Police Officer Salary By Experience
|Experience Level||Low Hourly||High Hourly||Low Annual||High Annual|
|20 Years +||$20.38||$53.22||$42,390.00||$110,690.00|
Police officers are individuals who are expertly trained in law enforcement and are also called law enforcers. They are constituted by state governments to protect citizens and property, to limit and contain civil disorder, and to enforce the law. They are also employed to provide security for government officials and important buildings and facilities. In events of emergencies and disasters, police officers are also put on the scene to direct traffic, provide crowd control personnel, and to give first aid to victims.
While public safety is the core responsibility of every police organization, police officers are also tasked to prevent and investigate crimes and to arrest individuals who are believed to be involved in criminal activities. The arrested individuals and the results of their queries are then referred to the courts for hearing and trial. Police officers also go undercover to penetrate criminal organizations to install surveillance systems and acquire evidences.
Police officers are also trained to apply necessary amount of force and violence to subdue, or even neutralize, threats and other hostile personnel that could cause damage and serious harm to property and to other people.
There are various types of police officers, whose responsibilities are outlined by the nature of their work.
State police officers, also called highway patrol officers or state troopers, are responsible in enforcing traffic laws in state highways and roads. State police officers are also called upon to assist in road accidents and emergencies and in apprehension of suspects through blockades and aiding in chases. All states have state police officers except in Hawaii.
Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs are law enforcers who at the county level. They are usually given the job through election by the public and functions a lot like a police officer in an urban setting. Sheriff unites are relatively small. They are also tasked to operate county jails and serve in local courts.
Criminal investigator and detectives are police officers who conduct investigations regarding a criminal case. They examine evidences, interview witnesses, observe the activities of suspects, and participate in raids or arrests.
As of May 2011, there are 636,410 police officers and detectives in the United States. The annual median police officer's salary is found to be $54,230 yearly, or about $26.07 an hour. The top 10% are earning a police officer salary of $84,980 a year or more, while the bottom 10% makes $32,080 or less on an annual basis.
Police salary rates differ on varying degrees. One of the differing factors is the type of organization that pays for the police officer's salary. Certain organizations are willing to shell out higher police salary rates than other organizations but require individuals with advanced experience and skills. Other law enforcement agencies may have huge number of positions but these are only at the entry level, which warrant low wages.
The biggest employers of police officers are organizations at the local level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 542,060 police officers and detectives are now given jobs at local level and are earning an average police officer salary of $56,160 a year, which is slightly above the national average. State level law enforcement agencies now employ 63,030 police officers and detectives and are paying them a more substantial pay rate of $60,650 a year. State lever agencies also offer the highest pay rate for police officers, followed by local law enforcement offices.
Looking at the big picture, the information shows that there is a huge demand for police officers at the local level. But since most of these job opportunities are entry-level positions, the pay rate is lower. As one advances further into his or her police career and a considerable amount of experience and knowledge, one can apply for a state-level position where the police officer salary is higher.
To become a police officer, one must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent to qualify for a police training program. But some states are now obligating candidates to finish a two-year program before they can be accepted for police officer training course. Employment prospects are even brighter for those who have a college degree in criminal science, criminal justice, public safety, or law enforcement.
Police officer training courses in police academies are designed to enhance a candidate's mental aptitude as well as physical fitness. Academic education includes civil rights laws, state and local laws, criminal psychology, constitutional law, and crime investigation. Hands-on training for police officer candidates include supervised training on highway patrolling, suspect apprehension, accident and emergency response, first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, self-defense, firearms use, and traffic control.
The common prerequisites to become a police officer in most states include the following:
For those who have not yet met the age requirement for police officer training, it is possible to enter a police cadet program.
In some instances, requirements vary for those who want to become fish and game wardens whose responsibilities are different from typical police officers. A degree in biology, environmental science, or wildlife is usually required in addition for these positions.
Police officers who are looking to become federal agents for the FBI or other federal level law enforcement agencies must have at least a bachelor's degree and three years of work experience.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the police officer profession will grow to about 7% in 10 years within the 2010-2020 decade. Based on the gathered information by the said government agency, there are about 794,300 police officers in 2010, including game wardens, transit and railroad police, and detectives. Estimates by the Bureau see the total number will shoot up to 853,100 by 2020. This growth, according to the Bureau, is slower than the average for all occupations.
The little increase of employment in the police officer profession is mainly due to low police officer alary rates, specifically at the local level. Reports of turnovers are very high. On the upside, this will open up vacancies for aspiring police officers and other qualified applicants.
Employment in the federal level is very tough and competitive as the police officer pay grade is very substantial and the benefits are also better compared to the packages offered at the local level. However, federal law agencies have stricter requirements and higher standards, which effectively limit employment prospects.
Fresh from police academies, almost all police officers start at the local level. After considerable years of professional work and experience and achievements, promotion is viable for a significant number of police men and women. Career advancement is faster for those who have college degrees.
Education also influences the direction of a police officer's career. Those with sociology and psychology degrees are usually assigned to trauma units. Police officers with degrees in criminal and forensic science are typically given positions in the investigations department. Those who have shown flair in computer and internet technology are forwarded to cyber crimes division. Skills training such as marksmanship exercises and explosive and ordnances training may also advance one's designation and can qualify a police officer to elite police organizations such as SWAT and Bomb Squad Units.
Continued education is also essential in promotion. A police officer who pursues a doctor's degree in public administration has a more chance of becoming department chief compared to someone with a high school diploma to his name.
Because of their expertise in law enforcement and public safety, police officers can easily find employment in other industries. A number of former police officers have found success as security consultants, firearms trainers, and martial arts instructors.
The following are occupations closely related to the police officer profession:
The police officer profession is one of the noblest occupations in the world. As a police officer, you are trained to be of service to other people and help them in any way you can, even if that means putting yourself in harm's way at times. Becoming a police officer is considered to be a 'calling' for many people who want to protect and serve their community.
If you've got a community spirit and think you've got what it takes to become an enforcer of the law and protector of the public, then becoming a police officer may be just the right career pathway for you to choose.