ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Demands of Police Officer Jobs

Updated on February 10, 2013

Copyright 2013 by Aurelio Locsin

Police officers have higher-than-average rates of injuries and illness, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They often confront angry or dangerous individuals who may be intent on doing harm to themselves and others. The dangers from this highly stressful work can be minimized through proper procedures and by ensuring that officers meet tough physical and emotional demands.


The minimum educational requirement for police officer jobs is typically a high school education or GED. However, some agencies, especially at the federal level, require college coursework or a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must be at least 21 years old, be U.S. citizens and have a driver’s license. They must also pass a background check, physical fitness test, a medical exam, and a written exam. In large urban agencies, knowing a foreign language can be an asset. Candidates may need to undergo oral interviews and show good moral character by taking lie detector tests. Felony convictions or misdemeanor domestic violence convictions can be grounds for disqualification.


Recruits spend several weeks training for their demanding jobs primarily through paramilitary police academies, which are administered by the hiring agencies. The academy at the Los Angeles Police Department, for example, takes six months to complete. In classrooms, recruits learn report writing, civil rights, municipal does, federal law, ethics, investigation techniques, booking procedures and traffic investigations. Hands-on training includes firearms training, self-defense, first aid, tactics and human relations. Because good health is necessary for handling the job, recruits go through physical training everyday to improve strength and endurance.


Several personal qualities and skills are necessary to meet the demands for police officer jobs. Empathy is necessary for seeing the points of view of victims, suspects, legal professionals and other officers. Balancing this is good judgment so they can determine the best course of action among many options. Communication skills are vital to receiving instructions from superiors, for explaining investigation and for expressing enforcement details to the public. Officers may deal with several things at once, such as questioning suspects while writing a ticket and investigating a crime, so the ability to multi-task is necessary. Finally, officers must show the leadership to affect large groups of people, such as crowds at crime scenes or subordinate officers.


The BLS expects jobs for police officers to increase by 7 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is half the 14 percent projected for all jobs in all industries. Employment is affected by government budgets and is expected to remain competitive at the state and federal level. Those with bachelor’s degrees and knowledge of a second language, or military experience, will find the most opportunities. As of May 2011, police officers earned a mean $56,260 per year, or $27.05 per hour. The biggest employers were local, state and federal governments, with state governments showing the best average wages of $60,650 yearly, or $29.16 hourly.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Depends Rajan. In departments with lots of cash, they can put in lots of overtime. But in smaller agencies, they have to limit their overtime.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      It's nice to know they get paid more than what I thought...I thought it was closer to the not-so-great wages of some teachers' salaries. Great series you have here!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks again for sharing your research. I especially like the section on "characteristics" reminding us that the police are people with brains and feeling; handcuffing is not the sum total of their job.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I have often thought about how these guys (police officers are probably grossly underpaid. Thanks for an enlightening article.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      5 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Awesome article Alocsin. It offers great information for an honorable position as a career choice withing our emerging society. A very close friend was the first female officer here in Escondido.

      Her husband heads up the evidence lockup, although she is retired now. I remember her first beginning, first shooting, and when she became head investigator for domestic violence, child, and elderly abuse. Actually they were my first employers many years ago.

      So, I thank you for sharing the what of becoming an officer and that fond memory of dear friends too.


    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      5 years ago from Asia

      It isn't surprising they have to undergo many tests. I think that is pretty much the same process for firefighters in the UK. However, I had never heard of candidates having to take a "taking lie detector tests".

      Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and interesting.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I am absolutely amazed that the minimum requirements are only a GED or high school diploma. I would have thought that becoming a police officer would have demanded a bit more education. They certainly are a special breed of people drawn to service and helping others. It is a dangerous job and deserving of more pay in my opinion. Up, useful and interesting votes.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Very insightful and useful hub here. One of my sisters is wanting to get into law enforcement, so I will show her this hub for sure!

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very informative though I was under the impression they were paid better. How many hours of work do they put in a week?

      Voted up.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 years ago from USA

      I just have the utmost respect for what police officers do and endure. I'm glad to see they are paid a decent salary. It's too bad city budgets can't afford to pay them more. They certainly deserve it.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)