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Projected Law Enforcement Earnings Guide

Projected Law Enforcement Earnings Guide


You’ve heard that your base salary is largely determined by your education level – but did you ever wonder exactly how much education matters? If you’ve got enough smarts, it shouldn’t matter whether or not you have formal training – right?

Wrong. At least, it might not be so simple. As job scarcity continues to drive more competition to each open position, Uncle Sam is hiring more employees with strong educational backgrounds. Because employees with formal training are increasingly preferred, the relationship between compensation and education is becoming even more prominent across different sectors of the economy.

Why Degrees Matter

• Depending on industry and specialty, pay increase per degree will range from 10% – 82%
• Return on investment of tuition within 3 to 5 years

Many law enforcement agencies now require at least some college credits before even considering an applicant for a position. Agencies that have more lax requirements will sometimes offer pay differentials to employees who have obtained a degree, with the differential being more the higher level of degree.

Promotions are also becoming more competitive, with educational background being taken into account for all leaderships positions within agencies. A prospective sergeant may now be expected to have at least an Associate’s degree while a candidate for chief of police may be expected to hold a Master’s degree or even a Doctorate degree.

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.