Home » William D King on Working in Law Enforcement with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

William D King on Working in Law Enforcement with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

For most people, the subject of education usually comes up in conversation with family and friends over holiday dinner or at backyard barbecues, but for law enforcement professionals this is an important topic that is constantly under consideration. Depending on your career goals there are many options available to you if you want to work in law enforcement explains William D King. To be certain about which path is right for you it’s important to know what kind of job opportunities are available along with the different educational requirements needed to land those jobs.

For example, if your goal is to become a detective or join one of the federal agencies like the FBI, CIA, DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), ATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives) or Secret Service you will almost certainly need to have a four-year bachelor’s degree. If you are interested in career options with local police departments, state police agencies or federal law enforcement jobs like the U.S. Marshals, Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) then it is possible that only a high school diploma or equivalent is needed to work your way up through the ranks at some of these organizations.

To get an idea about how much you can earn working for different kinds of law enforcement agencies, check out this salary calculator.

It will give you information on salary ranges based on geographical location and other factors like education level or experience.

Police Officer

For many people who want to work in enforcement the best place to start is as a police officer. This is an honorable profession and can be very rewarding as you help others and fight crime, but it’s also demanding and stressful because criminals don’t always follow the law and you will often find yourself face to face with dangerous individuals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were more than 829,000 jobs for police officers in 2010 across the country; however, not every one of these jobs was full-time or required that applicants have a four-year degree. Even though this number represents careers working directly enforcing laws such as patrolling streets and writing tickets, local agencies employ other types of personnel who work in public safety jobs like dispatchers, EMTs, paramedics or animal control officers.

Like law enforcement in general, the educational requirements for police work vary depending on where you live and what kind of position you are interested in says, William D King. If your goal is to become a state trooper or sheriff’s deputy than most likely some type of post-secondary education will be needed along with there being physical fitness requirements that need to be met. Even though these requirements may seem strict it’s important to know. That not all towns or agencies require this level of education and physical ability. However more desirable these qualifications are for conducting effective investigations and maintaining public safety.

Local Police Officer

Most local police officers provide service to their communities by patrolling streets or neighborhoods; enforcing traffic laws; responding to emergency calls; conducting investigations apprehending criminals; interviewing victims, witnesses, and suspects; seizing contraband and collecting evidence; testifying in court, and making arrests. To become a police officer at the local level most agencies require that applicants be of legal age to possess a concealed weapon permit, have no felony convictions or violent misdemeanor convictions within the last seven years, be a U.S. citizen, have a valid driver’s license, pass written, physical fitness and medical examinations along with a background check.

In addition, many local police departments will also administer polygraph exams, drug tests, and psychological evaluations. Before offering employment to an applicant they are considering hiring. A high school diploma or equivalent is usually sufficient education for what is require at the entry-level in most cases. However, some agencies may prefer individuals who have had military or college training says William D King.

Coroners and Medical Examiners

Depending on the size of the agency or jurisdiction you work for. A coroner or medical examiner may perform death investigations in all types of sudden, unexpected, violent and suspicious deaths. Such as homicides, suicides, accidents and drug overdoses. In order to become coroners or medical examiners individuals usually must be physicians who have attended medical school; passed licensing exams; completed four years of internship/residency training; and then passed state board certification exams. Some coroners or medical examiners are elect officials while others are appoint by their county boards.


Police officers risk their lives every day to protect the public. And work in some of the most dangerous situations imaginable explains William D King. Becoming a police officer is not easy, but if done right can provide you with stable employment. Retirement benefits and many other advantages for your future. If you are thinking about becoming an officer then. It’s important to gain as much knowledge as possible. So that you can be successful at obtaining one of these rewarding careers.