An undergraduate degree is required in many law enforcement agencies. Edward Carney, the Executive Director of Camden County College’s campus facilities and Public Safety Department, shares with us the role education has played in his career.

(Photo courtesy of Edward Carney)

(Photo courtesy of Edward Carney)

What sort of education is needed to secure a good job as a criminal justice/security official?

“It is critical to have or be working toward an undergraduate degree for any career in law enforcement and public safety in general. Today, many law enforcement agencies require an undergraduate degree to be hired. There is no question that a broad-based undergraduate education better prepares a potential candidate for a law enforcement career.”

What is the most challenging aspect of being a criminal justice/security officer?

“Much of the job demands more than a small amount of customer service skills. Police officers/security personnel are expected to solve problems with very limited information and even less time.”

After graduation, how hard was it to transition to the working world?

“Today, every new hire attends a mandatory academy. The learning environment is focused solely on applying the fundamentals of policing to the real world. The overall challenge of the job lies in facing the reality of the environment and managing the stressors that come along with facing real risks and real tragedy.”

What are some advanced courses that would be beneficial for this type of career?

“If an officer plans to advance and actively contribute to their department/agency in the future, an advanced degree is strongly recommended. The need to understand the technology that accompanies physical security is in great demand. People remain the basis for all security functions, but today’s overwhelming reliance on technology positions anyone with this kind of knowledge as a valuable asset.”

Christina Thompson is a freelance travel writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at

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