Making a career change can be very stressful, especially a law enforcement career change. If you are a police officer who is thinking about making a career change from law enforcement to something else, we’ll talk about some career options and give some tips on how to make the transition.
What Do You Want Out Of A Law Enforcement Career Change?
Police officers spend their entire careers without ever knowing what the next call will bring. This can be exciting for some, but others may feel like they are constantly on edge and never really know what to expect.
If you are considering a career change out of law enforcement, it is important to take the time to think about what you want from your new career path. Do you want a more stable job? One with set hours? A career that allows you to help others? Once you have a good understanding of what you are looking for in a new career, you can start to narrow down your options.
Research The Career Field You Are Interested In and Make Career Goals
Former law enforcement officers tend to research criminal justice careers or career goals that involve working with the government in some capacity. Look at job postings and make a list of required qualifications for the private sector you are interested in.
Popular Jobs For Former Law Enforcement Officers
We made a list of the most popular jobs for both retired police officers and former police officers that want to leave their law enforcement career:
Private investigator – many police officers who want to get out of law enforcement choose to work as a private investigator, or PI, because it is similar to police work and allows them to continue working as victim advocates without the bureaucracy and politics of working for government agencies. They most often work with private parties to find missing persons or investigate crimes.
Fire Inspector – fire inspectors are responsible for preventing fires and protecting life and property by enforcing local fire codes.
Loss prevention specialist – people who work in loss prevention monitor security cameras and develop security measures and security protocols for companies, and use their problem solving skills to investigate thefts and detain suspects who are caught stealing or other illegal activities.
Border patrol agent – instead of working for a police department, border patrol agents work for the federal government and are responsible for patrolling the borders to prevent people from entering the country illegally. They may work with other police officers and federal agents to investigate and apprehend people who are involved in smuggling operations too.
Intelligence Analyst – Many former police officers with problem solving skills and an interest in research find work as intelligence analysts. They may work for the government or private companies, and use their skills to gather and analyze information about criminals and terrorist organizations.
Security guard – security guards are one of the most popular professionals for former police officers because it is a career that offers many of the same benefits as law enforcement without the same level of stress.
Correctional Officer – correctional officers work for the department of criminal justice and are responsible for supervising and managing inmates in prisons and jails.
Probation Officer – probation officers work with offenders who have been sentenced to probation instead of jail time, and help them reintegrate into society by monitoring their progress and providing support.
Crime Scene Investigator – a crime scene investigator handles the scientific evidence gathered at crime scenes, and is often responsible for testifying in court about their findings.
Personal Trainer – former law enforcement officers have the skills and physical fitness knowledge to become personal trainers, as well as self-defense techniques that they can teach their clients through additional training sessions.
Background Investigator or Fraud Investigator – many police officers have experience conducting investigations and the critical thinking skills necessary to provide such services, which makes them well-suited for these career choices. As a fraud investigator, you could work to fight insurance fraud or even help prevent identity theft.
Forensic Accountant – former police officers and law enforcement officials have the investigative and analytical skills needed to detect fraud and other financial crimes, and combing financial records is far less stressful than watching over a crime scene. Forensic accountants typically work for accounting firms, law enforcement agencies, or government organizations.
Other Jobs For Former Police Officers
Many police officers decide they want to get into teaching because they can help shape the lives of young people and make a difference in their communities. Some become law enforcement trainers after they retire from the force. Others go into private security or open their own businesses related to law enforcement, such as firearms training or security consulting. Some even go on to law school and become lawyers or judges.
No matter what police officer career change ideas appeal to you after leaving law enforcement, you’ll be able to utilize the skills you learned on the job in a new and exciting way.
What career will you choose? Let us know in the comments below!
Network With People In Your Desired Field
Most law enforcement professionals or former officers that work in local law enforcement know people in the federal law enforcement field. You should already have a network of contacts that you can rely on for information and advice about your career change.
Leaving a law enforcement career doesn’t mean the former police officers are giving up on their careers. In many cases, it is a lateral move to another career that pays better or offers more opportunities for advancement. Many times, people in law enforcement leave the field to go into teaching. It is a career change that makes sense because both careers are focused on helping others and working with the public.
Federal agencies typically look out for each other so consider your experience as a law enforcement professional an advantage. If you’re interested in working for the federal government in a career outside of law enforcement, research the application process and job requirements.
Most career changes are not as drastic as going from being a police officer to becoming a teacher. Sometimes people who work in a law enforcement career decide to go to law school and become lawyers. It is a career change that requires additional schooling but it can be well worth it in the end.
There are many reasons why someone might want to make a career change from law enforcement. Whatever your reason is, there is no shame in changing careers. Just be sure to do your research and make sure it is the right decision for you by reaching out to people you trust.
Law Enforcement Job Posts In Your Area:
Polish Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
Many law enforcement officers that change careers from criminal justice to the private sector, struggle with formatting and updating their resumes. They have years of experience in law enforcement, but it is not always easily translated to a non-law enforcement career. The first step is to take an inventory of your skills and experiences and then match them to the job you are seeking.
LinkedIn is also a great tool for career changers. It allows you to connect with others in your field, learn about new opportunities, and research companies.
Reach out to your personal and professional network when making a career change from law enforcement. They can provide invaluable information, resources, and support throughout your transition. Attend networking events, join LinkedIn groups, or start your networking group for career changers.
Many career changers find that they need additional education to make leaving law enforcement easier and LinkedIn has many different courses available. Once you know what law enforcement experience you can apply to your new career, it’ll be easier to make the transition.
Look For Mentors
When making a career change, it’s helpful to have someone in your new field to guide and support you. Find a mentor who can help you navigate your new career, offer advice, and introduce you to other professionals in your field.
Change Your Mindset
Making a career change can be daunting but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many people have made successful career changes and there are plenty of resources available to help you make the transition. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help and don’t be afraid to take risks. With the right mindset, anything is possible.
Know Your Transferable Skills
A law enforcement career on the police force teaches you a few things that can be used in other occupations if you choose to switch careers. Some of these skills are as followed:
– Critical Thinking Skills
– Communication Skills
– Leadership Skills
– Problem Solving Skills
All of these may seem common but when you leave law enforcement, it can be hard to remember what qualities you bring to the table outside your law enforcement career. If you’re having trouble thinking of your own skills, ask a friend or family member to help you brainstorm. It can be difficult to see ourselves objectively, but other people may be able to see our strengths more clearly.
Thank You For Reading!
Making a change from a law enforcement career can be challenging but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the career outlook for lawyers is bright. So, if you’re a former law enforcement officer feeling called to make a change, know that it is possible and there are many resources available to help you succeed. If you enjoyed reading this article about law enforcement, be sure to check out our law enforcement careers category.