Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement

What type of work would I do if I studied Law Enforcement?

This degree opens doors to a possible career in law enforcement, including positions such as sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer and highway patrol officer. In these kinds of careers you would enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, control crowds, prevent crime and arrest violators.

What type of degree will I earn at Missouri State University-West Plains?

Students enrolled in law enforcement may obtain a two-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Law Enforcement degree that will include both general education and law enforcement courses. The degree is designed to articulate with the 640-hour Missouri Sheriff's Association Training Academy (MSATA) on our campus and at other sites around the state. The training prepares one for certification by the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program which is offered by the Missouri Department of Public Safety. Students who complete MSATA training can receive 30 semester hours of credit (LWE 190, LWE191, and LWE 120) toward their AAS degree in Law Enforcement.

Why should I major in Law Enforcement?

Although the MSATA course is currently the minimum training requirement to obtain employment as sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, and municipal police officers, area law enforcement officials have said they expect these minimum requirements to increase in the near future, possibly to include an associate's degree  in law enforcement. Already, an increasing number of cities and states require some college training, and some departments and most federal agencies require a college degree. Some agencies have annual extra pay incentives for those with degrees. In addition, statewide statistics show police and sheriff patrol officers and first-line supervisors of police and detectives are among the top 50 careers in 2014. (Mo. Department of Economic Development/Missouri Economic Research and Information Center)

What salary can I expect to earn?

Police and Sheriff's patrol officers in Missouri earned an average annual salary of $42,700, according to May 2011 data compiled by the Mo. Department of Economic Development and posted on the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center website. Police and sheriff’s patrol officers in the south-central Missouri region earned an average annual salary of $31,405.

This is a specialized degree that is primarily an occupationally-oriented degree. Recipients of this degree are ready to enter a particular job market. While not designed as transfer degrees, some AAS degrees can be used as the first two years of a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. Students will need to take additional general education courses, as well as courses in the major field.

Law Enforcement (AAS)

Associate of Applied Science

General Education Requirements Credit Hours
CIS 101 Computers for Learning 3

COM 115 Fundamentals of Public Speaking

ENG 110 Writing I 3
IDS 110 Student Success 2
PSY 121 Introductory Psychology 3
PLS 101 American Democracy and Citizenship 3
Mathematical Sciences: Select three (3) credit hours
  • MGT 130 Business Mathematics OR
  • MTH 100 Intermediate Applied Mathematics or higher (except MTH 197 Introductory Topics in Mathematics or MTH 297 Mathematic Topics in Globalization)
General Education Total 20
POST Law Enforcement Academy Training Requirements Credit Hours
The following courses must be completed in compliance with the Missouri Department of Public Safety Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Program.
LWE 190 Basic Law Enforcement Academy I 9
LWE 191 Basic Law Enforcement Academy II 9
Law Enforcement Academy Total 18
Law Enforcement Requirements Credit Hours
LWE 297 Law Enforcement Capstone (Capstone course) 1
Select 21 credit hours from any CRM or LWE course. 21
Law Enforcement Core Total 22
Law Enforcement (AAS) Degree Credit Hours
Total Hours Required 60

Degree Notes:

  • Math requirements exclude MTH 197 and MTH 297.
  • Students are required to complete a minimum of three (3) credit hours of math regardless of placement.
  • Electives must be approved by the department.
  • Students should confirm transferability of courses with their transfer university before completing courses at MSU-WP.
  • Credit for LWE 190 and LWE 191 is awarded to the student enrolled in the AAS in Law Enforcement degree program following the successful completion of these course in compliance with the Missouri Department of Public Safety Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program.
  • Information about the 700-Hour Basic Peace Officer Academy may be found at
  • Students may take general education courses prior to completing the academy coursework.

(Pending CBHE Approval)

Students are strongly encouraged to confirm the transferability of individual courses to other institutions prior to enrollment. Not all courses will transfer or satisfy specific degree requirements for bachelor degrees