Online criminology degree prepares Alex for career change

Posted by on 22 March 2017

NCPS student Alex Triantos is preparing for an extreme career change. He plans to become a police officer, and with nine years behind him as a juice and burger bar owner, Alex already has the people skills required for the job.

His attention now is focused on the technical side of law-making and law enforcement while he earns his Bachelor of Criminology and Justice degree online.

“I was inspired to study at NCPS by the fact that criminology and justice explores in-depth the nature of human behaviour within a sociological and psychological standpoint, as each day individuals are encountering the criminal justice system,” said Alex.

On-campus learning was ruled out for Alex because his hospitality responsibilities when he enrolled demanded a six-day working week. Regardless, he jumped at the chance to apply online instead and was determined to fit the course around his schedule. Alex has since sold his hospitality business and works in a role without such long hours, in the mental health field.

“At the start, I had no idea what to expect from online study,” said Alex.

“I thought it was just ‘read and submit assessments’. However, after my first tutorial I was participating in class with peers and my expectation changed. Time-management was a challenge. I was overwhelmed with the administration of my business, so I developed a schedule with time allocated for both work and study which allowed me to plan my study nights in advance for each trimester. Since then I haven’t looked back.”

Flexible options and mobile lectures

As he adjusted to his new job and became accustomed to his course workload, Alex took advantage of the option to alter his schedule by reducing his number of units. Having mobile access to video lectures means he can make the most of any downtime, where ever he happens to be.

“I was studying full-time, however I returned to part-time with three units per trimester,” Alex said.

“NCPS offers unlimited access to its resources anytime, anywhere, through the student portal. As I work around personal and work commitments I have the flexibility of watching lecture recordings online and to attend tutorial sessions from any remote device.”

Fitting study around work

Having autonomy over his daily study schedule is what makes a degree qualification possible for Alex while he also works a full-time day job. Currently, his commitment in direct learning time is nine hours per week.

For each of his three units, Alex must download a weekly two-hour pre-recorded lecture for viewing any time and attend a one-hour live and interactive online tutorial.

During tutorials students and teachers participate in real-time discussions either on-screen or by typing comments into a dialog box that all participants can see. The sessions are available in three after-hours time-slots at 5.00pm, 6.15pm and 7.30pm. 

As for any form of undergraduate study, it’s essential to also devote sufficient additional time to personal revision, research and assessment preparation.

“My typical self-study schedule is around 20 hours per week, unless I have multiple assessment deadlines, when I may also work on the occasional weekend. Though I always aim to keep my weekends free,” Alex said.

Countdown to a policing career

Alex hopes to join the ranks of the many NCPS graduates before him whose degrees made their Police Academy applications stand out. He attributes his solid study progress so far to the College’s helpful culture and the expertise of his teachers.

“Besides investigations and working in a divisional van, what appeals to me about being a police officer is the opportunity to provide service excellence to the community. I want to feel the rewards of giving a sense of trust and safety and from helping victims of crime,” he said.

“The staff support you from the commencement of your studies. Lecturers become a part of your journey, to be able to enter your chosen career path and form professional relationships. NCPS lecturers are experienced in their legal and psychology fields.” 

Same outcome, different study journey  

Course content, assessments and ultimately the NCPS qualification are identical for online and on-campus study modes. One difference though, is that teachers are aware of the issues around isolation for remote students that can affect confidence.

“Alex has been extremely motivated from the beginning of his course, always contributing to discussions in tutorials and not being afraid to ask questions when he wasn’t sure of something,” said Matt Thurgood, NCPS Senior Lecturer and Course Coordinator.

“As a result, he has developed and achieved much academically and has also established a strong social connection with both his fellow online students and his lecturers and tutors, all of which holds him in good stead for his future career in the criminal justice system.”

Find out more

Take a closer look at online study at NCPS here. If you’re planning a career in policing, check out our curriculum’s coverage of the subjects relevant to law enforcement.

Alex was interviewed in March 2017