How Much Money Will I Make
Police salaries vary between locations and governmental agencies, but overall pay is generally average to slightly above average than it is for most jobs in the U.S. Police1 publishes a regularly updated guide to police salaries that explains the ranges in pay between agency types, how overtime and promotions impact salary, and more.
Duties Of A Police Officer
The life of a police officer is often demanding and can be difficult. However, it is a very purposeful and rewarding profession. Police officers carry out a wide variety of tasks. As law enforcement officials, they are responsible for maintaining peace in their communities and this duty has a number of different aspects.
Some of the tasks carried out by police officers include:
- Hostage negotiations
Police Community Support Officer
Although they do not have the same powers as a police officer, PCSOs play a key role on the frontline of neighbourhood policing. According to the College of Policing, the job involves:
- dealing with minor offences
- providing support to police officers
- conducting house-to-house enquiries
- guarding crime scenes
- providing crime prevention advice.
Starting salaries are typically between Â£17,500 and Â£20,000, although North Yorkshire Police states that their trainees currently earn Â£21,135, which rises to Â£23,406 with experience.
This is a uniformed role, and you’ll work shifts including evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
Apply for PCSO positions directly through the police force that you want to join. You do not generally need any formal qualifications, but you’ll need to meet the basic eligibility requirements set by individual police forces. Check their websites for details.
The application process typically involves an application form, online tests, an interview and assessment centre. You’ll also have to demonstrate your fitness and pass a medical test. Successful applicants will then undergo a training programme lasting between three weeks and three months.
You may later decide to apply to become a police officer, or continue as PCSO.
Read Also: How To Make Anonymous Tip To Police
Certificate In Law Enforcement
A certificate in criminal justice or criminology is an opportunity for individuals to gain specific instruction in an area of law enforcement. Since a certificate consists of a few classes and can be completed in a few months, the certificate can also provide an opportunity to get started on an associate degree without having to commit to the two years just yet. Certificates are also great in that some department require applicants to have some college credits, but do not require a full degree. Some of the courses available in a criminology or criminal justice certificate program are listed below:
Meet The Police Officer Requirements
Every police department has its own set of applicant requirements. The specific requirements may vary depending on each state, however, many of police officer requirements are universal. If you are striving to become a police officer, specifically in the state of Connecticut you will adhere to standards of the Police Officer Standards and Training Council. In Connecticut, the standards for local police officers include:
- Be a US Citizen
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be 21 years of age
- Pass a written entry test
- Have no felony convictions, nor have been convicted of any class A or B misdemeanors
- Pass a background check
- Have a valid drivers license
The POST standards are simply the minimum standards every Connecticut police applicant must meet. Some agencies will have stricter standards depending on their requirements. The standards for becoming a Connecticut State police officer differ slightly and include:
- Be a Connecticut resident
- Have a valid Connecticut drivers license before graduating from the training academy
- Be at least 20 years of age at the time of application
- Have normal hearing and color vision and meet all vision standards
- Pass the physical exam, psychological test, and physical agility test
- Have normal hearing, color vision and depth perception, and 20/30 vision
- Have no tattoos or body modifications, such as piercings, that are visible while in uniform
Applicants must also go through a series of required examinations. These include:
Recommended Reading: What Is The Training To Become A Police Officer
Police Officer Hours And Work Environment
Work hours can vary depending on the police department. Arlington County police officers are assigned to one of three eight-hour shifts, while police stations in smaller communities may only have two 12-hour shifts, Vincent says.
However, We offer an opportunity twice a year for officers to change shifts, Vincent says. Thats our system because research shows that poor sleep patterns can affect job performance. For that reason, police officers also usually have the same days off every week, Vincent says: Weve found that some officers prefer the midnight shift because theyre night owls.
As for the work environment, Vincent says theres inherent stress in any public safety job: And on top of being physically demanding, police work can be stressful and dangerouspolice officers may suffer physical injuries during conflicts and other high-risk situations. Therefore, officers must possess the physical and mental stamina to perform their job.
What About The Police Academy
If you get past all that, you then get to go through an exhausting physical and mental challenge known as the police academy. It should be noted that some agencies will require completion of an approved police academy course before applying for open positions, so be sure to check with the specific departments you’re interested in almost all large agenices, like the NYPD, will require completion of their own in-house program once a conditional offer of employment has been accepted.
And yes, you have to complete a police academy prior to becoming a cop, even if you already have a college degree in a criminal justice-related field. While there is no standardized curriculum for police academies nationwide, you can expect an average of 833 hours of classroom instruction, which will take just shy of five months to complete.
