5 Great Law Enforcement Careers

When it comes to careers in law enforcement, there are many options to choose from. The United States offers multiple organizations at the local, state, and federal levels, employing more than one million Americans in a wide variety of career paths and professional fields. Here are five law enforcement careers which are among the fastest growing in the country.

1. Parole and Probation Officers

When it comes to law enforcement careers, many people fail to give parole officers and probation officers the credit that they’re due. The simple fact is that the US government is swinging away from mandatory sentences, and placing an increasing emphasis on rehabilitation. With the end of private prisons, this mindset is only going to increase. This will mean thousands of new jobs within the probation officer career path. Probation and parole officers assist in the rehabilitative process through helping people move past their offenses and readjust to a constructive role within society.This position usually requires post-secondary education in the criminal justice or psychiatric fields, although a degree in social work will sometimes qualify.

2. Transit Police

Transit police consist primarily of railroad police, a once-shrinking law enforcement career which is once more on the rise. Increases in environmentally-friendly lifestyles and the costs of other forms of long-distance travel have done a lot to boost the popularity of the railroad system. A transit officer polices crime committed on board trains, or else that which is directed at carriers or their customers, most especially theft. They involve both preventative and investigative requirements. A degree in criminal justice is not necessarily required, although different agencies feature different prerequisites. That being said, it does lead to a higher starting salary.

3. Emergency Dispatcher

America is entering into a period of time during which the number of its elderly citizens is on the rise. By 2040, elderly Americans will represent more than twenty-one percent of the total population of the country, according to the Administration for Community Living. Meanwhile, the total population is also on the rise, which means that there will be an objective increase in the amount of crime and other emergency situations with which law enforcement agencies will be confronted. These two factors mean that many more emergency dispatchers will be needed to notify and direct emergency services as needed.

Emergency dispatchers don’t always require a college education, but this can vary between locations. Big cities tend to have steeper requirements, and a degree in either law enforcement or a relevant technology field can make for a much more attractive candidate for employment.

4. Police Detectives and Investigators

The investigative career path is one of the fastest growing career paths within the law enforcement profession. Job opportunities are particularly abundant in major cities, where a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse population makes for an increase in many types of serious crime. Competition for investigative jobs is fierce. Better compensation is available to individuals with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. In addition to law enforcement and criminology, the changing makeup of America’s urban populations makes a degree in a second language field very appealing.

5. Private Detectives and Investigators

The previous options on this list have all been government positions, but the field of private investigation represents a rapidly growing profession. Many private investigators boast law enforcement experience and post-secondary degrees. A licensed private investigator combines professional law enforcement experience with a flexibility unavailable to the police. While not a government employee, a licensed private detective can access certain databases unavailable to civilians. This unique combination of attributes allows them to accomplish certain tasks, such as surveillance and investigation, in ways that official law enforcement and non-certified civilians cannot.

Typically, a private investigator will have a degree in criminology, criminal justice, law enforcement, or psychology. Some experience within the ranks of official law enforcement is almost always required, although certification can be obtained through working with a licensed civilian investigative agency.

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A career in law enforcement is a satisfying and rewarding way to earn a living, while giving back to your community through the enforcement of safe practices.