For a Rewarding Career as a Police Officer Join Law Enforcement

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Most of the jobs as a police officer are available locally. Though this is a dangerous field that is stressful, opportunities are available.

Police officers protect the property and lives of the people in the town they serve. These individuals are responsible for locating those who break the law and submit a citation or warning to offenders. Police spend time writing reports of the offenses they find. Investigating crimes is also another task they perform.

Responsibilities of an officer of the law vary depending on the specialty and which government level they are employed in. State and government officers of the law are responsible for ensuring laws set on the state level and federal level are adhered to. State police officers are responsible for safety on highways and making sure traffic laws are followed. They apprehend and arrest those who commit crimes on the highway.

Uniformed police officers handle incoming requests for help and patrol the area for suspicious activity. They also serve as traffic police during times of construction or when an accident happens, investigate theft, and provide physical assistance to the injured parties.

The requirements will vary based on the specialty and which form of government a police officer works for. Some do not have many requirements and some have higher requirement levels than others.

Individuals entering this profession must have a high school diploma. Some positions may require a college degree or a shorter time of college education. After high school, classes taken should include law enforcement related topics. Some areas have schools that are related specifically to educating people in this industry. Physical education classes are also required. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement to individuals who pursue a degree in criminal justice, public administration, or justice administration. Those who receive this education are eligible for higher salaries.

Law enforcement officers who work on a state or federal level should possess a bachelor's degree or a high amount of experience equivalent to a four year degree. More training is required before assignments are given.

An applicant for a police officer position must be citizens of the US. People in this field must be at least 20 years of age to practice this profession and have a strong, healthy physique to endure physical stress. Individuals entering this profession are required to take a hearing exam, vision exam, and a strength and agility analysis. Officers must be honest and able to communicate professionally in a friendly manner when dealing with people.

When a police officer joins the force, training is given at a police academy. Training endures for four to six weeks. Information is given on constitutional law and a person's civil rights, as well as state and local laws. Information is given on how to handle an accident report. Supervised training is provided relating to the use of weapons, traffic directing, first aid, responding to emergency calls, and defending a person's well being.

In 2006, there were 861,000 people employed in the field. A high percentage, (79%) were employed with local governments and eleven percent were employed at the state level. Only seven percent were working at the federal level. An even smaller portion worked with schools, transportation authorities, and specialized investigation units. The people who worked locally were employed in municipalities that have 25,000 or more residents. The size of the work force will vary depending on the number of residents in the town and the amount of taxes collected to fulfill the need.

Plenty of jobs will be available but there will be a good deal of competition at the state and federal level with highly qualified individuals that are educated and have experience. The field is expected to grow at a rate of 11% over a period of 10 years.

Police officers and sheriff officers earned an average of $47,640. The center half earned was from $35,000 to $59,000. The lowest and highest earnings respectively were $27,000 and $72,000. The average for state employees was $60,000, federal earnings were $85,000, and local government earnings were $47,000. Payment is provided for overtime worked over the standard 40 hour work week. This leads to a significantly higher pay level.

Being a police officer means a high rate of pay but the job is very dangerous especially when a criminal is encountered. The efforts are worth the time in the long run. Just like with the medical industry, this can be a rewarding profession helping people.
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