Being a police officer requires a special skill set. Additionally, a career in active duty law enforcement commands plenty of respect. Overall, police officers provide a valuable service to the community, and this doesn’t have to end with retirement.
After retiring, many police officers choose to branch out to other careers where they can continue to add value to people’s lives. If you’re a police officer considering taking this route, I would like to thank you for your service so far. The good news is there are many excellent career options for retired police officers.
I will help you explore the numerous job opportunities at your disposal in this article. The list includes being a correctional officer, teacher, cybersecurity, private investigator, and more.
1. Private Investigator
Private investigators occupy an independent role. Their main job is to gather information related to a crime or case. Examples of tasks that you may perform include:
- Conducting background checks
- Looking for missing persons
- Interviewing witnesses
- Investigating suspects or cheating spouses
This career option is a great fit because police officers are trained to pay attention to detail. In addition, as a retired police officer, you already possess the investigative skills needed to become a PI. Salaries for PIs range between $32,130 and $98,070.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for private detectives and investigators is projected to grow by 13% between 2020 to 2030. To become a private investigator, you typically require state licensing and experience or pre-licensure training.
2. Police Recruiter
Police recruiters are involved in the hiring process for new police officers. They perform various tasks, such as attending social events to promote a career in law enforcement. In addition, police recruiters are the first line of contact with potential candidates.
They create job ads, interview applicants, identify the most qualified candidates, and explain the hiring process. This is a great role for retired police officers because it requires someone with intimate knowledge of the position and can successfully guide individuals interested in becoming police officers. The job outlook for police recruiters is generally positive since new recruits are always in demand.
Some on-on-the-job training might be required before fully stepping into the role in areas like background investigation and psychological evaluation. If you secure a good position, you can earn anywhere from $49,956 to $58,747 per year.
3. Security Guard/Bodyguard
If you’re still physically fit after retirement, you can become a bodyguard or security guard. As an armed security officer, your job will be to patrol buildings and respond to any security threats. Bodyguards offer their services to ensure the personal security of individuals, mostly celebrities, wealthy people, and political figures.
However, before you can work in private security, you must be licensed and pass a background check. Fortunately, the private security field is set to grow in the coming years. The salaries are not too bad either.
Security guards make between $26,200– $39,220 while bodyguards earn from $60,454 to $77,423.
Ex-officers can also occupy a teaching role, such as being a high school teacher or post-secondary teacher in law enforcement. This role means you’ll be in charge of a class of students. As a high school teacher, you can use your people and community skills to teach.
You can also choose to share your knowledge to help create the next generation of law enforcement officers. Often a master’s degree or teaching qualification is needed, and your experience can also lower the barrier to entry. Teaching is an age-old profession and can also be a broad industry with a generally positive outlook.
Salaries for teachers range from below $40,000 to $60,477. You’ll likely earn more if you’re teaching in the law enforcement industry.
A bailiff’s main duty is to maintain peace in the courtroom. This is a court official position, so other duties include swearing in individuals, monitoring court proceedings, and handling errands for the judge. Retired police officers often find this job easy since they already have experience in courtrooms.
To become a bailiff, you’ll need a high school diploma. You also need to pass a background check and complete on-the-job training. Although employment for bailiffs is expected to decline in the next decade, tens of thousands of job openings are projected each year.
Salaries range from as high as $72,000 and as low as $17,000.
6. Cyber Security Specialist
Cyber security specialists are solely responsible for protecting an organization’s computer systems from hackers and scammers. This is a great fit for ex-officers with a solid technical background who are passionate about detecting and preventing crime. A career in cybersecurity can be quite promising since cybercrime is on the rise and can result in devastating financial losses.
Therefore, jobs in this industry are expected to increase. That said, a cybersecurity specialist position requires a high level of certification and education. You may need a degree/master’s or experience in a security-related field.
You may also need security industry certifications and security clearances. Cyber security specialists can make anywhere from $63,235 to $112,984.
7. Bounty Hunter
As a bounty hunter or bail enforcement agent, you’ll need to be able to track people down. This is something that police officers do regularly, so the transition should be easy. Simply put, bounty hunters search for people who have been released on bail but fail to show up for their scheduled court appearance.
