Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous. Police officers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Working around the clock in shifts is common.
Education requirements range from a high school diploma to a college degree. Most police and detectives must graduate from their agency's training academy before completing a period of on-the-job training. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, usually at least 21 years old, and able to meet rigorous physical and personal qualifications.
The median annual wage for police and detectives was $60,270 in May 2015.
Employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. The continued desire for public safety is expected to lead to new openings for officers, although demand may vary by location.
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for police and detectives.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of police and detectives with similar occupations.
Learn more about police and detectives by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.