Outlook & Growth
Salary & Wages
What is a Police Officer or Detective?
Education & Degree Path
If you’re looking for a job in local or state law enforcement, you will fare best if you have military experience coupled with at least an associate degree in law enforcement, criminal justice, psychology or police forensics. If you’re seeking a job in a federal agency, you will almost certainly need a bachelor’s degree along with several years of on-the-job law enforcement or military experience.
Because many federal agencies, like the FBI, value additional skills and experiences—such as knowledge of a foreign language, law, or outside work experience—coming from another career field will give you an advantage over entry-level applicants, provided you’re qualified educationally. Those with military backgrounds make ideal candidates for homeland security, immigration and related government security positions. Applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree in human services, public administration, criminal justice, criminology, law, legal studies, sociology, counseling, law enforcement, paralegal studies, justice administration and management, forensics, and the general social sciences will receive the best job offers and salary grades.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Drug Enforcement Administration
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
National Law Enforcement Recruiters Association
GetEducated.com Best Buys in Online Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degrees
Careers in the Criminal Justice Field: Loss Prevention Specialist
Best Entry-Level Law Enforcement Jobs with Criminal Justice Degrees
Salary and growth data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information about careers in police and detective work, salaries, and job prospects visit the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Police and Detectives.