It's an old cliché: Crime doesn't pay. Fighting crime, on the other hand, may. Cops and police officers often enjoy rewarding careers protecting the life and property that resides in the communities where they work. Cops are responsible for keeping jurisdictions safe by enforcing laws, patrolling areas, arresting lawbreakers and suspects, performing traffic stops and issuing citations to those who break the law. Though cops can have a rewarding job, they may find it tough to enter the police-work field.
According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police departments, state and federal agencies may be the mostly likely to have job openings for qualified police officers. This is in despite of fierce competition in other areas of the field. Officers typically complete a police academy where they are trained to respond to specific types of situations they could encounter. This may include learning how to communicate with regional dispatch, safely drive a police vehicle at fast speeds, and understand different aspects of state and federal law.
A degree in law enforcement or criminal justice could be an advantage in helping obtain a job, according to the BLS. Many junior colleges, community colleges and universities offer degree programs in these subject areas. Additionally, candidates seeking a law enforcement career may wish to be bilingual. Cops also need strong leadership skills, perceptiveness, communication skills, good judgment and physical stamina and strength.
Featured degree programs to help prepare for a cop career: