What Can I Do with a Law Enforcement Degree?

Aspiring law enforcement professionals often earn criminal justice degrees. When you earn such a credential, you might be prepared for a variety of careers within that field, including police officer, bodyguard or fish and game warden. Increasingly, employers are looking for applicants who hold associate's or bachelor's degrees. The following article describes career options for those who hold degrees in a law enforcement-related discipline. Schools offering Law Enforcement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

About Law Enforcement Degrees

Law enforcement degree programs provide instruction in criminal law, investigative procedures, homeland security issues and law enforcement operations. Students may choose to pursue advanced degrees in criminal justice might go on to become law enforcement educators or administrators. Other career options are outlined below.

Important Facts About Law Enforcement Degree Career Prospects

Median Salary (2014) $24,470 ('for all security guards and gaming surveillance officers'); $56,810 ('for all police officers'); $79,870 ('for all detectives'); $44,570 ('for all private investigators'); $39,700 ('for all correctional officers'); $50,880 ('for all fish and game wardens')
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 5% growth ('for all security guards, police officers, and private investigators'); 7% decrease ('for all gaming surveillance officers'); 1% decrease ('for all detectives'); 4% growth ('for all correctional officers'); 2% growth ('for all fish and game wardens')
On-the-Job Training Additional training is typically provided through an academy, or by the employer
Key Skills Astute observation, critical thinking, problem solving, sound judgment and decision making, leadership, clear communication, physical endurance and strength

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Security Guard

Security guards protect property and individuals from theft, damage or other illegal activity. They are employed by building management companies, banks, retail outlets, hospitals, entertainment venues and private residences. Most states require security guards to obtain licenses.

Gaming Surveillance Officer

Gaming surveillance officers act as security personnel at casinos or other gaming establishments. They look for cheating and other unlawful activity while guaranteeing the safety of patrons.

Police Officers

A police officer is employed by local municipalities to pursue and apprehend criminals. They direct traffic, respond to emergency calls, quell neighborhood disturbances, investigate thefts or serve as first responders at the scene of an accident. As sheriffs, they work at the county level whereas as state troopers, they patrol highways and offer assistance across their states.

Detective and Private Investigators

Detectives and private investigators examine the facts surrounding alleged criminal activities or suspects in order to gain evidence for criminal and civil trials. Detectives work for law enforcement agencies, while private investigators often operate their own practices. Both conduct interviews or interrogations, analyze records and perform surveillance. Detectives often focus on one area of investigation such as homicide.

Correctional Officers

Some individuals who choose careers in law enforcement might go into corrections. For instance, they might become correctional officers so as to work in prisons and oversee individuals who are awaiting trial or serving jail time. It is their responsibility to maintain security by preventing disturbances and foiling escape attempts.

Fish and Game Wardens

These professionals work in state and federal parks. They patrol hunting and fishing areas and enforce the laws that govern such activities.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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