This article addresses a deceptively simple two-part question: what are the desired core skills obtained by completing the requirements for an undergraduate degree in criminal justice? And is it possible to obtain these skills outside the traditional university setting? Awarding academic credit for training, time spent in occupational roles, or life experiences, has been an oft-discussed topic, and the practice is particularly germane for criminal justice programs due to the large proportion of adult learners returning to school for degree completion or to earn an advanced credential to broaden their career options. The history of experienced-based credits in higher education programs is discussed within the framework of how CJ programs can be reimagined in ways that support likely changes in how future personnel are recruited and educated in the wake of recent deadly force incidents involving police and nonwhite citizens, and efforts to address the country’s reliance on mass incarceration.
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