Police officers in the United States earn an average annual salary of $51,410. Keep in mind that there are several divisions of the police force including detectives, criminal investigators, state and local police, fish and game wardens, and transit police.
Whatever branch of police work appeals to you, there are plenty of opportunities nationwide to pursue a career in law enforcement. Depending on your skill set and areas of interest, police officer salaries range from the low end of $30,000 to well over $100,000 for officers with higher levels of seniority.
Regardless of a police officer’s starting salary, once you have joined the police force you will have the chance to work within very clear, specific guidelines in order to plan your career progress and work toward promotions and raises.
Watch the video below on the salary range of a police officer:
Police Officer Benefits
In addition to a market rate salary, police officers receive additional benefits such as paid vacation, life insurance, health insurance and sick leave. (Considering the high cost of health care, insurance is a great boon to any family.)
Officers also receive an allowance for their uniforms and equipment so that they don’t have to absorb those expenses. Perhaps even more attractive is that police officers are usually eligible for retirement at half pay after between 20-30 years of service.
Police Officer Job Duties And Responsibilities
Police officers are generally scheduled for 40-hour work weeks, but overtime is not uncommon. They are also always on call, which means they must be prepared to respond to an emergency whenever they are needed. Even if they are off duty, many jurisdictions require police officers to be armed and able to enforce the law as the need arises. This makes a police officer’s job one of the most stressful, as well as one of the most rewarding jobs you can have.
Keep in mind that during periods of economic instability, police officers have one of the few jobs that remain unaffected. While large companies are laying people off and unemployment skyrockets, the police force needs every member of its team.
Knowing that your job is relatively secure and allow you to provide for your family despite the economic roller coaster makes it worth looking into becoming a police officer even when other options are available.
Job Requirements & Qualification
Joining the police force is not the same as interviewing for any old job. Through a police officer’s education, they receive specific, rigorous training and the decision to pursue this career requires a real commitment. Once you’ve made the decision to join the force you will need to follow through with a commitment of time and energy.
The good news is that you do not necessarily need a secondary education; a person with a high school diploma and a good work ethic can enter the force and work their way up. Still, it is one of the most rewarding jobs you can have, because at the end of the day you know that you’re needed. Our society depends on a strong, ethical and dedicated police force.