by Rebecca Kocsis
“So you want to go into law enforcement?”
It should come as no surprise that Christian homeschool students would set their sights on becoming keepers of the peace. Homeschool families are generally civically active. Being raised in an environment that focuses on serving others, becoming a public servant seems a natural next step.
It’s important you let your families know that if they have a student who would like to go into one of California’s law enforcement agencies, they should be prepared to do more than complete a course of study to be eligible for hire.
According to Article 2, section 1031 (e)*, of the government code, applicants should have graduated from an accredited program. If they do not, they need to either:
- pass the General Education Development Test or other high school equivalency test approved by the State Department of Education that indicates high school graduation level
- pass the California High School Proficiency Examination
- or have attained a two-year, four-year, or advanced degree from an accredited college or university
So the key here would be for those students to plan ahead and make sure that they are prepared to pass one of those tests or head to an accredited college and earn a degree.
Before your student rushes off to take the CHSPE as early as possible, there are other factors to take into consideration.
First, there are age restrictions. Applicants will not be hired before the age of 18. It’s important that your students understand that even after undergoing a lengthy hiring process, and graduating from a rigorous training academy, they should not expect to automatically receive a badge, a gun, and a shiny new patrol car. They will not be allowed to carry a firearm before the age of 21 per new federal restrictions. Many sheriff departments require deputies serve a minimum number of years working in detention centers before even becoming eligible to go out on patrol.
If you have high school students interested in law enforcement, it’s well worth it to get him or her involved in an Explorers program near you as soon as possible. They’ll get some valuable first-hand experience and be better able to decide whether law enforcement is truly for them.
There are definitely some advantages and benefits to waiting to apply until your student gets some college (and practical life experience) under the belt.
Many agencies across the state pay employees with college degrees more than they pay their counterparts with high school diplomas or its equivalents. Not all of them do, but do a quick search on the internet and you can see that a significant number will. The general rule of thumb is the more advanced the degree, the higher the pay scale.
Law enforcement agencies don’t accept homeschoolers’ diplomas? Isn’t this discrimination?
No. It would be discrimination if they arbitrarily accepted some diplomas, but not others. Since the requirements are clearly spelled out in the law, this is not discrimination. Many private schools with campuses will not be able to meet the accreditation requirement as well. It’s not about homeschooling. It’s a matter of the state mandating minimum standards for eligibility to hire, which they must do.
Should we try to change this?
No. This is the law and it would be very difficult to change the law. Even more importantly, doing so would require our state legislature to adopt a legal definition of homeschooling. Do we really want our liberal legislature to define homeschooling for us? California homeschoolers are in a good spot right where we are, being defined as private schools.
For more details about law enforcement employment requirements see the Commission on Peace Officers Standards & Training at https://post.ca.gov
For a list of colleges with Criminal Justice degree programs in California: https://www.criminaljusticedegreeschools.com/criminal-justice-schools/california/