Cop turned HS teacher looking for a Masters.

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by copteacherz, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. copteacherz

    copteacherz New Member

    Hi, I left an almost 20-year law enforcement career to teach high school career tech. I currently teach Homeland Security and Criminal Justice program to 11th and 12th graders at a technical high school. I am looking to move up in the teacher pay scale. To do this I need to finish/obtain my masters or 30 graduate credits. I also have a goal to instruct in criminal justice as an adjunct professor at several colleges around me.

    I have:
    BS in Criminal Justice from Bridgewater State University (3.2 GPA)
    6 graduate credits in criminal justice from 2004 (I was assigned to night shift and never finished) also from Bridgewater State University

    I am debating whether to pursue a Masters in Education or Masters in CJ/HS. My school system will pay $450 a credit up to 9 credits a year. So as long as I stay in that price range I am not too concerned with cost. The 9 credits a year will slow my process unless I pay out of pocket.

    I am looking for advice on which path to take, MS/A in CJ or ED. Also can my 15 year old graduate credits. I would like to avoid GRE since I just put myself through the Praxis.

    I have only looked at these CJ programs:
    Bowling Green State
    Fort Hays State
    Uni of Cumberland
    American Public Uni
  2. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    What would an education degree do for you that a CJ degree wouldn't? You'll need at least 18 credits in CJ to teach CJ at a CC.
  3. copteacherz

    copteacherz New Member

    My Principal thinks I should go the MEd route or even MEd Admin. I would rather stick to what I know well and could use for other career endeavors.
  4. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Have you credentialed teacher with a teaching credential in single or multiple subjects?
    I didn't see that you have a teaching credential.

    Unless you are looking to become an administrator, I think a Teaching credential program that also has an option to take additional few classes to earn a Masters degree can be a good investment. So combined credential and Masters degree such as a National University.
    Usually, there is better pay and more job offerings for credentialed teachers.

    If you want Master Degree in Education Leadership then American Public University offers such degree at $350 credit.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2017
  5. copteacherz

    copteacherz New Member

    In the state I teach, I am a certified teacher in CTE "Career Tech Ed". I had to take 4 undergrad courses in teaching CTE and pass the Praxis core. I when I got hired they counted my years of experience in law enforcement as years teaching for pay scale purposes. So I am maxed out in the bachelor's pay lane. Because of this, I don't really need an education degree unless I wanted to go teach math, language, science in a typical high school.
  6. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    You already have certification as a teacher, so a MEd will only help you politically, such as for a possible promotion into administration. Do you have that kind of an aspiration? If that's a career path that you aspire to, then definitely pursue the MEd in administration. However, if you have no political or administrative aspirations in the k-12 system, then stick to CJ/HS, which will open up collegiate adjudicating opportunities.
  7. mattbrent

    mattbrent Active Member

    Since you're already licensed, I would recommend that if you wanted to get a masters, go for one in a content area. If you do Criminal Justice, not only could you adjunct at your local community college, you could probably do a few dual enrollment classes as well at the high school.

  8. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    If you're still in the area, the path of least resistance would be to finish at Bridgewater State, they're almost guaranteed to take your existing credit. If you're no longer in the area or would prefer online, the graduate program curriculum at UMass-Lowell is quite similar to Bridgewater State, so they might accept your transfer credit, with the added bonus of being a state school to state school.

    Disclosure - I'm a graduate of the UMass-Lowell program.
  9. copteacherz

    copteacherz New Member

    My original plan was to finish at Umass Lowell Online but I never got around to it. I see they require the GREs and I am looking to avoid extra studying/tests. I am not in Mass anymore and Bridgewater doesn't offer CJ online. When I was taking grad classes at Bridgewater the CJ program was brand new. I was the first graduating Bachelors class in 02. Essentially the grad classes were the same as my undergrad classes but with longer papers and more reading. I became friends with a professor and she even joked that her curriculum for the grad courses were 80/90% the same as her undergrad. This, the GRE requirement to continue and shift work pushed me away. By the looks of it now, Bridgewater's CJ program is robust with different courses and options.

