Choosing a job in law enforcement can be an exciting venture because there are so many paths and areas of specialization you can choose from. Exploring the various positions in law enforcement can help you prepare for a specific career path. In this article, we discuss 21 jobs in law enforcement you might be interested in.
What are law enforcement jobs?
Law enforcement jobs are positions that help uphold various laws and protect people and property from harm. You can find many types of law enforcement jobs, from working with animals to studying crime scenes for clues. Each career has different requirements, like obtaining licenses and certifications or earning a higher degree.
Jobs in law enforcement
The following are law enforcement jobs in different fields ranked from lowest to highest-paying:
1. Air marshal
National average salary: $64,501 per year
Primary duties: An air marshal protects people from harm on airplanes. Responsibilities include protecting crew and passengers and supervising domestic flights.
National average salary: $24,970 per year
Primary duties: An animal control officer protects the community by ensuring human care for animals and implementing animal licensing laws. Responsibilities include impounding dangerous, illegal or stray animals. Animal welfare officers also rescue trapped animals, write reports and provide expert testimony in court.
National average salary: $46,107 per year
Primary duties: A substance abuse counselor helps clients with addiction problems by showing them ways to cope without harmful substances. The role entails guiding clients toward addiction recovery programs and providing support during crises.
National average salary: $34,594 per year
Primary duties: A surveillance officer monitors a building or property and observes suspicious behavior. They watch CCTV cameras, patrol grounds and make reports after their shifts. Surveillance officers can also work at special events, like sporting events or concerts.
5. Park ranger
National average salary: $35,783 per year
Primary duties: A park ranger patrols parks and protects them from potential damage. They could monitor trails and campsites, help patrons find various landmarks and respond to distress calls. Rangers could also operate vehicles, like boats or snowmobiles, to ensure patrons are safe.
National average salary: $36,709 per year
Primary duties: A private investigator uses surveillance to gather information on a person or a group of people. Other responsibilities include writing reports, doing background checks and interviewing people. Private investigators sometimes help with missing person cases or provide security services.
National average salary: $64,747 per year
Primary duties: A maritime enforcement specialist works to protect the community from the sea. The role includes conducting water missions, responding to chemical spills and protecting property. Coast Guard enforcement specialists also work on search and rescue cases and help people on boats who are in distress.
National average salary: $37,175 per year
Primary duties: A bailiff serves eviction orders and works in courthouses, ensuring that the rooms are ready for trial. Other duties include assisting jurors, collecting evidence from juries, calling witnesses and delivering jurors' messages to courts, attorneys and families.
National average salary: $40,909 per year
Primary duties: A sheriff enforces the law at the county level. Elected by the community, the role involves issuing arrest warrants, providing security in court, planning transportation for defendants and acting as legal servers for court notices. Sheriffs are also responsible for monitoring and directing traffic.
10. CIA agent
National average salary: $45,722 per year
Primary duties: A CIA agent discovers and collects intelligence information to protect civilians. They conduct research and use complex technology to gather accurate data to help policymakers and military leaders make informed decisions. CIA agents specialize in areas like technical, analytical, support or language.
National average salary: $45,827 per year
Primary duties: A psychological specialist, also called a profiler, studies human behavior and its characteristics to help solve crimes. Responsibilities include analyzing crime scenes and evidence, reading the investigators' reports and collaborating with analysts. Psychological profilers can also provide court testimony.
National average salary: $46,480 per year
Primary duties: A fraud investigator studies allegations of deliberate fraud, abuse or waste by an individual or an entity. They conduct research, analyze documents and go on field assignments to gather evidence. Fraud investigators can also collaborate with defense lawyers or prepare prosecution packages.
National average salary: $48,634 per year
Primary duties: A paralegal provides support to legal clients and lawyers before arbitration hearings, trials or mediation meetings. Paralegal roles vary depending on the specialization. However, typical responsibilities include working on trial preparation and analyzing facts by researching similar cases and outcomes.
Related: Learn About Being a Paralegal
National average salary: $50,050 per year
Primary duties: A forensic document examiner, which is a type of special forensic science technician, helps solve crimes by identifying whether documents are authentic. The role involves using technology to verify handwriting and identifying the person who created the document. Other duties include writing reports and testifying in court.
15. Criminal lawyer
National average salary: $53,785 per year
Primary duties: A criminal lawyer investigates criminal cases by conducting research and interviewing witnesses. Responsibilities include building a defense strategy and negotiating with the prosecution to make a plea bargain when necessary. Advocating for the client and drafting, filing and arguing appeals are part of the job as well.
Related: Learn About Being a Lawyer
16. Police officer
National average salary: $54,771 per year
Primary duties: A police officer follows the principles of justice and uses the highest ethical standards to protect the community from lawbreakers and maintain the law. Responsibilities include patrolling an area, interviewing suspects and collecting evidence.
Related: Learn About Being a Police Officer
17. Customs officer
National average salary: $71,589 per year
Primary duties: A customs officer is a compliance analyst who ensures that shipments entering and leaving the country comply with the law. Responsibilities include tracking payments for taxes, issuing refunds and reclassifying tariffs. Customs agents can also prepare documentation to help with the import and exportation of goods.
National average salary: $81,336 per year
Primary duties: A criminal investigator helps solve crimes. They collect evidence, interview witnesses, watch surveillance tapes and make arrests. Investigators can also provide testimony in court.
National average salary: $96,888 per year
Primary duties: A counter-terrorism analyst collects and identifies information related to terrorist groups. The role entails working with intelligence data and producing assessments to uncover terrorist plans. Counter-terrorism analysts try to discover an opposing group's operations, their personal ties and their motivations.
National average salary: $105,122 per year
Primary duties: A forensic psychologist performs evaluations for the court by analyzing suspected criminals and determining their ability to appear before a judge. They also help survivors suffering from trauma appear in court.
National average salary: $151,364 per year
Primary duties: A secret service agent provides protection to high-ranking government officials and their families. Responsibilities include being able to mix in with a crowd and take prompt action when necessary. Secret service agents must also write reports, work undercover, conduct surveillance and plan security routes.