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Do You Need a Criminal Justice Degree to Become a Police Officer?

Do You Need a Criminal Justice Degree to Become a Police Officer?

policeofficerIf you want a career as a police officer, you might be wondering whether college is worth it. You can try to get an entry-level job without a degree, but you find yourself getting passed over for promotions later if you don’t complete your education now. Earning your criminal justice degree gives you a lifelong competitive advantage, so the short-term costs are worth the reward.

Becoming a Police Officer

Requirements for becoming a police officer differ slightly from place to place, so it’s important to check with your local or state police department to find out what they expect. However, some requirements are the same no matter where you apply:

  • Age. Police officer candidates must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Citizenship. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, and they must have driver’s licenses.
  • Physical preparedness. Most police departments require job candidates to pass vision and health screenings. They also require police officer candidates to meet certain requirements for strength and agility.
  • Education. A police officer must have at least a high school diploma or GED. However, police academies are increasingly requiring officers to have some college coursework, a bachelor’s degree or an MS in Criminal/Social Justice (to learn the variety of fields you can work in with a degree, visit this page).
  • Character tests. A criminal conviction, such as a felony, can keep some people from becoming police officers. Candidates often have to pass drug tests and lie detector tests throughout their training.

Career Options in Law Enforcement

In addition to making it easier to become a patrol officer or corrections officer, a criminal justice degree builds a foundation for many different law enforcement career paths. Check out some of these more advanced career options:

  • Private investigator. After working as a police officer for a few years, you might decide to become a private investigator. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for private investigators will grow a whopping 21 percent over the next decade, and PIs can expect an average annual salary of $50,780.
  • Probation officer. Probation officer demand is expected to grow 18 percent over the next decade, and a probation officer, on average, makes $52,380 each year.
  • Crime scene investigator. If you’ve ever watched CSI and thought, “I could do that,” then a criminal justice degree can lead to a job as a crime scene investigator. Demand for crime scene investigators should grow 19 percent over the next decade, and if you choose this job, you can expect to make about $55,730 each year.
  • Paralegal or legal assistant. Lawyer job openings are growing no faster than average, but experts expect paralegal job openings to grow at an astonishing 18 percent over the next decade. Paralegals require less training than attorneys, and they can expect to make about $50,220 per year.
  • Retail loss prevention specialist. Combining your experience as a police officer and your criminal justice degree could allow you to transition to the private sector and work in retail loss prevention. Entry level positions start out at about $38,520 per year, but since you’d have your degree, you’d have a much better shot at leadership positions with higher salaries.
  • Intelligence analyst. Combine your criminal justice degree with knowledge of a foreign language or other specialized skills, and you could find yourself working in homeland security. Intelligence analysts earn as much as $86,000 per year.

If you start as a police officer and branch out into other areas, you can keep your career interesting while sticking with law enforcement for a lifetime. Earning your criminal justice degree gives you options later, which is why it’s a good idea to finish your education before becoming a police officer.

Choosing the Right Degree Program

If you’re just starting out as an adult and you’re interested in police work, look into schools that offer bachelor’s degrees. Alternatively, if you’ve already spent time in the workforce and you have a bachelor’s degree, apply to programs that offer master’s degrees in criminal justice.

Some schools allow you to take classes online, which lets you keep your current job while you train for your new career. If you’ve been dreaming of working in law enforcement, then apply to a good school today.

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6 Traits of a Happy Healthy College Student

6 Traits of a Happy Healthy College Student

According to statistics from the U.S. government, about 59 percent of students who begin working on a college degree finish it within six years. To ensure you’re included among that percentage, you need to develop a set of traits that will contribute to your ability to complete your undergraduate degree. Keep reading for a list of the top six traits of healthy, happy college students.

sleepystudent

A Commitment to Getting Enough Sleep

Whether you go away from college or study close to home, a good night’s sleep probably isn’t high on your priority list. However, studies show that it should be. Some research shows that students who get adequate rest get one letter grade higher in their classes than their peers who get less sleep.

