Police and Detective


Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who sometimes are called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes. Law enforcement officers' duties depend on the size and type of their organizations.

Average Hours/Working Schedule

Uniformed officers, detectives, agents, and inspectors usually are scheduled to work full time. Paid overtime is common. Shift work is necessary because protection must be provided around the clock because more experienced employees typically receive preference, junior officers frequently work weekends, holidays, and nights. Some police officers chose to work off duty as security for restaurants, retail stores, and other establishments.

Working location(s)

Outside, & in office.

Salary/Wage Potential

They get paid $26.45 per hour and make $55,010 a year.

Education Needed

You need a high school diploma or GED. Some may require a college degree.

Skills Required

Ability to multi-task. Officers and detectives may find that the demands of their job vary from day to day. But multiple tasks and extensive paperwork must be completed on time.

Communication skills. Police and detectives must be able to speak with people when gathering facts about a crime and to then express details about a given incident in writing.

Empathetic personality. Police officers need to understand the perspectives of a wide variety of people in their jurisdiction and have a willingness to help the public.

Good judgment. Police and detectives must be able to determine the best way to solve a wide array of problems quickly.

Leadership skills. Police officers must be comfortable with being a highly visible member of their community, as the public looks to them for assistance in emergency situations.

Perceptiveness. Officers must be able to anticipate another person’s reactions and understand why people act a certain way.

Strength and stamina. Officers and detectives must be in good physical shape both to pass required tests for entry into the field and to keep up with the daily rigors of the job.

Job Outlook/Growth

7% (Slower than average)

Advancement Opportunities or Related Jobs

Correctional Officers, EMT's and Paramedics, Firefighters, Private Detectives and Investigators, Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists, Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers