Free Man Wearing a Black Vest over a Uniform Stock Photo

You don’t need to be a cop to join a law enforcement career. There are actually many out there that are similar to being a police officer, and some are even better in terms of pay and security. While the educational requirements vary depending on location and job title, an accelerated associates degree in criminal justice is a great starting point. Some of these are best if you would not pass police requirements for reasons like disability.

Online Security Services

A booming industry these days is the online security sector. This is because issues like data theft, hacking, and even sexually predatory behavior are rampant online. And it is a rewarding position to catch online criminals who think they are smarter than others or believe themselves to be anonymous. Also, you don’t need any prior training to begin a career in cyber security. But of course, there are some training courses you must complete for certification and qualification.

Law Enforcement Careers Include Fire Safety

The police force has some pretty strict rules about who they hire. And you might not meet all of them. However, you can still become a criminal investigator with the fire department. As a fire marshal, you will be required to attend scenes of arson and determine what the cause of the fire was. As such, you will get to work closely with the police, other investigators, and forensics staff. You can also be positioned in fire prevention roles, such as inspecting public venues for safety.

Retail or Private Security

Becoming a retail security officer is no joke, despite the movies. It can be a dangerous job, and assaults on security officers are common. Additionally, recent research has found that security guards have a lower life expectancy than cops by a whopping 20 years. Also, the pay isn’t that great either. However, this is the closest you can get to a police role without the rigorous training and entry requirements. Therefore, you need a passion for law enforcement as a security guard.

Private Investigation Services

You need a license to be a private investigator in most places. But beyond that, there isn’t much to it. Of course, there are certain investigative skills the job requires. But for the most part, the role of a PI is mainly gathering data and information. A far cry from the gumshoe detectives dodging deadly bullets and deadlier women in the movies. However, you can make good money if you specialize in a type, such as insurance fraud, retail theft, or medical malpractice claims.

Of course, protection would be much needed for a career as a private investigator. That is why many PIs work in tandem with a security company to ensure their safety while on the job. Further, more and more of them wear level IIIA soft armor when on the job for an extra layer of security. This helps to protect them from any physical threats they may encounter while investigating a case. Therefore, for those with a keen interest in law enforcement and investigative work, becoming a private investigator can be an exciting and rewarding career choice.

Jobs within the Police Force

Of course, there are many jobs within the police that don’t require you to be a sworn officer. Police services are huge and cover many different services, with each role playing a key part in making up the entire core service. Some of the satellite roles you can consider are listed here:

  • Community support officers (CSOs) are vital for assisting with community policing. 
  • You can work on the dispatch service, helping guide officers on the ground at the scene.
  • You can switch careers from office IT and networking into a more exciting police role.
  • Administration services are necessary for the proper functioning of any police force.
  • You can train to become an evidence technician to work at scenes of crimes.
  • Some forces use civilian investigators to assist with crime scene processing.
  • You can join computer forensics teams if you are skilled in IT and data intelligence.

These are just a handful of outlying roles within the police that don’t require you to be a sworn officer. There are also other logistical and legal roles for supporting the police, such as working in HR, within legal and law, and helping to prepare files and data for any prosecution cases.

Working for Alphabet Agencies

As you know, the police aren’t the only service that deals with law enforcement. There are, of course, alphabet agencies in each country, such as the FBI in America, MI5 in the UK, and ASIS in Australia. Yet, like the police, there are many careers associated with any of these, not just becoming an officer of the agency. However, given the sensitive nature of many of these agencies, you will often need some special training and a squeaky clean criminal record.

Probation and Parole Personnel

One of the hardest jobs within law enforcement is working directly with criminals. The police typically catch and process criminals. But the job is far from over following this. There are court personnel, detention employees, and of course, probation and parole officers. These are rewarding jobs, but they are challenging, given the types of people you are likely to work with. So you need a strong personality and a thick skin before taking your career in this direction.

Public Safety Law Enforcement Careers

When it comes down to it, the whole point of law enforcement is to protect the public. And the police, while a major part of it, aren’t the entire picture. There are many other roles that work for the good of the public. And you can consider a public safety role such as call handling and response for police, fire, and EMTs. Or you can even try your hand at public and commercial safety on the street, such as alcohol control, restaurant inspection, and waste management.

Retail and Industry Loss Prevention

Theft is one of the biggest losses for retail and industry. Because of this, most companies hire in-store or on-site agents to help deter criminals or catch them in the act. These are kind of like undercover security guards. You can help catch shoplifters. Or you can help companies reduce “shrinkage,” which is the term used to describe employee thefts. This is actually harder than you might think because you must blend in. But training is usually provided by a security agency.


There are many law enforcement careers you can go into without having to be sworn in as a police officer. If you have specific IT skills or are willing to learn, you can consider online security. You can even get a support role inside the police. Or maybe try a job in retail security.

Published by HOLR Magazine.

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