Law Enforcement / Security Degrees
Career summary: Police and Detectives
National Average, Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
5% job growth by 2022, which is below average
Earn a degree in law enforcement / security from an accredited college
Shockingly enough, the purpose of law enforcement is to enforce the law. This department spans local, state, and federal governments, as well as other areas in the private sector. It exists to regulate communities, create peace, establish and maintain order, and detect and prevent crime. There are many facets of this field, so you don’t have to be stuck in a cubicle eating donuts every day. Some unique and more exciting opportunities are available to you with a career in law enforcement and security.
Why should I get a law enforcement education?
A post-high school education will give you a boost in the law enforcement field. While many jobs may not require it, a criminal justice or related degree can be useful, and give you a higher earning potential. You may consider a career in law enforcement and security if you want to preserve public safety or find and arrest criminals. As a nature lover and environmentalist, you may enjoy working as a game warden or National Park Ranger. Perhaps you’d prefer the investigation route: sleuthing for traces of evidence to prove criminal acts were committed. Any of these motivations can lead you to law enforcement.
What kinds of jobs could I get in law enforcement?
Job opportunities for you include police officers, S.W.A.T., bounty hunters, private investigators, forensics specialists, Homeland Security officials, immigration specialists, fish and game wardens, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officers, and more. Most likely you will employed by government departments and facilities, although corporations and individuals also hire security and investigation.
Top 5 Jobs
- police officer
- FBI agent
- U.S. Marshal
- state trooper
- game warden
How much will I make?
In law enforcement, a typical salary is in the $50,000 range. Police, patrol officers, and detectives make an average of $55,620. Correctional officers are paid between $31,140 and $52,530. Security guards average $26,780. As a game warden, you could expect around $49,730 annually. Working for the FBI or CIA can lead you to a paycheck anywhere from $61,100 to $149,800.
How is the job market?
The outlook is favorable, especially if you’re well qualified. If you’re bilingual, have military experience, study police science, and have other outstanding proficiencies, you will have a better chance. Most careers in law enforcement have moderate to strong competition.
What skills do I need?
You should be socially, psychologically, and physically healthy; know and interpret laws; and sometimes make pressured judgement calls. Organization may be important. In some jobs, you’ll be required to file reports, fill out paperwork, and take records for court evidence. You’ll deal with many different kinds of people. Expect to deal with a lot of stressful and hazardous situations. College education and experience in the field will also be important to build on your skills and knowledge.
What classes and experience will I need for a career in law enforcement?
Many positions will only require a high school diploma or two-year degree. You can major in criminal justice ad In college, your required courses will teach you the theories and principles of criminal justice, critical thinking, leadership and managerial skills, etc. Some of the classes may be criminology, public safety, terrorism, psychology, corrections, and computer crime. Physical education, military experience, and foreign language will be beneficial to you also, even if not mandatory. You’ll likely need to have classtime and practical training at the academy or on the job, and possibly meet state licensure requirements.
Salary and career outlook data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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