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 sires 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

Associate of Applied Science
Completion of POST Law Enforcement Academy Training Credit Hours
LWE 190 Basic Law Enforcement Academy I 9
LWE 191 Basic Law Enforcement Academy II 9
Law Enforcement Academy Total 18
General Education Core Requirements Credit Hours
  • COM 115 Fundamentals of Public Speaking
  • COM 205 Interpersonal Communication Theory and Skills
ENG 110 Writing I 3
IDS 110 Student Success 2
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)
PLS 101 American Democracy and Citizenship 3
PSY 121 Introductory Psychology 3
General Education Core Total 17
Law Enforcement Core Requirements Credit Hours
CIS 101 Computers for Learning 3
LWE 297 Foundations of Public Law (Capstone course) 3
Select 19 credit hours from the following courses:
  • CRM 210 Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System
  • CRM 250 Police in American Society
  • CRM 260 Criminal Law and the Courts
  • CRM 270 Institutional and Community Based Correction
  • LWE 110 Criminal Interview and Investigation: The Art of Documentation
  • LWE 197 Special Topics in Law Enforcement
  • LWE 210 Crime Scene Investigation and Photography
  • LWE 250 Police Supervision Management
  • LWE 299 Law Enforcement Internship
Law Enforcement Core Total 25
Degree Requirements Credit Hours
Total Hours Required 60
  1. 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 this course in compliance with the Missouri Department of Public Safety Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).
  2. Students may take general education courses prior to completing the academy coursework.
  3. In place of MGT 130, students may select any math course(s) numbered MTH 100 or higher, excluding MTH 197 and MTH 297. One-credit-hour courses including MTH 111, MTH 112, MTH 113, MTH 114 and/or MTH 115 may be selected in a combination to equal three credit hours.
  4. Students are strongly encouraged to confirm transferability of individual courses to other institutions prior to enrollment. Not all courses will transfer or satisfy specific degree requirements for bachelor's degrees.

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’s degrees