    I do like the idea of offering dual enrollment in my HS program. It could attract better students and my admin has already suggested it.
  10. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Fair enough. What are your main concerns with a CJ Master's program? I know cost isn't really a factor, so are you looking for speed, prestige, a certain type of learning platform?
  11. copteacherz

    copteacherz New Member

    I am limited to 9 credits a year for reimbursement so if I were to take a 4th/5th course in a year it would be out of pocket. With that in mind, I would like to keep the cost on the lower side. My contracted salary raises go into effect at 36 credits (21 Grad), 45, 60 and 75. Doing the math I when I finish my Masters at 30 or 36 credits I should be on the 45 credit pay lane (I have 15 undergrad credits I earned getting the teacher certification). Its a nice increase from the Bachelor's lane I am in now.

    I am leaning towards Liberty U. I don't really aline with the Baptist theology but they seem to be offering the best deal. 25% discount on tuition because I am former LE, they will take my 6 old grad credits. No GREs, cumulative final exam or capstone, and only an optional thesis. American Public, U of Cumberland and Bowling Green.
  12. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Great questions!
    K12 and College are a little different- K12 education master's teach you how to teach, so you'd deepen your understanding of educational pedagogy. To teach in a college, you don't need any classes in pedagogy (unless your state requires it-most don't) but you DO need a degree or experience in your field.
    Based on that- a MAT or MEd isn't going to help you land a teaching job at a college in security/CJ/etc. rather you'd be qualified to teach EDUCATION courses.
    Make sense? The short and quick rule of thumb would be to MATCH the letters of the graduate courses your taking to the letters of the community college courses you want to teach.
    (these are made up- but you'll see what I mean) take CJ500 so you can teach CJ101. Taking EDU500 does not match CJ101. It would, however, match EDU101.
    Here's where it gets tricky - what I described is the higher threshold for being sure you're able to lock in the right credentials. There are lower thresholds too. As you research, you'll notice some community colleges issue AAS degrees, certificates, and diplomas to their graduates - while others offer AS or AA degrees. In cases where there is an AAS award, it's sometimes possible to not need a masters at all (as was the case with my first culinary arts teaching job) because those aren't considered transfer degrees. It's a little muddy- but once you sort it all out, in my opinion, getting your masters IN YOUR FIELD will have more opportunities than getting it in education. EVEN IF you want to get into community college or K12 administration later, those questions are separate and apart from the question of increasing your current pay and becoming an adjunct- both of which you will do with a masters in CJ.
  13. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    I wanted to throw this in too-

    If you look at American Public University, they have a robust selection of CJ and CJ related options. Their graduate certificates fit perfectly inside their graduate degrees, and - they accept graduate credit in transfer.

    Here's an example of how you might be able to max out your options.

    They have a grad certificate in CJ Online Graduate Program in Criminal Justice | American Public University that is 18 credits and takes 9 credits in transfer. They offer shorter terms, so that 18 credit program is supposed to take 1 year, but you could probably do it in 6 months for free. (Books are provided at not cost at this school, you already have 9, and your school would cover the remaining 9)

    Then, you're in a good spot to start the masters seamlessly.

    Here is a quick copy/paste of their graduate certificates and master's options:

    Certificate - Graduate

    Criminal Justice
    Emergency Management Executive Leadership
    Emergency and Disaster Management
    Executive Law Enforcement Leadership
    Homeland Security Homeland Security

    Master's Degree

    Criminal Justice
    Emergency and Disaster Management Emergency
    Emergency and Disaster Management and Homeland Security - Dual Degree
    Homeland Security
    Public Administration (MPA)

    American Public University | Online Degrees & Certificates | 877-755-2787 or [email protected]

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