Introduction Criminal justice administration focuses on the punishment of those who participate in illegal activity and in the prevention of this behavior. Most jobs fall within the military, courts or law enforcement. Jobs within these areas vary and require qualifications such as degrees or experience. Some have age restrictions. What they do Uniformed police officers typically do the following: * Enforce laws * Respond to calls for service * Patrol assigned areas * Conduct traffic stops and issue citations * Arrest suspects * Write detailed reports and fill out forms.
* Prepare cases and testify in court Detectives and criminal investigators typically do the following: * Investigate crimes * Collect evidence of crimes * Conduct interviews with suspects and witnesses * Observe the activities of suspects * Arrest suspects * Write detailed reports and fill out forms * Prepare cases and testify in court HOW TO BECOME ONE Police and detective applicants usually must have at least a high school education or GED and be a graduate of their agency’s training academy. Many agencies require some college coursework or a college degree.
Knowledge of a foreign language is an asset in many federal agencies and urban departments. Candidates must be U. S. citizens, must usually be at least 21 years old, have a driver’s license, and must meet specific physical qualifications. Applicants may have to pass physical exams of vision, hearing, strength, and agility as well as competitive written exams. Previous work or military experience is often seen as a plus. Candidates typically go through a series of interviews and may be asked to take lie detector and drug tests.
A felony conviction may disqualify a candidate. Ability to multi-task. Officers and detectives may find that the demands of their job vary from day to day. But multiple tasks and extensive paperwork must be completed on time. Communication skills. Police and detectives must be able to speak with people when gathering facts about a crime and to then express details about a given incident in writing. Empathetic personality. Police officers need to understand the perspectives of a wide variety of people in their jurisdiction and have a willingness to help the public. Good judgment.
Police and detectives must be able to determine the best way to solve a wide array of problems quickly. Leadership skills. Police officers must be comfortable with being a highly visible member of their community, as the public looks to them for assistance in emergency situations. Perceptiveness. Officers must be able to anticipate another person’s reactions and understand why people act a certain way. Strength and stamina. Officers and detectives must be in good physical shape both to pass required tests for entry into the field and to keep up with the daily rigors of the job.
JOB OUTLOOK Employment of crminla justice administration is expected to grow by 7 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Continued demand for public safety will lead to new openings for officers in local departments; however, both state and federal jobs may be more competitive. Because they typically offer low salaries, many local departments face high turnover rates, making opportunities more plentiful for qualified applicants. However, some smaller departments may have fewer opportunities as budgets limit the ability to hire additional officers.
Jobs in state and federal agencies will remain more competitive as they often offer high pay and more opportunities for both promotions and inter-agency transfers. Bilingual applicants with a bachelor’s degree and law enforcement or military experience, especially investigative experience, should have the best opportunities in federal agencies. The level of government spending determines the level of employment for police and detectives. The number of job opportunities, therefore, can vary from year to year and from place to place.
Layoffs are rare because retirements enable most staffing cuts to be handled through attrition. Trained law enforcement officers who lose their jobs because of budget cuts usually have little difficulty finding jobs with other agencies. Police and detectives Pay About this section The median annual wage of police and detectives was $55,010 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,440, and the top 10 percent earned more than $88,870.
The median wages for police and detectives occupations in May 2010 were as follows: * $68,820 for detectives and criminal investigators * $54,330 for transit and railroad police * $53,540 for police and sheriff’s patrol officers * $49,730 for fish and game wardens Quick Facts: Police and Detectives| 2010 Median Pay| $55,010 per year $26. 45 per hour | Entry-Level Education| High school diploma or equivalent| Work Experience in a Related Occupation| See How to Become One| On-the-job Training| See How to Become One|
Number of Jobs, 2010| 794,300| Job Outlook, 2010-20| 7% (Slower than average)| Employment Change, 2010-20| | Similar occupation Similar Occupations About this section This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of police and detectives. | Occupation| Job Duties| ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION | 2010 MEDIAN PAY | | Correctional Officers| Correctional officers are responsible for overseeing individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time in a jail, reformatory, or prison. |
High school diploma or equivalent | $39,020 | | EMTs and Paramedics| Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics care for the sick or injured in emergency medical settings. People’s lives often depend on their quick reaction and competent care. EMTs and paramedics respond to emergency calls, performing medical services and transporting patients to medical facilities. | Postsecondary non-degree award | $30,360 | | Firefighters| Firefighters protect the public by responding to fires and other emergencies.
They are frequently the first emergency personnel on the scene of an accident. | Postsecondary non-degree award | $45,250 | | Private Detectives and Investigators| Private detectives and investigators find facts and analyze information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer many services, including verifying people’s backgrounds, tracing missing persons, investigating computer crimes, and protecting celebrities.
| Some college, no degree | $42,870 | | Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists| Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work with and monitor offenders to prevent them from committing new crimes. | Bachelor’s degree | $47,200 | | Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers| Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and inspect property against fire, theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity. They monitor people and buildings in an effort to prevent crime. | High school diploma or equivalent | $24,380 |.