Security & Protective Services

Firefighters, police officers and the military all are classified under the umbrella of security and protective services.

According to U.S. Census data from 2013, over 1.1 million people are employed in the law enforcement sector, which reflects a slight increase in the number of men and women serving in this capacity since 2008. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, there are currently 1.5 million men and women serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Those who seek out careers in the security and protective services sector usually do so because they have a strong desire to protect and serve others – even at great personal risk to themselves.

Education Requirements

The requirements for working in the industry are dependent on the sector in which they plan to seek employment.

For some jobs in security and protective services, a high school diploma or equivalent are the only education requirements. On-the-job training is then provided. The U.S. Armed Forces are an example where this level of education is all that is necessary. Recruits then attend basic training, followed by more advanced training at the base where they will be stationed. Additional training may be provided depending on the area of the Armed Forces in which a person serves.

For other positions, candidates are expected to have earned advanced degrees. There are several options available. They include:
  • Associate degree – These two-year programs will focus on the history of the criminal justice system. Coursework will include investigative techniques, criminology, domestic and international terrorism and criminal law.
  • Bachelor degree – Also known as an undergraduate degree, it will take four years to complete. Coursework will include corrections, crime scene investigation, forensics, psychology, juvenile crime and corrections, homeland security and law enforcement.
  • Graduate degree – While available, this level of degree often is required only by those who plan to work in management positions or with the state or federal government. Graduate degrees concentrate on the areas of criminal behavior across cultures and factors that directly attribute to social deviance.
Future Outlook

According to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in security and protective services are expected to be plentiful at the local level, with more competition and fewer openings at the state and federal levels.

Average annual salaries for those in the field will depend on the sector in which they work. Candidates working as managers or supervisors can expect to earn the highest annual salaries at between $63,840 and $76,820.

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