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Northern Kentucky University offering new degree pathway for law enforcement, criminal justice officers

Northern Kentucky University is offering college credit for criminal justice training, creating a pathway for law enforcement and corrections officers to earn a bachelor’s degree.

According to a National Police Foundation study, only 30.2% of law enforcement officers in the U.S. have at least a four-year degree. NKU will offer Police Academy graduates nationwide 20 credit hours—the equivalent of one semester—toward a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. The program can be completed fully online, on-campus, or in hybrid format, allowing officers both in the region and across the nation to take advantage of it. There is also the opportunity to earn additional credits for advanced Police Academy training.

“Law enforcement and criminal justice officials embody a spirit of service and selflessness, and we value their dedication to ensuring the safety of our society,” said President Vaidya. “We are creating more affordable pathways for learners to advance their careers and achieve their educational goals.”

The initiative aligns with NKU’s strategic framework — Success by Design — which outlines three pillars of student success: access, completion and career and community engagement. As part of the collaboration, officers will benefit from NKU’s Adult Learner Programs and Services (ALPS) support to achieve their degree.

“This shows NKU’s commitment to our region, as well as to our adult student population,” said Amy Danzo, ALPS Director. “Our faculty members in Criminal Justice saw an opportunity to serve our region, while also meeting the goals of Success by Design. This move allows Police Academy graduates to accelerate their undergraduate path.”

NKU’s Criminal Justice Program provides a conceptual understanding of criminal justice institutions and processes, theories of crime and punishment, criminal law, and social science research methods through its core courses. The National Police Foundation study also shows that the Chief or Sheriff’s level of education impacts how the agency operates, its policies and the philosophy that guides the agency.

“Criminal justice professionals have the opportunity to learn the theory and scholarship of their profession,” said Dr. Karen Miller, department chair of Criminal Justice. “While most police and corrections agencies do not require a degree, the importance of education on law enforcement has long been recognized. Officers with degrees are better problem solvers and have a greater acceptance of other cultures. All of these patterns serve the interest of the community.”

Officials can immediately receive the credit hours and register for summer courses. To learn more about the program, visit nku.edu.

From Northern Kentucky University

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