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Criminal Justice Articles

What is the job outlook for Police Officers?

Unfortunately, crime is a current and serious problem in society, and because of this, the demand for competent police officers remains steady. The demand is fueled by increases in population sizes and worries about security at the local and national levels. Information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that by the year 2016, there will be almost 100,000 police officers employed around the country.

Although demand will not decline, applicants can expect a fair amount of competition when applying for positions at the state and federal level. In fact, only about twenty percent of police officers are employed by state and federal agencies. Applicants, who desire to work with state and federal agencies such as Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), will typically be required to have more qualifications than those looking for employment at local police agencies and will have more intensive job demands. Federal police officers must be willing to relocate and may have to travel extensively as part of the job.

For individuals interested in becoming police officers with only a high school diploma, opportunities are found at the local level. However, more and more often, local departments look for applicants with a two or four year degrees. Those with military experience or some college courses can help set themselves apart from the competition.

Of course, the size of the local police department will determine how competitive the job market is. Applicants who apply for jobs in more wealthy neighborhoods can expect fierce competition. Urban areas offer less competition, but officers will be exposed to higher crime rates and more potential for serious injury. Positions in small towns and rural areas are usually easier to obtain, and police officers are less likely to come across violent crimes in these areas.

Officers regularly put themselves in the line of danger to protect the welfare of the community and often have to juggle a variety of roles. Police officers will be required to be in good physical condition. Officers must be able to handle high stress situations and remain calm and professional when dealing with a criminal. In addition, officers are often called upon to work night shifts, holidays and overtime.

For those willing to put up with the dangers of being a police officer, it is an exciting career track. Both male and female applicants may find many opportunities for increasing career advancement and increasing wages. Police officers can enjoy a level of job security not found in many other careers. Though the number of positions currently available is determined by local budgets, a cut back or layoff is recoverable--officers can simply pick up and apply to another agency.

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