A career in law enforcement can be both exciting and rewarding. The majority of law enforcement jobs involve either police or detective work.
What does a Police Do?
Police are responsible for protecting citizens and property, as well as maintaining order at times of social unrest. Being a police can be a physically demanding and stressful job, as there isn't any way of predicting when one may have to face a dangerous, life-threatening situation. But it can also be a rewarding experience, as this profession often helps to save innocent lives and apprehend dangerous criminals.
What does a Detective Do?
Police detectives are more specialized in crime investigation. The majority of detectives are police officers who have since been promoted to become a detective. In terms of law enforcement careers, to earn a detective's badge often entails years of exemplary service as a police officer as well as completion of additional education and training requirements. Upon becoming a detective, one’s job shifts from enforcement and protection to investigation. Detectives investigate crimes after they've occurred. Crimes in their jurisdiction include everything from homicides to fraud. Police detectives must be able to effectively process evidence and link evidence to suspects by developing theories of how crimes were perpetrated. As such, their jobs require a degree of intuition, logic and experience.
What are the Educational Requirements for Law Enforcement Officials?
Educational requirements for this type of work are as little as a high school diploma up to a college degree and beyond, although most departments like to see applicants with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Criminal Justice degree. Requirements vary in different departments and cities, but in general larger cities and wealthier suburbs often require a degree in criminal justice. In attending a regional or local police academy, aspiring law enforcement officers are subjected to basic educational requirements of the job as well as fitness requirements that test each candidate's physical and mental qualifications. These academy programs usually only last a few weeks and are a prerequisite for finding employment with the majority of police departments across the United States.
What is the Job Outlook for Police and Detectives?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 7% increase in police jobs between 2010 to 2020. It is also predicted that the demand for public safety will continue to be present, although state and federal jobs will be a bit more competitive.* Law enforcement officials will continue to serve and protect citizens and their property.
Get information about criminal justice degrees using our criminal justice school finder at the top of this page ↑. School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have about the various programs that are available to help you earn your criminal justice degree.
*For more information, please visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Protective-Service/Police-and-detectives.htm