Bounty hunters need to pass a criminal background check and exam before they can start hunting fugitives. The employment outlook for bounty hunters remains stable in the next few years, with salaries averaging $50,000 to $80,000, depending on the number of cases.
8. Probation/Parole Officer
Probation officers are tasked with helping and supporting ex-prisoners. They monitor people who have been convicted of crimes and are now back in society. For instance, they may help parolees seek a job and housing assistance or attend counseling.
Retired police officers who enjoy helping, mentoring, and developing others might find this career a great fit. However, keep in mind that the job outlook in this industry is expected to be slower than average in the next few years. Salaries range from $40,000 or less up to nearly $50,000.
Requirements include a valid driver’s license, completion of training sessions, and certification courses.
9. Corporate Security Manager
Corporate security is a highly popular field amongst retired police officers. That’s because they have the skills to occupy a management role. One of the key characteristics of police officers is the ability to motivate and influence the behaviors of others.
As such, retired police officers can be great leaders. As a corporate security manager, you’ll be in charge of the security team and implementing security policies. You’ll help organizations manage risk by protecting their assets.
Experience is the biggest requirement for this job, although specialized education and training might be considered a bonus. The salary for this position ranges from $70,097 to $115,105, and the job outlook has remained positive in the last few years.
10. Fire Inspector
A fire inspector inspects properties to ensure they comply with fire codes and safety regulations. Ex-police officers might thrive in this position because they are used to investigating things and identifying potential harm. Fire inspectors can earn anywhere from $33,625 to $73,218.
Job opportunities for fire inspectors are expected to increase by 11% from 2020 to 2030. Minimum requirements for this position typically include a high school diploma and post-secondary training.
There are many reasons why ex-cops would be drawn to a career as a driver. It’s less stressful, and life on the open road is always full of interesting sights. Becoming a driver is a suitable option because most police officers know how to operate a vehicle safely and understand the road rules.
This job requires you to obtain a commercial driver’s license and have relevant experience. Overall employment for drivers is expected to increase, whether for passenger vehicle or truck drivers. The salary can be as high as $74,699 or as low as $40,000 and even lower.
12. Correctional Officer
Correctional officers work in jails and prisons. They monitor inmates and enforce rules and regulations. Police officers are already familiar with the criminal justice system, so they naturally fit into corrections.
If you’re passionate about working with inmates, this might be your best second career. Salaries range from $27,402 to $56,328. Job requirements often include a high school diploma and experience in law enforcement.
However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment in this field is set to decline.
13. Crime Scene Investigator
Most ex-police officers already have experience in crime scene investigation. Crime scene investigators need to be detail oriented with critical thinking skills. They take photographs and collect forensic evidence like fingerprints and body fluids.
If you have previous experience working crime scenes, this is almost all the experience you need. Additionally, you might need to complete a photography course and obtain certification. Salaries for this job range from $97,350 to $59,150, and the job outlook is positive.
14. Public Safety Officer
As a public safety officer, you’ll have an assigned area to patrol to maintain security. Your job is investigating suspicious behavior, enforcing rules and regulations, providing crowd/traffic control, and serving the public. In this position, you’ll be putting your communication and conflict resolution skills to good use.
Before becoming a public safety officer, you’ll need to join a training course first. Employment opportunities for public safety officers should remain abundant as long as crime is a concern and the population keeps increasing. Salaries range from $25,667 to $60,040.
15. Loss Prevention Specialist
Many individuals and organizations are interested in protecting their assets. This is where loss prevention specialists come in. They prevent financial losses that occur as a result of theft.
As a loss prevention specialist, you’ll use your law enforcement training and experience to prevent theft or apprehend perpetrators. Loss prevention specialists earn $27,083 – $52,462. To start a career in this field, you’ll need sufficient experience in law enforcement.
This position doesn’t require any particular education, although a degree in a business or retail-related field can be beneficial.
16. Drug and Alcohol Compliance and Enforcement Inspector
Your previous career as a police officer might have also equipped you with the knowledge of federal drug and alcohol testing regulations to become a drug and alcohol compliance and enforcement inspector. You will likely work for a federal agency and perform checks to ensure compliance. You’ll need graduate-level education or equivalent plus relevant experience to qualify for this job.
