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Careers for Former Police Officers

There are a number of jobs in security, technology and education where former police officers can take advantage of their skills and training. Continue reading to learn more about ideal careers for former police officers.

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Career Options for Former Police Officers

Police officers acquire many specific skills in their jobs. They are often involved with investigating crimes, monitoring areas where there's a security threat or identifying and locating witnesses and evidence. Once they leave their careers in law enforcement, they may seek out work in fields where they can take advantage of these skills as part of their duties.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Information Security Analysts $92,600 18%
Transportation Security Screeners $39,680 -2% or lower
Security and Fire Alarm System Installers $44,330 9% to 13%
Fire Inspectors $56,130 6%
Postsecondary Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers $59,590 21%
Private Detectives and Investigators $48,190 5%
Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers $25,840 5%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Former Police Officers

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts are expected to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a similar major. They are responsible for protecting computer networks from hackers and ensuring that the data an organization has on its network is secure. Since hacking and cyber crime are significant issues facing law enforcement, former police officers with prior experience tracking hackers or investigating computer crimes may be ideally suited to this profession.

Transportation Security Screeners

Transportation security screeners inspect baggage and check passengers before they board planes or other modes of transportation that require security checks. They are responsible for intercepting prohibited items that should not be allowed through security or identifying passengers who may pose a threat. Former police officers are experienced with observing people, identifying suspicious behavior and locating prohibited weapons, so they already know how to perform the basic functions of this profession. Transportation security screeners usually need a high school diploma, and related job experience is a plus.

Security and Fire Alarm System Installers

Security and fire alarm system installers can move into this profession with a certificate or with on-the-job training. They travel to different locations and install systems in buildings. These installers also repair existing systems and show customers how the equipment works. Former police officers who've investigated break-ins and thefts may have insight into how to secure property and may find this to be a career where they can take advantage of their prior law enforcement experience.

Fire Inspectors

Fire inspectors determine what caused a fire after one has occurred and inspect buildings to make sure they comply with applicable fire codes. Since arson is a serious crime, former police officers may be interested in working in this field so they can help ensure criminals are apprehended. Former police officers also have experience with investigating crimes, which makes them ideal for this type of work. Although an associate's or bachelor's degree may be preferred by some employers, it's common for fire inspectors to have prior experience as a firefighter or police officer before entering this career field.

Postsecondary Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers

Postsecondary teachers help people acquire the skills needed to earn a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree. Postsecondary criminal justice and law enforcement teachers instruct students who are interested in pursuing careers in criminal justice and law enforcement. They usually need a master's or doctoral degree to teach at this level, but at some schools, on-the-job experience may suffice. Former police officers can take advantage of their practical knowledge of working in law enforcement to help prepare students for their careers.

Private Detectives and Investigators

Private detectives and investigators have many of the same duties as police officers, but they work for their own clients. They may follow suspects, question witnesses or locate evidence related to a crime or a personal matter. A license may be required, and most of these professionals have prior military or law enforcement experience. Former police officers may find that this career option allows them to continue doing work that's similar to what they've done in law enforcement, but without the same level of risks that police officers face.

Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers can enter this field with a high school diploma and learn through on-the-job training. They help protect property, and as part of their duties they may patrol an assigned zone or use cameras to keep an eye on different areas. If a crime occurs, they may also be involved in locating and detaining suspects. Some of the duties are similar to tasks that police officers perform, and former officers will find they have the skills needed to conduct surveillance, investigate issues and deal with threats to security.

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