Law enforcement can be a very stable and fulfilling career. For people who want to protect and serve, there are a variety of agencies where they can find work. That could be anywhere from the local police department to federal agencies like the FBI. Law enforcement agencies recruit people from a variety of backgrounds.
Law enforcement agencies are best known for the officers and agents they put out in the field. However, these organizations also hire other job descriptions. For example, some agencies hire analysts. In the FBI, this is an entry-level position, before someone becomes a special agent. Local police departments will often hire dispatchers or other special workers who don’t spend any time in the field.
For most local law enforcement jobs, no college degree is required. Applicants to the force typically need only a high school diploma or GED. Some forces will, however, prefer candidates with associates or bachelor’s degrees. Other forces will view applicants with military experience is preferred. Check the website for individual departments before applying.
Typically, the next step after the application is a law enforcement entrance exam. The way the test is administered will vary from agency to agency. After passing the entrance exam, candidates will proceed to an academy for further training. Police academy training will include both classroom training and practical training in the field. Police departments can be great places to build a career. Promotions to a detective or other positions can be available for officers who perform well in the field.
Federal agencies like the FBI offer internships. Interested college students can learn what the organization is like before formally applying. An agency like the FBI or CIA can be a career job. Some people spend decades in those organizations. The FBI is well-known for the physical and mental toughness required for field agents. However, there are job descriptions that don’t require extreme physical prowess, too.
Law enforcement can be a great career. When considering this career path, remember that there are plenty of agencies out there. For example, many cities and counties will have transit police forces. In some places, sheriff’s departments are the only local law enforcement. In others, there’s both a county sheriff and a local police force.