If you didn’t make sleep a priority in high school, it’s time to develop this commitment. Lack of sleep may be one of several unhealthy habits you had your senior year. Check out this infographic on ditching bad highschool habits to find out what other areas you need to address.

dreamer

A Willingness to Follow Your Dreams

Successful college students let their passions guide them as they choose classes and ultimately, a major area of study. When you choose to invest your time and energy into subjects that matter to you, you’ll find that earning good grades doesn’t feel like work. When you follow your dreams, you make a passionate investment in a course of study that brings out your creativity and natural curiosity.

class lecture

A Desire to Attend Class

This trait is challenging, especially for mandatory classes outside your major. Remember that even those so-called “boring” courses contribute to your GPA, and form a foundation for the broad knowledge you’ll need as a well-rounded member of society.

For any class, it’s possible the professor will share material in class that’s not in the textbook. This same non-textbook material could show up on an exam, putting those who don’t attend class at a distinct disadvantage. Instructors commonly use this approach to incentivize students to attend class regularly. Need another reason to attend class? You may miss pop quizzes and extra credit opportunities.

studentsphone

A Sense of When to Put Down Your Phone

Yes, it’s tempting to check the scores or Facebook or whatever app most often captures your attention. However, smartphones can cause major problems for college students. Choose to turn off your phone during class and study groups so you can pay attention and learn. You may also want to consider turning it off during group social outings. If you have your nose buried in your phone, it’s going to be much more difficult to meet new people and make friends.

textbooks

A Process for Learning That Goes Beyond Memorization

Once you’re in college, the amount of rote memorization you’re required to do goes down. In its place, you’re expected to analyze data and synthesize reading material to produce a logical argument for an essay or in response to a test question. To accomplish these assignments and achieve high scores on tests, you need to work toward having a strong understanding of the concepts in each class. You may find that using notecards, highlighting passages, and even creating spreadsheets will help you organize and learn the information you’ll need for your classes.

dealingwithfailure

A Strategy for Dealing with Failure

It’s inevitable. Most college students encounter a concept or even an entire class that gives them difficulty. What’s important is to know how to move forward after you fail an exam or get a low semester grade. For cases when you get a low-grade on an assignment or mid-term, plan to talk with your professor during his or her office hours so you can master the concept before the final exam.

If you don’t already have a study group for the class, set one up so you can learn from other students. Finally, read any optional materials that are listed for your class. These textbooks may help you grasp the concepts that are causing you trouble.

If you work toward cultivating these traits, you’ll set yourself up for success in college. Which traits will be the most challenging for you to master and why?

 

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Affordable Tech Gadgets for College Students

Affordable Tech Gadgets for College Students

These days, back-to-school sales are more likely to feature discounted tablets than discounted No. 2 pencils. That’s good considering that high school and college students in particular will probably fill their brand new backpacks with more gadgets and fewer books. It adds up and can even become a real budget buster when different professors have different technology requirements.

From their point of view it makes sense. According to one Pew Research Center survey, a majority of teachers think that tech in the classroom and at home can make students better researchers and more independent learners. But when you’re the one shelling out the cash for a school supplies list a mile long, you need to make smart decisions.

College students already spend about $1,200 on books and supplies each year according to the College Board. Lucky for you it doesn’t take a Master’s Degree to find the gadgets that are as useful as they are affordable. Here are some top pics for affordable student tech gear that will take you from now until graduation day.

A Truly Affordable Tablet

Try the Galaxy Tab 3 from Samsung. You get a powerful multimedia device that fits in your hand and the smaller phablet version rings in at under $150 when you shop around. Besides free 50 GB worth of Dropbox Storage, there are other ways to save. Carrier T-Mobile offers some free 4G LTE data for tablet customers and has affordable rate plans that are perfect for college students.

GalaxyTab3

A Noise Canceling Solution

For under $60 you can snag Creative HN-900 noise cancellation headphones that will make studying that much easier thanks to decent noise cancellation and good balance. The best part – beside the student-friendly price tag – is that the thing most likely to break on over-the-ear headphones (the cable) is detachable so you can replace it without having to spring for new cans.

