JoDa wrote:As others have said, college - and grad school, if your field demands it - is worth it IF and only if you know what you want to do. Law enforcement doesn't require a degree up front unless you want to specialize (CSI-type stuff), but military experience would be of benefit in getting a PD job, and then you can always do GI Bill to get a degree if you feel it's necessary to advance on to detective or some other position you want. Military experience can also help you greatly if you want to do something at the federal level, from FPS to SS to even Park Service or CBP, or EVEN something more academic. We have a couple people with military backgrounds in my office and they did a service to themselves - got paid, got free education, and got preference when it came time to get hired as economists or business analysts. Even private-sector companies sometimes (not always, but sometimes) value a few years in the military.
If you feel like you're throwing money down the hole and don't really have direction, AND you feel like the military would provide that, it seems like as good an option as any. My dad got his BS in engineering, joined the Navy as a flight engineer, and then they paid for him to get his MS, and when he finished he had both the degrees and the experience that landed him a very good job for the rest of his life.
Personal experience: I started college in the WRONG (CAPITAL W-R-O-N-G) major and almost quit, when I stumbled into an entry-level econ course and fell in love. From that point forward, I researched what I wanted to do and made sure every class, internship, and other experience led towards that goal. I have a nifty little chunk of debt to show for it, but I actually make more than I owe now, and that wouldn't be possible without those degrees. But I wouldn't be in that situation without coming up with a goal and direction in my sophomore year. If you need time to figure yourself out, take it. A year or two off or a couple years in the military will cost you less than floating around without direction while paying today's tuition.
JoDA- I want to join either the CHP or LAPD as I think I would do well with both agencies and I like both of their missions and type of LE work that they do. I feel like I am, for 2 classes this semester, I paid 410$ plus 260$ for the books, whereas I make 1,250$ a month pre-tax and about 1,070 after tax, and I feel like it's going to take longer. Classes are harder to get because of the fact that everyone is going back to school. I think it would be a better plan then just floating around without any direction and paying almost over half my monthly pay just for a semester of school and 2 classes.
cashback wrote:In todays job market, it is very beneficial to have options. With the military, you have many options. Stay in and continue your military career, stay in and change jobs to something you prefer, get out and continue your job on the civilian side, get out and go to school for free in a career you want, or a combination of these.
When I was 18 or 19, I had no clue what I wanted to do. The air force had me pick 5 jobs. I picked 5 jobs that were the highest paying in the civilian world. I got lucky and got a job I liked.
Those would be the jobs I prefer (Hospital Corpsman, Air Traffic Controller, Damage Controlman, or Operations Specialist) but am fine with learning other jobs and skills that could help me. Were you an Air Traffic Controller in the AF as well? I'm planning to serve 4-5 years and then separate from the military. I actually thought about joining the military straight out of High School, but I wanted to experience college first, now that I think about it, I should have joined first and then gone to school. If I may ask, what jobs were they?