What Are Entry-Level Jobs for Someone in Law Enforcement?

Law enforcement job opportunities can often be found in a variety of government and private organizations. Entry-level law enforcement positions may include police officers, security guards and transportation security officers. Read on for information about these career options. Schools offering Law Enforcement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Entry-Level Law Enforcement

Even at the entry level, many jobs in law enforcement will typically involve some preparation, either in the form of academy education or workforce training. While requirements will vary from agency to agency, many employers in this field will expect candidates to complete some manner of licensing or certification either shortly before or during on-the-job-training. A certain level of fitness may also be involved if a job seeker wishes to become an officer in security and law enforcement.

Important Facts About Law Enforcement Occupations

Police and Detectives Security Guards
Median Salary (2014) $58,630 $24,410
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 4% (Slower than average) 5% (As fast as average)
Similar Occupations Correctional officers, firefighters Private detectives and investigators
Key Skills Leadership, communication and strong physical skills Observation and strong physical skills

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Police Officers

Police officers enforce the law of the jurisdictions in which they work by patrolling, apprehending criminals and otherwise preserving peace. To become an entry-level police officer, one must have a high-school education, hold a valid driver's license, pass a written examination and meet minimum age and health requirements. Many police forces have rigorous training programs for entry-level law enforcement officers. According to the BLS, most police officers work for local governments. Other employers include state and federal governments. With time and experience, entry-level police officers may be promoted to detectives or supervisors.

Security Guards

A security guard is responsible for protecting office buildings, retail stores and other public buildings from illegal activities. These law enforcement workers are sometimes called security officers, and they may be employed by government or private security companies. Security guards may work at any hour of the day or night. Their duties include monitoring surveillance cameras, inspecting visitors' or employees' personal bags and reporting suspicious people or events. Some security guards carry weapons.

Transportation Security Officers

Transportation security officers work to keep airports safe by screening passengers and baggage for weapons and other potential dangers. They perform their job duties by using x-ray machines, metal detector machines and hand wands. These officers also verify identification and travel documents. Career advancement opportunities are available for transportation security officers who have accumulated sufficient experience.

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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