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Career Outlook for Individuals with a Degree in Police Science or Law Enforcement

Career News February 18, 2016

Students pursuing a degree program in either Police Science or Law Enforcement have an array of different professions to join after graduation. Most of these professions are related to law enforcement strategies and policies. To learn more about this, including the job growth rate and salary details for graduates of these degree programs, read the article below.

Overview of Police Science or Law Enforcement Degree Programs

Generally, these degree programs teach students about investigation methods and criminology. Major topics taught in the programs revolve around the legal system and criminology, research and investigation methods as well as criminal justice theories. Students who wish to join a career related to the police force after college must also join a law enforcement academy according to law. Some other important details to note is that graduates of these degree programs must be physically fit as well as meet the age restrictions put into place. Lastly, it is possible to get employed in the police force without having a degree, but you can’t obtain a higher position unless you have a bachelor’s degree.

Career Police Officers FBI Agents Correctional Officers
Education details High school diploma or a bachelor’s degree Bachelor’s degree High school diploma except in federal prisons where a bachelor’s degree is required
Additional training Police academy Federal police academy Police academy
Estimated job growth rate (2012) 4% 4% 4%
Average salary in 2012 $58,630 $58,630 $39,700

Career Options for those with a Police Science or Law Enforcement Degree

A degree program in either Police science or Law Enforcement culminates with getting a job in the police force or correctional facilities. It is also possible to get a job with a federal government agency after graduation.

Police Officer

They patrol city streets and roads, respond to accidents and other emergencies, investigate crimes and assaults and also appear as witnesses in courts. Moreover, police officers issues citations for law breakers to motorists along the roads. Generally, police officers acquire a college diploma after which they are trained in a police academy for 12-14 weeks. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics (BLS) estimate that in 2012, police officers earned an average annual salary of $58,630.

Federal Agents

They mostly work for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) where their work is to investigate crimes and violations, analyze data collected and hand in evidences to their superiors for further instructions. Some federal agents may also choose to seek employment in other sectors such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to the BLS, a federal agent earns an average salary of $58,630 in 2012.

Correctional Officer

They work inside jails and prisons where they maintain peace and order. A Correctional officer can work at any prison level in the country, be it local, state or federal. However, federal state correctional facilities demand bachelor’s degree training besides the compulsory training you acquire at the law enforcement academies. Finally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate that in 2012, a correctional officer earned an annual pay of $39,700 while officers in federal prisons earned a higher pay of approximately $53,000.

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2 Program(s) Found
  • Interested in enhancing your skills and knowledge in the criminal justice field? Learn more at GCU!
  • GCU promotes interdisciplinary studies and research while developing valued skills in the justice workplace.
  • Develop collaborative and analytical skills through a rigorous educational environment and Christian worldview.
  • GCU's master's and bachelor's degrees prepare students to change lives, enhance communities and ensure the fair treatment of community members.
  • Gain the analytical skills and legal expertise needed to evaluate individuals and take charge in a professional legal setting.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
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  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
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  • Non-profit and institutionally accredited by WASC
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  • Get 24/7 access to online library, tech support, career services, & more
  • Various forms of financial aid are available to students who are eligible
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