Headphones

A Backpack That Does Double Duty

Great backpacks don’t come cheap anyway so spend a little extra for one that does more than just hold books. The Voltaic Converter Solar Backpack will run you about $150 but will save you endless headaches thanks to its ability to charge phones, tablets, cameras, and other gadgets. It’s also light, waterproof and built to handle college life. Plus it’s an easy way to make your walk to class feel more productive.

BackPackSolar

A Portable Keyboard

Make that a very portable keyboard. The Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard connects wirelessly to laptops and most mobile devices to broadcast a full QWERTY layout that projects onto any flat surface. It is also small enough to stash in your pants pocket, which is why at about $99 it wins out over less expensive roll up keyboards and more expensive iPad case and keyboard combos.

PortableKeyBoard

A Backup Plan

Not the kind of backup plan that you turn to when you can’t hack it in your major but rather the kind you turn to when your laptop dies a hideous death. The WD My Passport 1TB portable external hard drive will set you back $60 but remember that the comfort of knowing your dissertation will still be there no matter what is priceless. It’s ultra compact, you can password lock it and it even automatically backs up software.

PortableStorage

A Better Way to Take Notes

Still recording lectures while you take notes (or not)? Why not do both? Livescribe’s Echo smartpen automatically records everything you hear or say while you’re writing on Livescribe’s paper. Tap your notes to replay the audio, send your notes to a mobile device, social profile or app, and never miss another word of the most essential courses in your discipline.

EchoSmartPen

So, there you have it! These affordable tech gadgets are for sure going to be a hit in the hallways this year at campuses around the world. Do you have a favorite gadget that you can’t live without?

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Jessica Oaks. She is a freelance journalist who loves covering technology news and the ways that technology can make life easier. Follow her on Twitter @TechyJessy.

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5 Grad School Survival Tips for Full-Time Workers

5 Grad School Survival Tips for Full-Time Workers

AdultStudentAn advanced degree can increase your earning power and help you get ahead in your field by leaps and bounds. But in today’s economy, many full-time workers can’t afford to take time off to earn an advanced degree — even though it might be necessary for their career advancement. It might be challenging to find time to work and get a graduate degree, not to mention family and personal time, but it’s possible. You just need to choose the right program, plan carefully, get your boss and family on board with the plan and make your health a priority throughout the program, so you can maintain the stamina you need to succeed.

Choose the Right Program

A big part of succeeding in grad school while working full-time is finding a program that accommodates your work schedule. Online programs are an excellent option for any career path — when you go back to school online for a Masters in Criminal Justice, for example, you can gain the skills you need to advance into an administrative role on your own schedule. You could also consider a part-time program, or a full-time program that’s designed to accommodate the needs of working professionals.

Get Your Boss on Board

You can’t work full-time and earn a graduate degree without letting your boss in on the plan — whether you need to show up in person for classes in a brick-and-mortar setting, or you’re taking your classes entirely online. Talk to your boss about your grad school plans well ahead of time. If you’ve been out of college for a while, chances are you will need a letter of recommendation from your boss, anyway.

Make sure your boss knows exactly how your post-graduate studies can add to your value as an employee. The more your organization can benefit from your advanced education, the greater the chances your boss will work with you to accommodate your study needs. You might even get some company money to help finance your degree.

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

If you want to find time to meet your work and family responsibilities while earning a graduate degree, you will need to plan study and personal time in advance. Even before you start grad school, sit down and work out a schedule to help you complete entrance exams and gather your application materials in time to meet the deadline. Once you’re in school, plan ahead to make sure you have time for important upcoming family obligations, like graduations, holidays and weddings, while still meeting the requirements of your program and your job. On a weekly basis, sit down with your day planner and schedule in time to study, time for your family and friends and time for yourself.

Use Vacation Time Wisely

When you’re a working adult in grad school, you won’t have time to pull all-nighters every time there’s a big project or test due. Stretch yourself too thin and your stress levels will skyrocket. Your job performance could suffer and you could even make yourself sick. However, you will probably still need to cram for tests and make time for big school projects.

