By Amy Nutt
When looking into positions in law enforcement and security, you will probably find that there are more options out there than you believed. Some of these career options require less training or more, of course, or have higher or lower pay rates, and they all have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here, you’ll find an overview of three law enforcement-related careers: Police Officer, Corrections Officer, and Security Officer.
Of the three law enforcement careers discussed here, working as a Police Officer is generally the most demanding, as it requires extensive training and an ability to deal with tense and life-threatening situations. Unlike in the security and corrections sectors, Police Officers work throughout the city, adding an extra level of risk to the position.
Because of this, the recruitment process for new Police Officers in most U.S. cities is long and extensive. In L.A., for example, the recruitment process involves 12 steps, including background reviews, polygraphs, and psychological, mental, and physical evaluations. After the applications and recruitment process has completed, candidates are generally offered a recruitment training program, which takes place before true recruit training.
Though Police Officers go through the most rigorous examinations and training, there are some definite benefits to this career in comparison with other law enforcement careers. For one, the pay is generally higher. New Police Officers (with 1-4 years on the police force) make a median salary of $38,000. With five years on the force, the median salary rises to $44,000.
Nearly as demanding as working as a Police Officer is a career as Corrections officer. Like Police Officers, Corrections Officers must go through a series of tests and examinations to determine if they are fit for that particular career. While not as rigorous as the Police Officer application process, the Corrections Officer application process includes many of the same elements, such as a written examination, a health screening, and a background check.
Though salaries in the Corrections field can go up past $70,000 annually (Supervisors/Managers), most Corrections Officers earn less than a police officer. The median salary for a Corrections Officer or Jailer is $33,600 (2004).
Unlike Police or Corrections Officers, Security Officers or Guards generally work in the private sector for institutions such as banks and casinos, or in the public sector in public buildings, laboratories, etc. The responsibilities of a Security Officer vary greatly, as does the pay rate. A Security Officer’s responsibilities range from patrol and inspection of people and property, to theft and fire prevention, to interviewing witnesses.
Unfortunately, as work as a Security Officer requires less training than other law enforcement careers, the pay is also lower. Security Officers earn a median salary of $22,900 annually. However, for those working in the private sector as Personal Security Specialists, that amount can go up to $36,000.
About the Author: Looking for a rewarding career as a Law & Security Officer? Get the training you need at triOS College located in Toronto, Ontario.
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