Law enforcement plays a vital role in keeping the public safe and maintaining law and order. When you work in law enforcement, your job is to protect lives and property, as well as build trust between law enforcement and communities. Many law enforcement jobs are open to candidates with a high school diploma who have the right skills and training.
As law enforcement personnel, you’ll be responsible for responding to emergencies, patrolling assigned areas, conducting investigations, obtaining warrants, observing suspicious activities, and preparing written reports and forms. You may work at the local, state, or federal level, depending on your credentials. Across the board, there will always be a need for law enforcement personnel. Over the next decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5% increase in police and detective jobs.
If you’re interested, you can expand your search for protective services jobs by checking out these similar positions:
The level of education needed to work in law enforcement depends on the jurisdiction and agency you plan on working in. Police officers typically only need a high school diploma and police academy training that includes classroom instruction, firearm safety and use, and supervised patrol training. For more information on getting a police officer job, read Monster’s article on how to become a police officer.
If you plan to work for a federal agency such as the FBI, you’ll need to earn a four-year college degree (preferably in criminal justice), pass the application and screening process, and complete training at the FBI Academy. See our article on how to become an FBI agent for a step-by-step guide.
Law enforcement agencies typically look for candidates who have the following skills and qualities:
Law enforcement employers usually require applicants to submit a resume. A resume is a good way to demonstrate your skills and areas where you have comprehensive knowledge. If you’re not sure how to write and format your resume, take a look at Monster’s law enforcement resume sample—it provides a visual of what your resume should look like. Employers, including those in law enforcement, often judge applicants by their cover letters before reviewing their resumes. We offer a template specifically for police officer cover letters to serve as a jumping-off point for your own cover letter.
When interviewing for a law enforcement job, expect the process to be arduous. Law enforcement agencies want to ensure they hire candidates who have the training, ethics, and communication skills needed for the job. You may encounter such questions as:
Go into your law enforcement job interview equipped with strong, smart answers by reading through Monster’s list of potential interview questions.
Want to make sure you’re getting paid what you’re worth? Your pay will likely depend on the jurisdiction or agency you work for, your location, and your experience level. Police officers in the U.S. typically earn a yearly salary of $43,958. Criminal investigators earn a median of $57,781 per year. Search your job and location using Monster’s Salary Tool to find what salary you might make. You’ll also find next steps to advance your career and a list of the U.S. metro areas with the most law enforcement jobs.
Do you have the skills and qualities law enforcement agencies are looking for? Set up your free profile with Monster today to start applying for jobs in law enforcement. We’ll also make it easy for recruiters to find you and keep you in the loop with new job postings.