After that, youll enter a tough on-the-job training program with a field training officer, after which you can expect to be on probation as a rookie officer for at least a year in some places, up to two.
Also Check: What Is A Good Gift For A Police Academy Graduation
Police Officer Job Growth
Police officers are a vital component to maintaining a peaceful society. While still subject to cost cutting like any other private sector industry, the demand for police officers remains relatively steady for the foreseeable future. For more detailed job growth information, please see the below chart.
How To Become A Police Officer In Toronto
The Toronto Police Service is an elite law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the people of Toronto. As the Canadian metropolitan area with the most police officers, Toronto has many career opportunities for aspiring and current police officers, but the hiring process can be competitive. A policing degree or a criminology degree can set candidates apart, lead to promotions, and open doors to a broad range of job opportunities.
Lauriers online Bachelor of Arts in Policing and online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Policing develop analytical and critical thinking skills, foster key competencies required for leadership roles, and give public safety professionals an edge in their overall careers and salary potentialno matter where in Canada they may be studying from.
Recommended Reading: How Much Does A Military Police Officer Make
Sponsored Online Law Enforcement Degrees
Criminal Justice & Criminology
Another degree field that will be helpful is criminology. This field of study takes a broad-range, science-based approach to crime, looking at crime statistics in relation to frequency, causes, demographics, and more. This is an academic discipline heavily rooted in science , so a curious mind and an aptitude for numbers is helpful. When complete, this degree is useful for career advancement, as it can be applied to the big-picture issues that law enforcement leaders need to tackle.
Although sharing many similarities to criminology, criminal justice focuses on navigating the societal systems that have been set up to stop crime, punish criminals, and reduce future instances. Basically, a criminal justice degree gives you a thorough understanding of law enforcement, the court system, and corrections. Once again, this degree is extremely useful for future advancement, as it gives a strong understanding of the overall crime-prevention efforts in the United States. Its beneficial for people who want to shift horizontally in law enforcement, moving into areas such as victim support or rehabilitation.
Work Towards A Promotion
So long as its within your reach, always try to improve yourself in your chosen. Attend any training meant to boost your experience and get certified.
Pay increases with a promotion, but so does the level of responsibility and potential bureaucracy.
Once some experience requirements are met , officers have a variety of opportunities. These include positions such as detective, mounted officer, SWAT, and other focused units, depending on the size and needs of a given police department.
Also Check: How To File A Police Report In Maryland
Federal Police Force Salary & Benefits
If youre interested in the federal police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police offers new hires $53,144/year with an incremental increase to $86,110 within 3 years of employment. Benefits include paid vacation days, an RCMP pension plan, medical, dental and family health plans and group life insurance. The RCMP also offers generous maternity and parental allowances as well as financial support for continuing education and professional development opportunities.
An Easy Way To Get Hired As A Police Officer
One of the most enviable professions in recent times is law enforcement. It comes with an attractive salary package, incredible benefits, and a substantial pension plan .
These incentives cause many people to apply to the law enforcement agency, creating enormous competition to get hired. While some give up, others find a secret to getting easily hired, and that is by gaining a POST Certificate before applying for the position.
The Peace Officer Standards Training Certificate is an important requirement to become a police or peace officer in a country, state or community. In the past, applicants have to apply to the law enforcement agency first.
Upon approval, it gives them the enrollment in a police academy, where they receive the requisite training to gain the POST Certificate. After this, the agency will swear them as a police officer and they eventually become a police officer.
Even though this process has been successful over the years, the high number of applicants at the law enforcement agency has created enormous congestion. Because of this, some smart applicants are going to the police academy on their own to receive the POST Certificate, and then get back to apply for a job with the law enforcement agency.
This new process has proven successful for many people. But the flip side is that you can have the POST certificate, and still fail the tests required to get hired as a police officer with the agency.
Recommended Reading: Can You Become A Police Officer With A Felony
How Much Does A Police Officer Make
If you are going to pursue a career in law enforcement, starting with the position of a police officer, you need to be motivated by more than money. To be certain, police officers can earn a strong salary , but finances wont be motivation enough to put on the uniform and patrol the streets every day. That said, its worth looking into the expected salaries of a police officer to understand their earning potential.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary for police officers and detectives was $63,380. Detectives and criminal investigators had the strongest salaries in this category, earning a median over $81,000. Transit and railroad police earned a median of $74,030, while patrol officers earned a median salary of $61,380.
The best salaries appear to come from the federal government, where law enforcement officers enjoyed a median salary over $87,000.
Salary depends largely on location. For sheriffs and patrol officers, the best salaries appear to come from California , Alaska , and New Jersey .
So while it may not be a path to riches, working in law enforcement can bring a strong income.