By planning ahead, you can use your vacation days to take time off work when you know you’ll need to study for a big test or focus on completing a school project. Just make sure you ask for the days off ahead of time, instead of calling in sick the day before every exam. That way, your boss will remain understanding about your educational responsibilities.

Put Your Health First

Juggling the demands of a full-time work schedule with a full-time school schedule requires a lot of physical stamina. If you don’t make your health a priority, you’ll burn out quickly — and could even succumb to a full-on health crisis. Make sure you get eight to nine hours of sleep a night, eat a healthy diet, get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week and practice stress-management so you don’t get overwhelmed. You might think that you don’t have time to take care of yourself properly, but in fact, you don’t have time not to. If you neglect your health, you’ll soon find you don’t have it in you to fulfill your other obligations, either.

It’s not easy to manage the demands of grad school while working full time, but if can be done. All it takes is some careful planning and the willingness to make your education a priority.

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5 Continuing Education Options for Engineers

5 Continuing Education Options for Engineers

Engineer1Engineers who have grown bored with their jobs and want to explore other career options should consider pursuing a master’s degree. Not only will having a master’s heighten your appeal to prospective employers, the knowledge you gain while earning your degree will expand your professional repertoire. If you’re ready to take your engineering career to the next level, there are a number of options for you to consider.

Master of Science in Engineering Management

If you’re interested in overseeing the technical aspects of a business, pursue a degree online as a Master of Science of Engineering Management. This degree provides engineering students with the necessary skills to organize and control company databases. With a course curriculum comprised of computer science and business management classes, students will essentially be learning two valuable trades. Engineers with this type of degree often head their companies’ engineering departments and make larger salaries than their peers. Additionally, the technical skills you’ll acquire while earning your degree will ensure you’re well-equipped to oversee your department’s technology-based projects.

Master of Bioengineering

Engineering students with an insatiable interest in science should look into a Master’s in Bioengineering. The exact curriculum varies from school to school, but most bioengineering programs require students to complete a fascinating assortment of courses on cell creation and manipulation. The knowledge you gain from these courses will make you a sought-after job prospect for corporate labs and pharmaceutical companies. Graduates who want to make inroads into curing widespread diseases can pursue careers in public health.

According to U.S. News & World Report, biomedical engineering is a rapidly growing field. Between 2008 and 2018, biomedical engineering has a projected growth rate of over 70 percent, making a degree in this field an enticing prospect for engineering students who are itching to join the workforce. With a median salary of $80,000, you won’t find many biomedical engineers with insufficient funds. Furthermore, bioengineers who work in medical equipment design have been known to make upwards of $100,000 annually. The sizable salaries associated with this field make a career in bioengineering a tempting option for engineers looking to support a family.

Master of Engineering in Management

Similar to a Master of Science in Engineering Management degree, this type of degree provides students with business management skills while placing a strong emphasis on technology. Courses on computer science and system management constitute the bulk of a Master of Engineering in Management curriculum. With the ability to manage large groups of workers and a knack for solving technical problems, you can become an essential part of any business lucky enough to land you as a hire. Armed with a Master of engineering in management degree, you’ll have no problem overseeing a company’s technology department.

In our increasingly tech-laden society, job applicants who possess management know-how and technological savvy are heavily favored by employers. Earning a Master of Engineering in Management degree will ensure your post-graduation job prospects are strong.

Master of Engineering in Manufacturing

Engineers with aspirations of working in product design and distribution will benefit from earning a Master of Engineering in Manufacturing degree. When pursuing this degree, you’ll complete a wide range of courses on marketing and industrial manufacturing.

After graduating, you’ll feel right at home in the manufacturing department of any business. As a manufacturing engineer, you will play an integral role in designing both products and packaging. In addition, you’ll help develop ways to make your company’s manufacturing process more efficient.

Master of Financial Engineering

Students with a knack for crunching numbers will enjoy pursuing a Master of Financial Engineering degree. With a curriculum composed largely of advanced math and economics courses, this type of degree gives engineers the skills to thrive in the financial sector. Once you’ve earned your degree, you’ll have a fair number of job prospects. Not only will you be qualified to head a business’s accounting department, you can also seek your fortune on Wall Street and join a successful brokerage firm.

