One-year law enforcement certificate now available

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College is now offering a one-year law enforcement certificate in addition to a degree, creating a more affordable option for individuals interested in law enforcement careers.

The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, MCOLES, requires a minimum of an associate degree before prospective officers may take a state licensing exam. NMC’s two-year degree program, also known as the Police Academy, was designed as one year of general education credits, and a second year of law enforcement-specific credits.

The new certificate will consist of just the second-year curriculum and serve as an option for students who have already earned some college credits or an associate degree or higher from NMC or any other institution. Five police cadets will have the opportunity to earn the new certificate this spring.

With the creation of the certificate, MCOLES has also agreed to waive the degree requirement for honorably-discharged military veterans with one year of military police officer service. Veterans who meet this criteria can use their GI Bill® funding to enroll in the certificate program and become a police officer in two semesters.

The new credential comes as NMC’s law enforcement program approaches its 30th anniversary this fall. Police Academy Director Brian Heffner, said the new certificate is timely in an era of higher educational attainment and more frequent career changes.

“We have many inquiries at NMC from individuals who have degrees in other fields that are wishing to change careers - this creates an opportunity for students to gain their MCOLES certification to become a police officer in two semester,” Heffner said.

Police Academy cadet Nathan Lentz will be among the first to receive the new certificate in May. Lentz graduated from NMC in 2013 with an associate degree in Business Administration. While working in the business environment he returned to NMC to complete the Police Academy in two semesters.

“Offering a certificate for us who already have our degree is not only something else we can add to our resume, it's something tangible that we can be proud of,” Lentz said.

The certificate was approved by the NMC Board of Trustees Jan. 25.

Release date: February 19, 2016

For more information:

Brian Heffner
NMC Police Academy director
(231) 995-1283

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

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