic one, many people who are looking to try something new after their time as an officer may decide to progress in their own department or with a related agency. For example, Dr. Suboch states that "promotional ranks within a law enforcement agency are partially dependent upon the level of education you have earned." This means that those with a bachelor's can obtain the role of a Lieutenant. For those with a graduate degree, they can consider becoming a Captain, a Colonel or above. These rankings also relate to the kinds of positions that are available within different areas of law enforcement. 

"Anyone who wants to become a Chief of Police, Sheriff, or a Director of a federal agency will most likely have to obtain a PhD in a related field," Dr. Suboch points out. One of the main reasons for this requirement is that studies have shown a tremendous increase in overall capabilities of officers with a college degree. "In a dissertation by Dr. Carter at NCU, research suggests that officers with advanced degrees had less uses of force, better writing skills, and greater interpersonal skills overall," says Dr. Suboch. 

With this in mind, it makes sense that internal departments and the greater public want to entrust their safety to those with the right training. Law enforcement is a vital component to the integrity of a community, and not only does it rely on the courage of others, but it also demands the support of its veterans to improve conditions for the future. Whether support is in the field or inside of a classroom, "better knowledge leads to better critical thinking skills and decision making," says Dr. Suboch. "With experienced leaders on all fronts, the world becomes a much safer place to live."

Explore New Opportunities in Criminal Justice at NCU

If taking the next step in your career involves furthering your education, then NCU is a great place to start. Our Doctoral of Criminal Justice is a comprehensive program geared toward the working professional with a desire to gain executive-level leadership skills and training. With specializations in Homeland Security to everyday policing, students will strengthen their understanding in critical areas of the field, as well as learn about advanced operations related to public safety. 

More than anything, you'll be able to execute your training at a pace that works alongside your lifestyle. NCU offers flexible programs that meet your needs, and our world-class staff will be there to guide you every step of the way. Pursuing an advanced degree in Criminal Justice doesn't have to be a hurdle to overcome, and instead, it can be a rewarding process that distinguishes your service and career as an officer. 

For any questions you may have about our Criminal Justice or Homeland Security degree programs, please feel free to contact our admissions office or fill out the form below.