Since engineers are natural problem solvers who are always eager to tackle new challenges, many of them will jump at the chance to continue their education. Instead of viewing continued education as a chore, determined engineers are sure to see this opportunity as the precursor to bold new adventures.

 

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DormCo Giveaway! Sending You Off To College In Style!

DormCo Giveaway! Sending You Off To College In Style!

DormcoTrunkSummer is an exciting time for first year college students. This is the time of year when they strategically plan their exodus from the place they have called home for the past 18 years and set the stage for what will be their new abode for the next four years. A lot of time and planning goes into this process. Residence halls have to be selected; roommates are decided upon; and somehow, a student needs to figure out how they are going to cram all of their belongings into a room that was designed for streamlined and efficient living.

To properly celebrate this occasion, and hopefully help out with the cramming statement above, CheapScholar.org has teamed up with DormCo to provide one lucky reader with a FREE RUGGED DORM TRUNK!

This rustic red dorm trunk (with wheels) is exclusively available from DormCo. Whether you need a place to stash all of your college gear or want a mobile desk or tv stand, a dorm trunk is a “must have” addition to your dorm supplies checklist. This trunk retails for $140. Click here to see more information, including size measurements.

A Little Info About DormCo

DormCo is your one stop shop for everything COLLEGE DORM since 2010. DormCo offers the widest selection of essentials for your college dorm at the lowest prices. Just because college tuition and textbooks cost an arm and a leg, it doesn’t mean that your dorm supplies should too. DormCo understands everything that it takes to prepare for heading off to college, leaving your parents, and arriving on an exciting, yet unknown college campus. Everything for setting up your dorm room should be a fun and enjoyable process! By shopping at DormCo, you can be confident that you have everything you need for college life at prices that will make you brag to your friends. Connect with DormCo on Facebook and Twitter to get all sorts of inside college tips. You can also check them out on Pinterest for great dorm room decorating tips!

The following represents the many different ways in which you can submit an entry into the giveaway:

DormcoTrunkSideEach of the methods above will give you an entry into the giveaway. So, you could potentially have up to five chances to win the Free Rugged Dorm Trunk from DormCo

This giveaway will close on Thursday July 17th at midnight (Eastern Standard Time). I will randomly select a winner (using the wonders of technology – Random.org) from the entries and announce the winner on this article. The winner has a week to contact me and arrange for delivery of the trunk. If I don’t hear from the winner, I will randomly select an alternate.

Hope you enjoy this giveaway. If you know of any deserving people that could make good use of a free college dorm trunk, please feel free to utilize the “share tab” below to pass this information onto them.

Good Luck! ;)

***WINNER UPDATE***

Congratulations Angela A.! She is the winner of the new Rugged Dorm Trunk provided by DormCo!

***WINNER UPDATE***

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Microsoft Office 365 is a Student’s Best Companion

Microsoft Office 365 is a Student’s Best Companion

Brought to you by Microsoft Office

Whether you’re preparing for college this fall or a current student, Office 365 makes for a great companion to help you study smarter, stay more organized and manage your social life efficiently. With the ability to access all of your information whenever and wherever, you’ll always be set up for success.

Learn more about Office 365, including how eligible students can qualify for special pricing through Microsoft Office 365 University

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What to Do if You’ve Been Waitlisted

What to Do if You’ve Been Waitlisted

standinginlineGetting waitlisted can add confusion to an already stressful applications process. After receiving the news that you have been waitlisted, you may be feeling stressed, nervous, angry, scared, or even confused.

There are a few things you should understand about your admission prospects. Firstly, remember that all is not lost; in some cases, there are even some steps you can take to improve your chances of admission. If you want to ease your admission anxiety, below you’ll find everything you need to know about your options after being waitlisted.

Chances of Admission: What Does Being Waitlisted Mean for Me?

