Police Officer

Chief Transportation Officer, Field Training Advisor, Field Training Agent, Law Enforcement Officer   More Names
Patrol Man, Patrol Officer, Police Captain, Police Patrol Officer, Public Transit Specialist, Railroad Police, Railroad Safety Specialist, Secured Entrance Monitor, Transit Authority Police Officer, Transit Officer, Transit Police Officer, Transit Specialist, Transportation Officer, Transportation Sergeant

Police officers patrol facilities, investigate suspicious activities, forcibly intervene to stop criminal acts, inspect baggage or cargo, enforce fare collection, and screen passengers to detect and prevent potentially dangerous objects from being transported into public transportation facilities or vehicles. They are required to assist with emergency management and work to de-escalate conflict among passengers or workers. They may have to pursue suspects as well as render aid before other first responders arrive at the scene.

Police are sworn officers with the power of arrest. Police organizations employ a strict chain of command structure, with rank-and-file officers typically reporting first to sergeants. Transit police officers may work with other law enforcement agencies. They may work with trained dogs or have special anti-terrorism training.

Police officers must have a good eye for detail, work well under extreme pressure, and understand local, state, federal, and public transportation security laws, policies, and procedures. Good oral and written communication, record-keeping, and conflict-management skills are required, as is the ability to use such technology as crime databases and mobile computers.

Police officers must have a high school diploma or pass the general educational development (GED) exam. Employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree. A valid driver's license is required. Officers also are required to pass firearms certifications, psychological screenings, and drug tests. Other certifications also may be required. Many industry employers provide on-the-job training, but click on the "get qualified" tab above to see additional resources for job preparation and training, as well as available educational programs in your area.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
4% - Slower than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $54,570 - $81,920    Hourly: $26 - $39

Note:  There may be opportunities for overtime work and overtime pay in this occupation.

Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

Police officers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. They may face physical injury when conflicts with criminals occur, during motor-vehicle pursuits, when exposure to communicable diseases occurs, or through many other high-risk situations.

Police work can be both physically and mentally demanding, as officers must be alert and ready to react throughout their entire shift. Officers regularly work at crime and accident scenes and deal with the death and suffering that they encounter there. Although a career in law enforcement may be stressful, many officers find it rewarding to help members of their communities.

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Legal Requirements

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Bachelor's Degree (High School + 4 or more Years)
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Percent Job Growth:

4% - Slower than average
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Typical Wages:

Annual: $54,570 - $81,920

Hourly: $26 - $39