Want a Career in Law Enforcement? Consider These 3 In Demand Federal Jobs

3 min read
USD LEPSL career in law enforcement

If you want to pursue a career in law enforcement, you probably already know that there are a multitude of diverse job paths available, many in your own community. But did you realize that some of the best law enforcement jobs are offered through federal agencies?

With state and local law enforcement agencies, the demand varies from state to state and county to county. On the federal level, however, law enforcement jobs are particularly plentiful, with steady demand and strong growth potential. Here are four in-demand federal law enforcement jobs to consider.

1. U.S. Marshal


a career in federal law enforcement

Source: usmarshals.gov

U.S. Marshals are central players in the federal justice system and are responsible for enforcing the laws of the federal courts. As such, U.S. Marshals are charged with a number of duties including judicial security, prisoner transport, fugitive investigations, prisoner services, special missions, asset forfeiture and witness security. According to the U.S. Marshals Service,

“Among their many duties, they apprehend more than half of all federal fugitives, protect the federal judiciary, operate the Witness Security Program, transport federal prisoners, conduct body searches, enforce court orders and Attorney General orders involving civil disturbances and acts of terrorism, execute civil and criminal processes, and seize property acquired by criminals through illegal activities.”

In order to be successful, U.S. Marshals must be adaptable, in excellent physical condition, able to work on a team and with a diversity of populations, and possess the ability to write and communicate effectively.

As a central arm of the federal justice system, jobs with the U.S. Marshal Service are always in demand. While entry level jobs with the U.S. Marshal service are available to those without post-secondary education, in order to advance within the ranks to a higher position and pay grade, higher education is required.

2. FBI Agent


a career in federal law enforcement

FBI agents are charged with protecting and defending United States National Security. They investigate and combat a wide range of crimes including cyber crime, financial crimes, terror threats, gambling, public corruption and fraud. As highly trained special agents tasked with protecting U.S. federal law, FBI agents work all over the country. While the FBI’s primary focus is on domestic crime, they also work internationally and typically can command salaries as high as $121,000, according to PayScale. The higher ranking and most lucrative jobs within the FBI are reserved for those with the right combination of education and experience.

As the population grows and national security becomes an increasing concern due to terrorism and cyber crime, demand for FBI agents is expected to grow. But if you want a career in law enforcement with the FBI you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, and preferably an advanced degree. Additionally, the FBI careers website lists the following skills as important for prospective agents:

  • Leadership
  • Oral communication
  • Initiative and motivation
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Organizing, planning, and prioritizing
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Evaluating information and making decisions
  • Writing

3. DEA Agent

Illegal drugs aren’t going away and demand for DEA agents is constant. DEA agents work all over the world and are responsible for investigating major drug crimes, managing anti-drug task forces, and drug intelligence programs and collecting and preparing evidence. After four years of service, DEA agents are eligible to receive an annual salary of $92,592 or more. To become a DEA agent according to the DEA website, “a bachelor’s or master’s degree is highly desirable” and prospective agents must demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Written and oral communication
  • Decision-making/judgment
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Integrity/honesty
  • Flexibility
  • Problem-solving
  • Self-management
  • Teamwork
  • Planning and evaluating
  • Technology application
  • Law enforcement

These are just three of the federal careers in law enforcement that are growing. But there are much more, including judicial executive, police officer and probation officer.

Law enforcement professionals looking to move into a federal job usually find that having an advanced degree makes them more competitive and allows them to command a higher salary. The University of San Diego offers a Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership degree program that is delivered 100% online. This multi-faceted, skills-based, law enforcement degree examines leadership, management, organizational theory, critical issues, community assessment, budget and finance, public safety law, and conflict resolution in addition to criminal justice topics. To learn more about our nationally accredited program visit our program page.

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