Waiting lists are used as a means for accommodating students who meet requirements for admission, but are surplus for the college’s capacity to facilitate students. Your chance of being admitted off of the wait list varies drastically from school to school. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, about one third of students who decide to stay on a waiting list are later admitted. For more competitive programs or for ivy league schools, these margins of acceptance can be razor thin. Recently, Yale waitlisted 996 students, and only went on to accept 103 of them. Schools like Duke will often place thousands on a waitlist, anticipating the admission of only a few dozen.

The reason the acceptance rate for waitlisted students at selective schools is so low is because waiting lists act as safety nets for universities—allowing them to have a pool of applicants to choose from in case accepted students decide not to attend. Students selected for competitive, ivy-league programs are more likely to accept an offer of admission, so waitlisted students are more likely to be rejected from these institutions.

However, despite those statistics, being waitlisted doesn’t have to signify the end of your college dream; in fact, you have a couple different options at your disposal.

Staying Listed

The very first thing you should do is figure out the specific deadline for decision at the college in question. Although the date will vary drastically from school to school and program to program, May 1st is a common time for many institutions.

The next step is to decide whether you want to remain on the waiting list or not. If you’re seriously considering accepting the offer for admission, remaining on the waiting list is a good idea. There is often a form or response that waitlisted students are required to fill out if they wish to remain on the waiting list; US News urges students who want to remain on the list to fill this out as soon as possible. However, if you’ve decided to accept a different offer, it’s a good idea to get off the waiting list for the benefit of the other applicants.

Terms and Conditions Apply
Before you make any big decisions one way or the other, you should call the school and determine if there are any conditions that waitlisted candidates should be aware of. Most commonly, these conditions happen because waitlisted candidates are informed about their admission much later than other applicants, which can reduce the amount of financial aid and housing options available to them.

Looking Forward

If you decide to remain on the waiting list, you should also prepare to attend a different school, as a precaution. If different institutions have accepted you, select the one that suits your needs best to ensure that you’ll have a place. You may be forced to make a small non-refundable deposit in order to do this, but it’s an important insurance to have if your waiting list program doesn’t turn out.

If you were not accepted to other institutions, or did not apply to other institutions, consider looking into colleges with rolling applications, community colleges, or online schools.

Be Proactive

Determining a sense of your chances of admission involves contacting the admissions office and inquiring about the wait list. How is the wait list organized? Are students placed in a priority list of some kind? Where are you on the list? Is there a long waitlist and a short waitlist? Most schools will gladly inform you of your status if you contact admissions.

Establishing a presence for yourself after you’ve been waitlisted is generally a good idea, as long as you don’t become a pest (in other words: do not contact the admissions office to ask why you weren’t accepted). Communicate with admissions, by letter or email, that you still have an active interest in attending the school. Updates and changes to your application are also a good idea to include (this also consists of achievements and shifts in your grades since your application). According to the Princeton Review, you should ask that a letter declaring your interest in the school—and pledging attendance if you are, in fact, accepted—be added to your file.

Remember that if a school has placed you on a waitlist, that means they’ve already determined you have all the academic skills necessary to be admitted. You’ll only benefit from adding nonacademic information that could help your case, achievements you didn’t mention in your application, or supplemental data that can help improve your case.

Remember: You’re Already Successful!

Above all else, remember that your application was waitlisted—not declined. If you’re ultimately turned away because the school can only accommodate a limited number of students, know that you’ve already achieved something because most students didn’t get as far as you! Remind yourself that many students are waitlisted every year, and that being waitlisted does not invalidate your many accomplishments or your hard work.

Rather than see your being waitlisted as a setback, take this time to refocus on your goals and take pride in the fact that—wherever you’re going to school—you’ll be starting on an exciting new chapter in your life. There is no one path to success, and while your dream school may feel out of reach following a waitlisted status or even a rejection, your dreams certainly aren’t.

This article was contributed on behalf of Bay Area Recovery. If you’re stressing out about being waitlisted, remember that drugs and alcohol are not the answer. If you’re battling problems with seeking these whenever you’re stressed, it would be a good idea to consider finding a compassionate drug and alcohol rehabilitation program such as that with Bay Area Recovery. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!

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