Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Program Information
Midland College offers students interested in majoring in criminal justice and pursuing a career in that field two degree options and a certificate option. The degrees and certificate are distinguished as follows:
Associate of Science - Criminal Justice degree option:
A sixty semester hour associate degree which includes the Criminal Justice Field of Study courses, the complete academic core course work (42 semester hours), and one criminal justice elective course. This degree option is specifically designed to be the first two years of a bachelors degree in criminal justice or related field from a Texas public university or college offering such a degree. The entire contents of this degree transfer to all public schools. The academic core is required in Texas for all Associate and Baccalaureate degrees. In transfer to the university, the 18 semester hours of criminal justice course work applies as either required lower level courses or as lower-level electives used towards the bachelors degree.
Associate of Applied Science - Law Enforcement degree option:
A sixty-one semester hour associate degree which includes the Criminal Justice Field of Study courses, part of the academic core course work (25 semester hours), and an additional 21 semester hours of criminal justice course work. This degree option is not designed to transfer to a university or apply towards a baccalaureate degree in criminal justice. Rather, it is designed to more adequately prepare the college student for success in the police academy. The academic core courses, and any criminal justice courses with the rubric CRIJ, may be accepted in transfer and apply towards a bachelors degree. Midland College does not control the transfer of courses to upper-leven institutions.
This degree option does qualify the student for admission into the Bachelor of Applied Technology (BAT) program at Midland College. This program is a bachelors degree program in organizational management. Students who are considering a career in criminal justice are well-served by having an academic experience in both criminal justice and organizational management, particularly if they intend on eventually becoming a police chief or senior level executive.
Law Enforcement Certificate:
The certificate awarded by Midland College is in no way associated with or issued by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE). This is an academic certificate used by Midland College to account for students who have made partial progress towards either of the associate degrees. It includes the Criminal Justice Field of Study courses, one approved criminal justice elective course, one Government course, and one Kinesiology activity course, for a total of 22 semester hours.
Criminal Justice Field of Study courses:
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has designated a Criminal Justice Field of Study. A field of study includes courses that have been determined to be fundamental to the academic study of a particular field. Once a student successfully completes the field of study, an upper level institution must accept all the courses in transfer and apply them towards a baccalaureate degree in that field. The courses included in the Criminal Justice Field of Study are:
CRIJ 1301 - Introduction to Criminal Justice
CRIJ 1306 - Correctional Systems and Practices
CRIJ 1310 - Fundamentals of Criminal Law
CRIJ 2313 - Correctional Systems and Practices
CRIJ 2328 - Police Systems and Practices
Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCLEOSE):
TCLE is the Texas state agency that determines the minimum standards for employment in the criminal justice system, sets minimum training requirements, and issues licenses to peace officers and jailers. It also issues certificates of proficiency to individuals based on a combination of their education and training. The process of becoming a "certified peace officer" in Texas is:
(1) the individual completes a police academy or an approved educational program (Midland College is not an approved academic trainer);
(2) upon completion of the academy, the individual passes the state licensure examination (each person has three attempts; after the third failure the individual must go back through a police academy or change careers);
(3) the individual must then be hired by a police agency - at this point the individual becomes a commissioned peace officer in Texas;
(4) after one year of continuous employment as a peace officer, the individual receives his or her Basic Certification as a peace officer in Texas.
With additional years of service, training, and education, officers can progress through the Intermediate Certificate, Advanced Certificate, and Master Peace Officer Certificate.
The term "peace officer" and "police officer" are synonymous in Texas, and mean a person who is both licensed by the State of Texas and is currently employed as a peace officer (commissioned).
For more information please contact:
Robert Peetz, M.C.J.
Professor of Criminal Justice / Law Enforcement Program Coordinator