Law enforcement is the act of members of the government who work towards enforcing the laws of their country in an organized manner. There are various categories of those who work in law enforcement. Those include operating at a local, state, or federal level. While the work between the three sections differs in their roles and jurisdiction, their common goal is to ensure the safety of their citizens and keep them from harm’s way.
Law enforcement jobs are often strenuous and require a lot of commitment. They are in some cases dangerous and require long hours of work. However, there are always other factors to take note of. Some factors include your interest and passion for the job. What you’re willing to do to make sure you achieve it.
Jobs in law enforcement can be a lot to take in and, at times, keep you away from family and friends. So while it can be a gratifying career, it’s always best to take note of your current situation, your mental space, and your willpower. You must be clear on what you want and know what you’re in for.
Jobs in Law Enforcement
There are various jobs to choose from when considering a career in law enforcement. While the basics and goals may be similar between most jobs in law enforcement, many of them vary greatly in terms of tasks and jurisdiction. Law enforcement has sections from local to federal, and each has its criteria to fill out. Some examples of jobs in law enforcement include police officers, FBI agents, Secret service, criminal investigators, etc.
What are the qualifications for getting a job in law enforcement?
- A high school diploma or GED is one of the minimum requirements for beginning your career in law enforcement. Again depending on the kind of job or career that you would like to pursue, there may be specifications.
- Having a bachelor’s degree may also be an excellent option, as people now appreciate those candidates applying with a bachelor’s degree. This bachelor’s degree could also potentially increase your chances of getting a job.
- Having a bachelor’s degree or higher can also help get you into higher-paying jobs and better opportunities.
- For example, to get a job in the FBI, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and work experience in the same field. Only then will you be eligible to take part in the training process in the FBI.
- You will have to attend training if necessary. For example, police officers would need to graduate from the academy. FBI agents also have a 20-week training at Quantico to pass
Skills Needed to Get a Job in Law Enforcement
It is essential to attain the necessary educational qualification and experience. It is also a must also have the aptitude, resilience, and other necessary skills listed below. While the list mentions the skills that would be beneficial, it is not limited to the mentioned few.
- Integrity: Integrity is a necessary trait. It serves as the moral compass and depicts a person’s character. When you pursue a career in law enforcement, you must be honest and abide by the same laws that you enforce. There may come a time where you hold a person’s life in your hand. In these instances, staying honest will help to alleviate situations.
- Being Empathetic: When you work in law enforcement, you will interact with en number of people. You will have to discern what a person may be feeling to help move a situation along. This could be anyone from the victim to the suspects. For example, if you are to ask questions to a victim, you would assess their emotional state before posing any question. You would try to make them as comfortable as possible. If you were to interrogate a suspect, the questioning would be different.
- Teamwork: Teamwork is another skill that will come in handy. Cooperation between your teammates and/or co-workers can help with gaining information, resolving bad situations, and many such things. Working with teams can broaden your perspectives and help you gain insights into something you might not have thought about before.
- Observation Skills: Information can come from anywhere, and many times it may not be in plain sight. For example, if you ever get a job in the field or have to investigate a crime scene, or if you were to interview people, you must be conscious of your surroundings. You must also gauge people’s responses and analyze the situation well.
- Adaptability: There may be times you may be thrust into unexpected situations. In cases like this, you must be quick on your feet and make sure that you adapt to your current surroundings and situation. It may be difficult, and more often than not, you won’t have a choice.
- Communication: Like with observation, you must be able to communicate well. Communication also again ties back to working with other people. However, communication is vital in every aspect. Communication could help with making an observation, stating an opinion, describing an idea, or generally speaking to people. Communication is always crucial.
- Being Level-Headed: There may be times where the pressure and stress can be overbearing. However, it is still vital to keep a calm head regardless of the situation to avoid mishaps and think about making the best of the situation or turning a bad one into a good one.
What are the pros & cons of a career in law enforcement?
- A career in law enforcement is gratifying. It is rewarding because you spend your time protecting your community and working to create a safer environment. Creating a safer environment is hugely fulfilling when you know all your efforts contribute to making a better world.
- While every job does have its slow day and may seem repetitive, in a career in law enforcement, a lot of them get your adrenaline pumping. There is always potential to do something very exciting. If thinking on your feet is something you enjoy and such, this may be a good career option for you.
- You may have numerous opportunities for you to earn well in law enforcement.
- In knowing the nature of the work, many great benefits come along with it. Many jobs come with extra holidays and bonuses as well as pensions after retirement. These benefits are worth looking into when considering a career in law enforcement.
- There are many advancement opportunities and room to grow and build your career. It requires time and effort. However, as you continue to progress, you may feel a sense of fulfillment.
- There may be situations that could potentially put your life in danger.
- The time that you spend working in law enforcement can be emotionally burdening. (This also depends on which department of law enforcement that you work in.)
- Each working day at your job may not be like the last. So you may find there are issues with finding stability in this career path.
- There may be times that you may go through emotionally taxing experiences, especially when witnessing unfavorable situations.
- The work in law enforcement can be extremely grueling and needs a lot of time and effort that is required in order to be spent.
- You may have to spend long periods away from family and friends.
When considering a career in law enforcement, it is always important to weigh the pros and cons. As mentioned before, you will spend a substantial amount of time and effort required when getting into this field. With every advantage, there is a disadvantage. You must decide if you have the willpower and the passion for pursuing a career like this. If you, however, choose this career, you will find that it is gratifying and fulfilling.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much are you paid in law enforcement?
The payment depends on the job that you take up as well as the location of your placement. An average salary of an FBI agent would be around $65,687 a year. An average salary for a police officer would make approximately $54,000 a year.
- Are there any age restrictions or requirements in joining law enforcement?
There is generally no specified age limit. Many begin this career between the ages of 18-21. Some jobs like the FBI have a maximum age at which they can apply for.
- What is a day like working in law enforcement?
This entirely depends on your job and what work you are assigned. There may be days where your work is erratic and others where it feels monotonous. Some jobs require you to do fieldwork, and others need you to stay behind a computer all day. Depending on what you have chosen for your career, your tasks will also vary.