Careers in Law and Public Safety

There are a number of options for individuals who are considering a career that involves both the field of law and the field of public safety. We will discuss a few possibilities.

Careers in Law and Public Safety

Careers that involve working with the law also usually concern public safety in some way, as the two concepts are closely related. Depending on your educational goals, skillsets and personal interests, one of the following careers may be a good fit for you.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Lawyer $118,160 6%
Judge $109,940 (judges and hearing officers) -1% (judges and hearing officers)
Paralegal/Legal Assistant $49,500 8%
Police Officer/Detective $61,600 4%
Firefighter $48,030 5%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Information About Careers in Law and Public Safety


As a lawyer, you will work on the behalf of clients that may be individuals, businesses, or organizations by providing them with legal advice and representation in a number of different legal situations. Some lawyers work on criminal cases trying to prove a defendant's guilt in order to send them to jail or prison so they are no longer a threat to public safety. In order to become a lawyer, you must complete a four-year bachelor's degree program and then attend a three-year law school which prepares you for the bar exam in the state in which you wish to practice law.


A judge is a legal professional who has a number of duties including presiding over a court of law, making sure legal proceedings are conducted correctly, and aiding in the negotiation process between two different parties. Judges are also responsible for sentencing defendants who are found guilty to various punishments and may sentence some criminals to prison if they are considered to be a threat to public safety. You will usually need a law degree along with work experience as a lawyer before becoming eligible for appointment or election to a judgeship.

Paralegal/Legal Assistant

Another important job within the legal profession is that of a paralegal or legal assistant. These professionals are responsible for working on a variety of different cases by conducting research, organizing files, writing legal documents, and assisting lawyers with other aspects of the case. These professionals also play an important role in public safety, as proper filing and following of legal procedures are necessary in order to ensure fair and legal trials. To become a paralegal or legal assistant, you will usually need an associate's or bachelor's degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor's degree in another area along with a certificate in this field.

Police Officer/Detective

Police officers and detectives play a key role in maintaining public safety, as their main priority is to make sure that citizens are abiding by the law. Some of their duties may include patrolling a designated area to look out for suspicious activity, responding to calls, assessing the danger of a situation, arresting individuals who are breaking the law, and keeping detailed reports of all incidents. Police officers and detectives are also sometimes called upon to testify in court. To become a police officer or detective, you will need to attend the police training that is available in the state where you wish to work.


Firefighters are responsible for responding to emergency calls regarding fires and putting them out as efficiently as possible in order to reduce harm to both people and infrastructure. They are also trained in emergency medical treatment, which may be necessary if individuals are injured in fires. Firefighters also are often the first responders on scene for many types of emergency incidents and help make sure public safety is maintained. To become a firefighter, you will usually need a high school diploma along with training through the fire academy.

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