Today, there are numerous law enforcement careers that a person who is interested in maintaining law and order can pursue in the United States. Each of the law enforcement careers has well-defined job specification, educational or experience requirements, specific duties and perks.

In order to determine which of them would constitute a suitable (and rewarding) choice from an individual point of view, it is necessary to learn more about what they imply. The following guide is designed to help readers comprehend the fundamentals of the various job options of the law enforcement field with the scope of an educated and informed decision.

The Main Law Enforcement Career Paths

To summarize the available alternatives before discussing each one in more detail, here are the positions that law enforcement candidates should consider:

  • Police officers
  • FBI agents
  • United States marshals
  • State troopers
  • Homeland Security officers
  • Forensic scientists
  • Fish and game wardens

It is necessary to point out that this list comprises of the generic definition of the positions and each law enforcement department has various jobs available for the candidates, based on their experience and training.

Police Officer

Law Enforcement CareersThe role of the police officer in the law enforcement sector comprises of enforcing the laws at state, federal or local levels. Typical police officer duties entail working with the public and the other law enforcement departments for the purpose of minimizing the crime rates.

Candidates who have graduated from the courses of an accredited college or have prior military training constitute the cadets with the highest chances to be selected by a police department and be enrolled in a police academy.  

State Troopers

The job description of the state troopers implies the enforcement of motor vehicle (and other) regulations on the roads (and highways) of the United States.

In essence, the state troopers will constantly patrol the highways and ensure that the public interest is served. It is necessary to point out that lately, various factors (retirement, elevated educational requirements, budget cuts) have caused substantial shortages of professional state troopers.

Forensic Scientists

The forensic scientist is an invaluable member for every law enforcement agency and his main role comprises of preserving and analyzing the evidence available in a case in order to help detectives elucidate the entirety of aspects and assess the guilt of the suspects.

From the DNA match analysis to the firearm and ballistic reports, the forensic scientist utilizes state of the art equipment and his expertise is mandatory in the vast majority of cases.

Fish and Game Wardens

To put it simply, the fish and game warden’s role in law enforcement is the protection of wildlife and the reinforcement of fishing or hunting regulations. Moreover, the enforcing of the boating laws also falls under the job description of these agents, as well as the supervision of seasonal workers or the investigation of accidents and the search and rescue missions.

FBI agents

Federal Law Enforcement Careers

FBI Agent Training - FBI photo by Kurt Crawford

Becoming an FBI agent is obviously more difficult but the basic foundation is that the candidate who files an application will need to possess American citizenship, have completed the 4-year courses of an accredited higher learning institution, have a valid driver’s license and a minimal experience of 3 years in a relevant law enforcement field.

In addition, excluding military veterans, the age range for applicants is between 23 and 37.

Moreover, the training that recommends candidates should be included in one of the Special Agent Entry Programs, which are: legal, language, computer sciences, accounting and diversified.

The candidates are selected based on the skill level in one or more of these fields.

Homeland Security Officers

Homeland Security officers are the law enforcement agents responsible for guaranteeing the security and protection of American citizens and visitors of the country.

In a nutshell, the Department of Homeland Security will evaluate and follow up on potential terrorist threats, assess the level of danger, verify and secure the borders against illegal immigrant entries, ensure the safety at an airport or shipping terminal, and etc.

United States Marshals

The principal role of the US marshals comprises of tracking and capturing federal fugitives. In fact, statistics indicate that the US marshals are the professionals who are responsible for more arrests of federal fugitives than the entire set of law enforcement departments put together.

What makes the marshal position so attractive are the exciting and diversified duty ranges (administrative and otherwise).

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