Law Enforcement Administration

Managerial and executive positions in law enforcement are available at the local, state and federal levels. This article discusses education options in the field and will help you determine whether a career in law enforcement is a good fit.

Inside Law Enforcement Administration

Many public safety and law enforcement patrol officers and detectives strive to obtain administrative and supervisory positions. Law enforcement administrators ensure that police departments and other law enforcement organizations run smoothly. They supervise staff while promoting and executing regulations for law enforcement specific to their agencies. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), for example, is an organization that deals with enforcing the laws and regulations that relate to illegal drugs.

Most law enforcement administrators start out as patrol officers and work their way up the ranks. It's at the patrol level (corporal) that officers learn the streets and people of the communities they serve and protect. After serving as corporal for a year or two, officers can then be considered for promotions to sergeant, lieutenant or captain. Depending on the agency, exceptional officers with an educational background in law enforcement administration can skip ranks and advance quickly.

Does a job in law enforcement administration sound like something you might enjoy? has all the information you need on degree and career opportunities and will guide you in making the right decisions for your future.

Education Options

Many degrees are available in law enforcement administration, and your choice depends on how you wish to enter the field. Nearly all individuals interested in police work need to complete a 12-to 14-week police academy, and some go on to earn their Master of Criminal Justice degree to accelerate the promotional process. Check out the following articles to learn more about education options in law enforcement.

Distance Learning

A number of distance learning options are available to those wanting to enter the field of law enforcement administration. You can earn your associate's degree all the way up to a master's degree online. These options are particularly convenient if you're already working for a law enforcement agency and looking to further your education for promotional opportunities. The links below contain more information on distance learning opportunities in the field.

Career Options

The career options listed below are in ascending order from the least amount of education required to the most. However, some police chiefs and sheriffs can work their way up the ladder without further education or by being elected to more advanced positions. Explore the following links to decide which career best suits you.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that positions for police officers and detectives overall were expected to increase five percent from 2012-2022 (, which is slower than average. Patrol officers across the country had an average annual income of $58,720 in May 2013, with most patrol officers earning between $32,670 and $90,700. At the same time, first-line supervisors of police and detectives had an average annual income of $82,710, with the highest-paying positions being with the federal and state governments.

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