Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Preparation advice

Yesterday, I received an email from a United States Marine, who will be leaving active duty in the near future, and is interested in a career in policing. He intends to continue his college education (he already has an Associate of Arts degree) to pursue a bachelor's degree, and was seeking my advice on the best majors for his career aspirations.  Here's what I suggested:

Good to hear from you, and thank you for your service to the United States. I would strongly advise that you pursue your bachelor's degree and take full advantage of your GI bill benefits. If you can do that before seeking full-time employment, you should do so. Having finished my own BS and MA while working full time, it's a load I certainly wish I could have avoided! 
If the financials don't work, the key is to put the nose to the grindstone and make sure you are getting at least a few credit hours under your belt every single semester, and at least one of the summer sessions. 
My personal opinion is that the field of study matters little. I switched my major to criminal justice as a senior, only so I could take advantage of Federal funding opportunities. Otherwise, I would have been an English major. One of the best police officers I ever hired, Vicki Bourg, had a BA in Restaurant Administration. 
I always advise young people to study what interests them, what they would find to be the least tedious.  You're more mature, and in your case I would also add this: "What course of study will require the least number of credit hours to complete my degree?" 
A Marine with a BA in Synchronized Swimming and some real-world experience still has a mighty strong set of credentials, in my book! 

Best wishes, 
Tom CasadyDirector of Public Safety


Anonymous said...


Herb said...

Thank you, Marine.

And Director, please consider more direct recruiting efforts aimed toward veterans.

Anonymous said...


Steve said...

I would have advised the young man that no matter what degree he earns, there is a very good chance that getting a job will require some experience in the field of choice. While it may be a "load", getting an entry level job in the field of interest, or some field that has similar duties and responsibilities, while earning that degree would go a long way toward finding a better job in that field once the degree is in hand. Except for some of the technical fields, a degree doesn't compare to experience to most employers. I earned my AA, BA, and MA all while working full time, and had a 4.0 GPA all through college, but when I got laid off due to the recession back in '08, no one cared about my degree no matter what job I sought. Experience was all that mattered to most, and at my age, I didn't really want to continue in construction or machining (where I had experience), which is why I got a degree in organizational management in the first place. I ended up settling for part time work teaching, and I would not have needed my degree for the jobs I took.

Pastor Fuller said...

From what I know and have seen and experienced, this is excellent advice. Semper Fi to the Future candidate