Overview of the top law enforcement jobs
There are several jobs you can do if you love enforcing law and order and an adventure-packed career. Law enforcement careers offer job security, and they can also be full of action and adventure. So, if job security is one of your most significant concerns, consider a career in law enforcement. We provide a list of law enforcement jobs, their duties, and salary expectations in this article.
The best law enforcement jobs
Here are some of the best law enforcement jobs that offer a good income and allow you to contribute to the public good:
US Secret Service special agent
Average base pay: $144,477 per year
US Secret Service special agents are responsible for protecting important officials like presidents, vice presidents, former presidents, and their families. In addition, they carry out in-depth investigations on national and international crimes, traveling or going undercover when necessary. The US Secret Service requires that its entry-level applicants possess a bachelor’s degree in homeland security, criminal justice, or any closely related field. Graduating with a CGPA of 4.0 will give you an edge over other applicants.
Average base pay: $111,035 per year
FBI agents conduct investigations on federal crimes and arrest people who break federal laws. If someone commits a crime across two or more US states, it is the duty of FBI agents to detain them. All FBI applicants must be citizens of the United States between 23 and 37 years old. Earning a bachelor’s degree in finance, computer science, or a foreign language can also help you land a job as an FBI agent.
Federal air marshal
Average base pay: $99,757 per year
Federal air marshals safeguard the lives and properties of passengers and airline staff during domestic and international flights. The minimum requirement for aspiring federal air marshals is a bachelor’s degree in homeland security, criminal justice, or aviation business administration. Alternatively, you could earn three years’ experience as a criminal investigator or an airline crew member.
Average base pay: $94,942 per year
Criminal investigators manage the investigation of criminal cases. They are responsible for collecting evidence on crime scenes, conducting interviews with witnesses, and arresting suspects of a crime. It’s best that you obtain a bachelor’s degree in crime-related courses like forensic science if you want to become a criminal investigator. You may also gain some experience in law enforcement. Most criminal investigators start as police officers and private investigation interns.
Border patrol agent
Average base pay: $82,290 per year
Border patrol agents guard international land and sea borders in the United States. These officers prevent terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants from gaining access into the country. Only US citizens who have a valid driver’s license and are younger than 40 years old can apply for an entry-level border patrol agent position. Also, you must earn a degree in a crime-related course or get some experience in law enforcement to become a border patrol agent.
Average base pay: $81,695 per year
Immigration officers enforce immigration laws within the country. They are different from border patrol agents who ensure the observance of immigration laws at the border. An immigration officer checks traveler’s papers at airports and arrests, detains and deports illegal immigrants. You must be a US citizen older than 18 years old to apply for an Immigration Inspector role. Most citizens who apply for immigration officer jobs have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, homeland security, or international law.
Average base pay: $74,000 per year
Intelligence analysts collect and analyze information from different sources to predict and prevent internal and external attacks and organized crimes. Aspiring intelligence analysts should choose computer science, programming, or intelligence studies as their major in college to increase their chances. It would be helpful to train as an intern under an expert intelligence analyst.
Average base pay: $69,035 per year
The responsibility of criminal analysts is to assemble data on crime cases to assist detectives during an investigation. Criminal analysts study police reports, witness accounts, crime scene evidence and suspect history and make reasonable conclusions from their research. Aspiring criminal analysts can earn a degree in psychology, sociology, or criminology and intern with law enforcement agents. In addition, they need to obtain the Criminal Intelligence Certified Analyst (CICA) certificate.
Average base pay: $63,467 per year
The duty of a firearms examiner is to collect and identify weapons, bullets, and firearms on crime scenes. During trials, firearms examiners also share the results from their analysis as testimonies in courtrooms. Aspiring firearms examiners should consider obtaining a bachelor’s degree in physics and taking a firearms examiner training program.
Average base pay: $61,272 per year
A state trooper ensures that residents in a particular state obey its traffic laws. Their job is to monitor traffic on major state highways and issue speeding tickets or arrest citizens who break state and federal traffic laws. State trooper candidates should be older than 21 years, have a high school diploma, and experience in law enforcement. That said, earning a degree in criminal justice or any related course may give you an edge over other applicants.
Average base pay: $58,101 per year
A forensic pathologist performs autopsies on dead bodies to determine the cause of death. They also examine victims of homicide to find evidence that points to the perpetrator. If you want to become a forensic pathologist, consider earning a bachelor’s degree in forensic science. After obtaining your first degree, you need to acquire a medical degree in osteopathy and four years of pathological forensic training.
Average base pay: $50,372 per year
An investigative assistant’s role is to provide support to criminal investigators in compiling data on crime cases. They also serve subpoenas to eyewitnesses of a crime and locate missing suspects. Aspiring investigative assistants should have completed high school and have a valid driver’s license. The job is a desirable internship position for undergraduates of crime-related college courses. Most police stations and private investigative agencies prefer to employ college students as investigative assistants.
Average base pay: $49,667 per year
The duty of a game warden is to ensure that residents of a state observe federal and state laws on boating, fishing, and hunting. They are also responsible for issuing hunting licenses, investigating wildlife crimes, and arresting anyone who breaks wildlife laws. Most states require applicants for game warden jobs to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, zoology, or any similar course.
Average base pay: $49,667 per year
Police officers maintain law and order and protect the lives and properties of citizens within communities. When someone commits an offense in a local area, it is the police officer’s role to arrest them. A police officer also controls road traffic and responds to crime emergencies in their jurisdiction. The United States requires aspiring police officers to obtain a high school diploma and pass the police academy entrance exam. When you pass the entrance exam, you will receive training for the job at a police academy. You can only start work as a police officer after you have graduated from the police academy.
Average base pay: $49,667 per year
Wardens manage the feeding, care, housing, and discipline of prison inmates. They also hire and monitor prison staff. A bachelor’s degree in justice administration, criminology, or social work is a great first step towards becoming a warden.
Average base pay: $48,716 per year
Fraud investigators investigate fraud cases and assess the evidence against fraud suspects. It’s best to get a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or forensic accounting if you want to become a fraud investigator.
Average base pay: $46,979 per year
Deputy sheriffs supervise the law enforcement officers in their assigned county, and they arrest law offenders and organize city patrols. Sometimes, deputy sheriffs may also oversee county jails and maintain security in local courts. You can become a deputy sheriff if you have a bachelor’s degree in a crime-related course or experience in law enforcement. Degree holders who lack experience in law enforcement will receive basic police training after they get the job.
Average base pay: $36,495 per year
A probation officer facilitates the rehabilitation of prison inmates and ex-convicts. To qualify as a valid applicant for a probation officer job, you need to be at least 21 years old. A valid driver’s license and a degree in social work or criminal justice are other requirements for the position.
Average base pay: $34,470 per year
Evidence technicians focus on the gathering and analysis of the evidence on crime scenes. They make rational conclusions from their analysis and deliver the results to police detectives for further investigation. You should consider obtaining a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree in forensic science or criminal justice to land a job as an evidence technician.
Forensic document examiner
Average base pay: $30,277 per year
A forensic document examiner confirms the validity of documents used as evidence in a courtroom. Forensic document examiners also analyze handwriting and signatures to identify forgeries. To become a forensic document examiner, you need a bachelor’s degree in physics, chemistry, or biology. Also, you may need to undergo a two-year training under an experienced forensic document examiner before you can practice. Working in law enforcement can help you earn a stable income, contribute to the community, and build a career with high job security. Use this helpful list of law enforcement jobs to discover the career options you can choose if you have the background and personality for keeping the law.