Criminal Justice Careers for Veterans

by Allison Crowson, MJA on 2/11/16 10:38 AM

cjcareersforveterans.jpgMuch of the criminal justice profession recognizes the value that United States veterans bring to the field. The years of military experience and similarities between the two professional fields encourage many law enforcement employers to hire veterans. In many cases, these employers appreciate the knowledge and background of a veteran so much that they take initiative to make it easier and more appealing for veterans to transition into a career in criminal justice.

Why Veterans Make Good Candidates for Criminal Justice Careers

The similarities in military and law enforcement careers go far beyond the fact that many of these positions require the employee to wear a uniform. There are numerous qualities associated with veterans that are attractive to employers and hiring managers, such as:

  • Desire to serve their country and community
  • Courage and willingness to sacrifice
  • Strength of body and character
  • Drive to protect people and their rights
  • Discipline and agility
  • Ability to operate under stress
  • Respect for lawfulness
  • Ability to take orders

Versatile Professional Background

With your professional experience drawn from the military, all you need is the academic experience to help advance or evolve your career. As the oldest private military college in the nation, Norwich University has been educating and serving military students for nearly 200 years and has been a leader in criminal justice education. We appreciate the service and experience of military members and can help you gain the knowledge, skills, and credentials you need to be a versatile employee. Your military experience may even qualify you to receive academic credits that can be put toward your Norwich bachelor’s degree, completed entirely online. 

Your ability to think critically about criminal justice and your familiarity with an academic environment will help benefit you in your future career, especially if you’re heading to the police academy. Although police academy training and military boot camp both require physical training, self-defense, and firearms training, the programs are quite different in most other respects. Typically, police academies have a substantial academic focus, where basic training emphasizes physical and tactical training.

Potential Rewards for Military Experience:

  • Streamlining or fast-tracking your applications
  • If you spend a large portion of your life in the military, but don’t make it to the 20-year mark typically required for retirement benefits, a career in law enforcement could help you retain all or a portion of those benefits. In a survey put out by Army Times in 2015, more than 70 percent of agencies said they offer retirement credit for military service.
  • Waiving education requirements
  • Potential eligibility to use G.I. Bill benefit as an income supplement while attending the academy law enforcement training.
  • Adding preference points to exam scores
  • Offering incentive pay
  • Mandated in federal law enforcement agencies, Veterans’ Preference gives eligible veterans preference in appointment over other applicants. Although not all active duty service members may qualify for veterans’ preference, it is a benefit worth looking in to. Veterans’ preference is un-mandated by individual law enforcement agencies.
  • An age deduction from the maximum age limit

Resources on Criminal Justice Careers for Veterans and More Opportunities:

  • Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities.
  • Tips for Military to Civilian Career Transition – Learn how to prepare for you transition from the military to civilian sector.

Norwich University Online
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This post was written by Allison Crowson, MJA

Allison Crowson is the program manager for the Norwich Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Master of Science in Criminal Justice programs. An adjunct faculty member and academic advisor in Norwich’s criminal justice department since 2006, she teaches courses on criminology, victimology, introduction to the criminal justice system and the police. She earned a master’s degree in justice administration from Norwich University and a BA in transpersonal psychology from Burlington College.