Located in the south central part of the country, Texas is the second most populous US state that is home to over 26.4 million residents (2013). Houston is the largest city in Texas, while its other prominent cities include El Paso and Austin. The state has a long history as a center of industry, and today has a diversified economy and growing high tech industry. Texas has a number of institutes for higher education that offer a variety of academic opportunities ranging from healthcare to information technology. There are a number of law enforcement schools in Texas as well that prepare students to enter corrections, criminal justice, law enforcement, and related fields.
Texas Law Enforcement Colleges
Students may enroll in associate, bachelor, and master’s degree programs; all are usually offered at law enforcement schools in Texas. Students will acquire skills and knowledge in these programs to become a part of the law enforcement sector in the state. Working as a police officer, corrections officer, or forensic officer may be quite exciting and challenging at the same time. It calls for skills to face hazardous situations, criminals, and life-threatening situations. Law enforcement programs equip students with the knowledge and capability that may help them qualify for opportunities in the field.
Law enforcement degree programs are available in a number of areas such as forensic science, criminal justice, corrections, and more. Students who seek foundational knowledge in the field could pursue an associate’s degree, and this usually takes two years of full time study to complete. Students who want to pursue advanced career opportunities may enroll in more advanced degree programs such as bachelor and master’s degree programs. Bachelor’s degree programs usually take four years to complete, and master’s degrees generally take 1-2 years to earn. The exact duration of a program depends on factors such as the enrollment status of students.
In addition to the traditional on-campus programs, online law enforcement Texas programs are available for students who cannot take regular classes due to busy personal or professional responsibilities. Distance learning programs may be suitable for working professionals seeking advanced or additional credentials for career improvement.
Admissions into law enforcement programs in Texas require students to at least hold a high school diploma, submit official transcripts, and General Educational Development (GED) scores, if they do not have a high school diploma. Some schools may require prospective students to take the SAT or ACT test as well, while others may require students to have related work experience. Other admissions factors may vary by school and type of program.
Law enforcement programs provide instruction in a variety of areas, and this exposes students to classes in types of crimes and criminals, criminal justice, and methods of research in the field. In addition to completing classroom based instruction, students may have to go through internship opportunities and complete a thesis. Some of the topics of study may include:
Classes are also available in correctional environments, domestic violence, and cybercrime. Some programs may also include topics such as fingerprinting, sociology, biometrics, and florescent applications.
What are the Opportunities for Graduates?
Law enforcement is a wide field with work opportunities in security, law enforcement, security, corrections, probation, and related areas. Law enforcement workers may work in government agencies, correctional and judicial systems, and private security companies; and may serve as probation officers, corrections officers, and police officers. Criminal investigator and forensic officers are some other titles that law enforcement professionals may hold. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most police officers work for local governments, and some work for state governments or the federal government. Corrections officers generally work for federal, state, and local governments. Some are also employed by private companies that offer correctional services to prisons and jails.
There were 57,110 police patrol officers and 48,360 corrections officers and jailers in Texas in 2012, according to O*Net OnLine. The state is expected to need another 2,760 police patrol officers and about 2,030 corrections officers and jailers each year between 2012 and 2022.
How Much do Texas Law Enforcement Professionals Earn?
Factors such as experience, location, and qualification play a vital role in determining the income of law enforcement workers in Texas. Generally, the median annual pay for police officers in the state (2013) was $52,400. Corrections officers and jailers, on the other hand, made a median of $34,400 a year (2013).