Best College Degree For Police Officer
Police officers need a broad range of skills to thrive and excel in these careers. From solid communication to a strong understanding of human behavior, police officers will find a lot of value from an associates or bachelors degree in many different fields. The best major for you will be one you have a unique interest in and one that you would like to apply in your career as a police officer.
Also Check: How To Become Police Officer In Ohio
Common Hurdles By Veterans
If youre like most military service members, youve spent your entire working career in the military. You know how it works and you know how to work with it. Getting out and entering the civilian world can be daunting to think about. Youll hit your fair share of hurdles along the way. As long as you expect them, they should be easier to overcome.
We asked a few veterans who are now sworn law enforcement officers some of the things they ran into during their transition into civilian law enforcement. We hope these tips help better prepare you for your own journey into the most rewarding career of your life.
Starting at the bottom
After moving your way up through the ranks, be prepared to start at the bottom all over again. This applies to officers and enlisted service members alike. You will be considered the rookie for the next few years and will have to earn the respect of the LEOs you are now working with. And be sure you can take a practical joke.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of those things that people often dont want to talk about. If you served in a combat zone or otherwise feel that you could be suffering from PTSD, seek help. Dont be ashamed about it. It can be overcome, but not if you refuse to do anything about it.
Military.com has pulled together a lot of great resources about combat zone PTSD that can help you find the treatment you may need.
Being considered overly aggressive
One Month Before Separation
If you have completed this checklist you should be able to spend the last 30 days taking care of your packing, checking out and getting settled into your new life.
Remember: Within the first 120 days after separation many of your benefits expire, so you should check out your options for replacing these benefits ASAP.
Recommended Reading: How To Become A Police Officer In San Antonio Texas
What Is The Job Descriptionof A Police Officer
The primary duty of a police officer is to protect people and property. Common duties of police include:
- controlling traffic
- delivering warrants
- arresting violators and submitting incident reports in a timely manner.
- engage in collaborative actions to ensure that tasks are handled according to protocol and in a timely and safe fashion.
- enforce applicable state laws as required
- investigate incidents and accidents
Even as a senior officer in the police force, roles vary. You perform the following tasks:
- Assign police work of varying difficulty
- Deploy staff for community engagement
- Investigate complex cases
- Ensure that officers follow procedural regulations
- Review case histories of all stakeholders on a case as required
- Provide directives to officers about policy development
Types Of Police Officer
When you work as a police officer, you will be in a setting where rank and seniority make a big difference. Like the military, there is a direct hierarchy of authority whereas a private-sector boss can make a request, the head of a police department gives an order, and its your duty to follow these orders.
The exact structure of a police department can vary by region and size, but it generally starts with police officers, the most common rank. These are the professionals who complete ground-level duties of patrol and emergency response, forming the backbone of law enforcement across the country.
Next in rank are detectives, who perform crime scene investigations and work on individual cases.
From there, the structure of a police force, from lowest to highest rank, looks something like this:
- Corporal Essentially an entry-level supervisor, often in charge of a small group of administrators.
- Sergeant First-line supervisors, usually overseeing a group of officers and detectives.
- Lieutenant In charge of a group of supervisors.
- Captain Commanders of entire districts and units.
- Staff Inspector Responsible for overseeing large units and multiple districts.
- Chief Inspector Commanders of a bureau or large group of units.
- Deputy Commissioner In charge of large sections of departments and districts.
In other cities, the police department can be headed by a chief, and there are other rankings and titles that can be found depending on the region.
Recommended Reading: Can I Still File A Police Report After An Accident
Picking A Police Department
There are many things to take into consideration when picking a department. Things like the type of law enforcement agency, proximity to where you want to live, or starting pay all are important factors. One of the biggest mistakes made by candidates is having their heart set on one specific department and refusing to apply anywhere else. As anyone with experience will tell you, this is a big no-no.
Once you decide what type of agency you want to work for for example, a county sheriffs office, big city police department, or a state police department figure out WHERE you want to work. Maybe you want to stay near your last duty station, or maybe you want to return to your hometown. Try to narrow it down sooner rather than later, because you want to be sure youre available in the area for interviews, exams, polygraphs, etc.
Now that youve decided where you want to work, here are a few pointers for narrowing in on the specific departments.
Zeroing in on a department
The best way to learn about any department is by getting the inside scoop from people already serving in it. That may seem a `bit tedious when youre serving your country half a world away. Fortunately, both PoliceLink and Military.com have the two largest communities of law enforcement and military personnel in the world.
And remember in a few years from youll have the opportunity to help the next wave of transitioning veterans, so be sure you help out when the time is right.