SC Technical College System and SC Criminal Justice Academy Partner to Create New Career Pathway for Law Enforcement
The SC Technical College System and the SC Criminal Justice Academy announced a partnership that provides a new career pathway for law enforcement during a virtual press conference held March 2. This pathway is designed to address the industry’s current workforce shortage and enhance the policing profession overall. With the aid of the Lottery Tuition Assistance program and the SC WINS Scholarship program, tuition for the new pathway will be covered for participating students.
The new Police Pre-Academy Training Certificate provides a simple path to becoming a law enforcement officer. Candidates first apply to one of the state’s 16 technical colleges and complete the 14-week certificate program. Over the 14 weeks, candidates will learn basic and introductory law enforcement training, tactics, and procedures. In total, they will complete four courses totaling 12 credit hours that can apply toward the 66 credits required to earn an associate degree should candidates decide to further their studies.
Next, candidates secure employment with a South Carolina law enforcement agency within one year. Once employment is secured, candidates must pass a cumulative exam and physical assessment test administered by the SC Criminal Justice Academy. If candidates pass the exam and physical assessment test, they complete an eight-week training program at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia.
Once these steps are complete, candidates are ready to begin their career as a certified law enforcement officer in South Carolina.
“We are excited to partner with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy to educate and train the next generation of law enforcement officers,” said SC Technical College President Tim Hardee. “This certificate is a win not just for the individual and law enforcement but for our state and local communities.”
“Police departments, like many organizations, are experiencing a workforce shortage,” said SC Criminal Justice Academy Director Jackie Swindler. “This partnership will help address that shortage by providing an additional career pathway while at the same time ensuring our police officers continue to receive high-quality instruction and training benefiting both the police force and the communities served.”
Those interested in enrolling in the program at Aiken Technical College should complete the free online application at apply.atc.edu. Classes for the program will start in August 2021.