Law Enforcement Careers

If you’re interested in a career as a police officer, detective or related position, then a law enforcement degree is right for you. Duties most commonly performed are: patrolling jurisdictions, pursuing and apprehending those who break the law, offering help during accidents and disasters, securing crime scenes, and filing incident reports. Law enforcement officers are expected to be physically fit, agile and able to react quickly. There are numerous specialty fields within law enforcement, such as the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) and canine corps.

Employment Opportunities

Law enforcement professionals may work in a variety of positions, including:

  • Police officer
  • Fish & game warden
  • Detective
  • Sheriff
  • Highway patrol officer

Skills

Law enforcement professionals need a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • Physical fitness
  • Calm under pressure
  • Exceptional written, verbal and inter-personal skills
  • Willingness to work odd hours & weekends
  • Sound judgment, integrity, responsibility & dedication

Industry Spotlight

In 2006, local governments employed 79% of police officers and detectives. 11% were employed by the State, and 7% were employed at the Federal level. The level of education needed varies depending on department and position, ranging from a year at an accredited police academy to a master’s degree plus three years of on-the-job experience.

- Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008