Thanks to the entertainment industry, law enforcement careers have enjoyed a surge of popularity during recent years. While an ordinary day in the life of a law enforcement officer may not be as action-packed as what you see on your favorite show, it is still a rewarding and exciting career. Read on to discover what types of things you would be doing in a law enforcement career, as well as the education and training that is required to help you realize the your career goals.
Professionals who aspire to pursue a career in law enforcement may work in a variety of different settings, with a range of responsibilities. Many serve their communities as police officers, while others work for private security firms.
While most police departments require that their applicants must be at least 20 years old, some departments located in big cities will allow high school graduates who are under 20 to apply as cadets or trainees. Most law enforcement agencies have their own training programs. These programs are usually completed within 3-4 months, and include training on firearm use, emergency response and patrolling.
In addition to the training program offered by your law enforcement agency, you may be required to have completed at least one year of formal training. Many prospective law enforcement officers pursue an associate's degree in an area such as criminal justice. Coursework covers topics such as ethics, interrogation procedures and evidence processing.
Many law enforcement professionals decide to pursue a four-year degree in criminal justice. The coursework in this field provides students with more in-depth knowledge and training in law enforcement policies and practices. Students may take classes that address issues such as juvenile justice and security administration. Many programs offer internships, providing valuable on-the-job experience that will help the student secure a career in law enforcement upon graduation. Depending on your region, you may also be required to obtain additional certifications and licenses.
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