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California Law Enforcement

The state of California is popularly known as “The Golden State”. According to the Palo Alto-based Center For Continuing Study of the California Economy, California would have the world's eighth largest economy if it were a separate country. There are a number of industries in the state that have grown over the past few years. These include financial services, trade, education, transportation, health services and manufacturing. The state offers a number of educational opportunities as well in almost all areas of study. Students who wish to become a part of the law enforcement sector in California can also find a number of training programs. California law enforcement schools offer a range of learning programs, preparing students to meet the challenges in the fields of corrections, criminal justice and forensics. Pursuing an education in law enforcement in California can be a suitable choice for students keeping in view that the demand for law enforcement professionals such as police officers and forensic scientists is likely to grow in the coming years.

Law Enforcement Schools in California

There are a number of law enforcement schools in the state that offer training programs in the field and provide students with the knowledge and skills essential to find work opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many law enforcement agencies and some police departments require police officers and detectives to hold a college degree. Police and correctional officers go through formal training.

Students can choose from a range of degree programs in numerous law enforcement areas such as forensic science, criminal justice and corrections. An associate degree in these programs generally takes 2 years to complete while a bachelor’s degree can be earned in 4 years. A master’s degree program, on the other hand, may take 1-2 years to complete.

In addition to completing classroom-based instruction, law enforcement degree programs may also require students to complete an internship. Completing degree programs in the field will allow students to develop an understanding of the police strategies, types of crime and methods of research.

Some law enforcement schools in California may also offer these programs online, allowing students to study from home. These programs can be suitable for those who want to switch careers without making major changes to their present job routine.  But these programs demand self-disciplined students.

Admissions Requirements

To enroll in the programs offered at the law enforcement schools in California, students must:

  • Possess a high school diploma, a 2-year degree, or 4-year degree
  • Provide GED scores
  • Submit SAT or ACT scores
  • Have relevant work experience

What Courses will you Study?

Law enforcement programs feature a number of courses that provide students with knowledge on the U.S. criminal justice system. Some of the topics of study may include:

  • Police administration
  • Correctional environments
  • Domestic violence
  • Cybercrime
  • Criminology
  • Social policies
  • Criminal law
  • Public administration

Students pursuing degrees in forensic science may complete their degrees with courses in  fingerprinting, and biometrics, etc.

Career Prospects

Law enforcement professionals generally work in law enforcement, security, corrections, probation or related fields. Some are also employed by government agencies, correctional and judicial systems, and private security companies.

The following professionals may hold degrees in law enforcement:

  • Probation officers
  • Corrections officers
  • Criminal investigators
  • Police officers
  • Forensic officers

Demand for law enforcement professionals such as police officers and forensic science technicians is expected to grow in California between 2012 and 2022, according to the information with O*NET OnLine.

According to the BLS, uniformed officers, detectives, and agents, generally work full-time. Their work can be very demanding and stressful. Police and sheriff’s patrol officers have one of the highest rates of illnesses and injuries of all other occupations, the BLS further noted. Other law enforcement professionals such as correctional officers may have to stand for long periods of time, which can be physically tiring.


The median annual income of police officers in California in 2013 was $87,400 while correctional officers earned $72,600 (O*NET OnLine). Factors such as qualification and experience may determine the exact income of these professionals.

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 16600.111.2618.1337720
Florida 11300.141.6817.9737370
Illinois 9600.161.9217.937240
Texas 7600.070.7816.6234570
New York 6500.070.8520.1241840


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