There are jobs in law enforcement that don’t require a college degree. You can apply for a police officer job, for example, at most city or state departments without a degree. However, some cities pay their degreed officers more per month. This makes the degree an incentive, more than a requirement. Dallas Police Officers with a bachelor’s degree receive $300.00 a month extra.
Customs and Border Officer (Supervisor)
This position provides the opportunity to strengthen homeland security by performing law enforcement activities such as inspection, intelligence analysis, examination, and interpretation of laws and regulations. You will be directing all work activities regarding the full range of inspection, intelligence analysis, examination, and law enforcement activities relating to counter-terrorism and the arrival and departure of persons, conveyances, and merchandise at Ports of Entry.
This position starts at a salary of $116,690 (GS-14, Step 1) to $151,698 (GS-14, Step 10).
To become an FBI agent you need at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study, have an impeccable background, and pass their stringent exams, medical and interviews. If selected, the bureau bases an agent’s salary on the General Schedule (GS) system. The GS has 15 levels with each level consisting of 10 steps. In order to advance to the next GS level, an employee must first obtain all ten steps.
FBI Special Agents in training earn salaries consistent with GS-10 employees, who earn $43,441 per year in addition to a Quantico, VA COLA (cost of living allowance) adjustment of $7,602 for the year (training is only for about 21 weeks). Once assigned to a field office, Special Agents retain their GS-10 status but also have a local Cost of Living Adjustment, which is a bonus between 12.5 and 28.7 percent of base salary.
Agents in the field have a salary range of $71,674-$93,175.
Immigration and Customs Inspector
Immigration and customs inspectors investigate potential immigration and customs violations by investigating people, objects, vehicles, and products moving across borders and state lines. They have an extensive knowledge of state and federal laws pertaining to visas, passports, and travel applications. Inspectors are detail-oriented. They inspect cargo both entering and leaving the country according to immigration and customs laws.
Inspectors can receive a salary of around $56,000 to $84,000 based on education and experience. This averages about $73,000 per year. The highest paid work in the District of Columbia, where the average wage is $94,620.
Law enforcement consists of three categories of professionals: Uniformed Officers, Investigators and Support positions. Some the highest paid law enforcement professionals are those working behind the scenes processing evidence, convicting criminals, and solving cases. These analysts perform intelligence and surveillance operations. They analyze and use the collected data to apprehend criminals.
Glassdoor contains a growing database of millions of salary reports, benefits, and other pertinent employment statistics. They report the average base pay for an Intelligence Analyst at $78,358 based on 1,235 reported salaries for this job.
Customs and Border Protection Officer
A job posting by the employment site indeed, seeks a candidate to perform these tasks: inspection, intelligence analysis, examination, and law enforcement activities related to the arrival and departure of persons, conveyances, and merchandise at Ports of Entry (POE). The job also includes developing and conducting training at POE in procedures and processes related to tactical intelligence and tactical information related to terrorism, fraud, smuggling, and other criminal activities in violation of regulation or statue.
This position starts at a salary of $73,375 (GS-12, Step 1) to $95,388 (GS-12, Step 10).
Not all CBP Officer jobs start at this salary. It depends on what GS level the agency is seeking. For example, a field officer in Arizona has a posted level of GS-5. This grade ranges from $33,394 – $78,394 per year.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the occupational category of police officers and detectives has a median income of $62,960 per year. The BLS doesn’t segregate the salaries of detective versus patrol officers. The highest paying states are California ($103810), New York ($88,320), and Arizona ($79,380). Two of the remaining top five are Texas and Florida, both over $70,000 per year. As expected, the top wages are in metropolitan areas. Nassau/Suffolk counties in New York and Washington/Arlington Metro have the highest income at $124,930 and $121,620 respectively.
The BLS predicts the job growth in this category to be 7% through 2026 with an employment change of 53,400.
Some states require a specified minimum college hours to qualify. Texas, for example, requires a minimum of 60 college earned hours from a regional accredited college or university. Texas has an expanding pay scale for its troopers. It begins with a Trainee at $55,481 per year. By year 4, your salary is at $89,264. The category of Sergeants/Agents has at annual wage of $99,978 at 4 years of service.
New Jersey State Police have a minimum education requirement of a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must provide completion of the undergraduate curriculum and graduation from an accredited college or university. In lieu of the above degree, applicant must have an associate’s degree or 60 college credits from an accredited college or university PLUS at least 24 months of satisfactory employment or military experience.
NJ State Police has a current starting salary for a trooper is $62,403.60 (including uniform allowance).
Private Detectives and Investigators
Private detectives and investigators (PIs) search for information about legal, financial, and personal matters. Their investigative services include criminal defense investigations, child custody investigations, infidelity investigations, insurance liability fraud, employee theft investigations, comprehensive background checks, plus more. Some PIs work alone while others work for firms that offer armed/unarmed guards, security consulting, private investigation, and many additional services.
The BLS reports the median income of PIs at $50,700 (2017) with a total employment of 41,400 in the profession. The employment site Glassdoor reports the average salary at $52,618.