You also need to pass a background check. Salaries range between $41,994 – $63,151. However, you won’t find many of these job posts being advertised.
17. Firearms Instructor
Many people own guns in America. A firearms instructor is the person who teaches them how to use firearms safely and responsibly. Your responsibilities are to teach students and train personnel how to shoot, carry, and store various types of firearms.
This is something anyone with years of law enforcement experience knows how to do. Naturally, you’ll fit in to become a firearms instructor. You’ll need to complete a specific training program and have relevant experience.
You can earn $35,297–$95,100 per year, and the job outlook seems fair, with many positions being advertised.
18. Fraud Investigator
Fraud investigators help victims of fraudulent transactions. They gather and review evidence to get to the bottom of the matter and catch the suspect. This sounds a lot like what police officers do, so this would be a great second career for ex-cops.
Fraud investigators earn $32,833 – $51,210 per year, and the job outlook is promising. To become a fraud investigator, you typically need a degree in a relevant field, experience, licensure, and professional certification.
19. Emergency Dispatcher
An emergency dispatcher answers potentially urgent calls. If a person requires immediate help or there’s an emergency, the dispatcher contacts the relevant authorities. Police officers are trained to remain calm in dire situations.
They must think clearly and critically and then act decisively. These are all skills that come in handy as an emergency dispatcher. Emergency services dispatchers earn between $34,630 and about $67,150.
The good news is that dispatcher jobs are expected to increase in the coming years. Your experience and training in law enforcement can work in your favor. You can also boost your odds if you have a degree in a related field.
20. Background Investigator
As the title suggests, background investigators conduct background checks on individuals. They often gather information on behalf of organizations or authorities. Being an ex-cop gives you an advantage since you’re already used to performing in-depth research to solve cases.
The salaries of background investigators in the U.S. range from $33,258 to $66,795 per year. Job prospects for investigators are set to increase. To become a background investigator, your education must include criminal justice.
In addition, you must have experience performing investigative work.
Police officers have plenty of experience dealing with the law and the court system. So it makes sense that many police officers would choose law as their second career. Police officers tend to be excellent negotiators and great communicators.
These are all relevant and transferable skills for a career with a promising job outlook.
Steps to becoming a lawyer include:
- Completing a bachelor’s degree program.
- Passing the law school admission test.
- Passing the bar examination.
Afterward, you can expect to earn between $84,450 – $189,520.
22. Support and Outreach Worker
Are you a retired police officer that wants to give back to the community? By choosing to become a support and outreach worker, your extensive training and great interpersonal communication skills need not go to waste. You can help raise awareness for important causes and positively impact people from all walks of life.
Outreach specialists often need a degree in health administration or a related field. Experience is also a crucial factor. Salaries range from $31,774 to $64,070 per year, and the job outlook is expected to increase.
23. Personal Trainer
A career in law enforcement can be physically demanding. If you’re a retired cop still in shape, this can work to your advantage as a personal trainer. Personal trainers help their clients improve fitness through customized workout plans.
Similar jobs include being a fitness coach, weapons trainer, and martial arts, instructor. To become a personal trainer, you must complete a short certification program in most instances. Fitness trainers and instructors are always in demand, and the salary is good ($34,500 – $110,000).
24. Security Consultant
Plenty of retired police officers choose to start their own consultancies. This option might be best for you if you have a strong background in security. Your job as a security consultant would be to mitigate and prevent security risks for various organizations.
To attract the right clients and improve the quality of services, getting a degree in security management or a related field is recommended. Certifications also provide credibility. According to projections, security consultants will continue to be in demand with an average salary of $56,000 to $128,000.
25. Additional Alternative Careers
Truth be told, retired police officers are spoilt for choice when looking for a secondary career. The trick is to determine the skills, training, and knowledge you have gained in your law enforcement career. The list includes physical fitness, critical thinking, problem-solving, firearms training, and public safety and security.
From there, you can research careers where your skills are best applied. For instance, being a data analyst is a great job that requires a lot of attention to detail. Similarly, if your firearms training shines through, you can consider a job as a security specialist or firearms instructor.