When it comes to law enforcement, what viewers see on TV and what officers encounter on the streets are two entirely different things. That’s the first thing students learn in Robeson Community College’s Criminal Justice Program. The Criminal Justice Program prepares students to become police officers, correctional officers and court system personnel. Criminal justice careers have evolved from jobs with minimal educational requirements to jobs requiring complex knowledge and skills. The curriculum covers theory, principles, and techniques used by criminal justice agencies. In addition to the class work, students get realistic experiences in criminal investigations, law enforcement operation, criminalistics, and corrections. Part of the educational process is to find out whether or not the job is really for them. Most students who enroll learn that it is and go on to long and fulfilling careers in law enforcement and corrections.
As students work their way through BLET, they often form bonds with classmates that will last for a lifetime. Being a law enforcement officer has its challenges. An officer’s schedule may not be the same every week. Weekdays, nights, weekends, holidays, natural disasters and civil unrest, long hours and risk are part of the daily routine. However, law enforcement officers serve as an example for others and are respected by most in society for choosing such an honorable profession. If you are considering enrolling in the BLET program, consider a few key components of the program. Physical conditioning is important; physical fitness instructors will work with students to prepare for their POPAT challenge. Students in the program earn nineteen curriculum credits during this one semester which is the equivalent of about five regular college classes. In comparison, a full-time curriculum student usually takes fifteen hours per semester. The curriculum, which includes classes in human behavior and communications, is designed to challenge students to their highest abilities.
Wages vary from department to department and increase based upon experience, training and advanced law enforcement certification. Basic salaries in the region range from $33,000 to $40,000. Due to the high demand for officers many agencies are paying signing bonuses and relocation bonuses. Currently, these bonuses range from $8,000 to $10,000, in addition to the starting salaries. Law enforcement and corrections officers receive good benefit packages, including health insurance, retirement options, and with many agencies, a take home vehicle. Students who go into law enforcement and corrections find these careers to be highly challenging, as well as highly rewarding and fulfilling.
In addition to BLET training, RCC also offers an associate degree in Criminal Justice Technology. This program is designed to provide knowledge of criminal justice systems and operations. Study will focus on local, state and federal law enforcement, judicial processes, corrections and security services.
Employment opportunities exist in a variety of local, state, and federal law enforcement, corrections, and security fields. In addition to law enforcement officer, examples include probation, parole, or correctional officer and loss prevention specialist.