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Law Enforcement & Firefighting Major

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Law Enforcement & Firefighting

$72,390 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Law Enforcement & Firefighting Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 60,085
Associate’s Degree 35,648
Basic Certificate 28,930
Master’s Degree 10,588
Undergraduate Certificate 8,022
Graduate Certificate 1,224
Doctor’s Degree 262

What Law Enforcement & Firefighting Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting Majors

Homeland Security, Law Enforcement and Firefighting majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting Majors

When studying homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Abilities for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting Majors

A major in homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Law Enforcement & Firefighting Major?

People with a homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Accountants 10.0% $70,500
Auditors 10.0% $70,500
Brownfield Redevelopment Specialists and Site Managers 8.0% $107,480
Business Intelligence Analysts 9.3% $90,270
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 14.2% $46,270
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Criminal Investigators and Special Agents 4.5% $81,920
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Professors 12.1% $61,900
Document Management Specialists 9.3% $90,270
Emergency Management Directors 7.9% $74,420
Financial Examiners 9.7% $80,180
Fire Inspectors 7.3% $62,510
Fire Investigators 7.3% $62,510
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 6.6% $89,030
First-Line Supervisors of Protective Service Workers 4.7% $49,640
Forensic Science Technicians 16.9% $58,230
Forest Fire Fighting and Prevention Supervisors 7.1% $76,330
Forest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialists 29.4% $39,600
Forest Firefighters 7.2% $49,620
Immigration and Customs Inspectors 4.5% $81,920
Information Security Analysts 28.5% $98,350
Information Technology Project Managers 9.3% $90,270
Intelligence Analysts 4.5% $81,920
Investment Fund Managers 8.0% $107,480
Loss Prevention Managers 8.0% $107,480
Municipal Fire Fighting and Prevention Supervisors 7.1% $76,330
Municipal Firefighters 7.2% $49,620
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 7.0% $61,380
Police Detectives 4.5% $81,920
Police Identification and Records Officers 4.5% $81,920
Police Patrol Officers 7.0% $61,380
Private Detectives and Investigators 10.6% $50,090
Professors 9.4% $65,660
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Security Managers 8.0% $107,480
Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs 7.0% $61,380
Transit and Railroad Police 8.2% $74,030
Wind Energy Operations Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Law Enforcement & Firefighting?

60,085 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
50% Percent Women
47% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 50% of the graduates are women, and 50% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1,531
Black or African American 10,492
Hispanic or Latino 13,903
White 28,228
International Students 823
Other Races/Ethnicities 5,108

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting. About 1.4% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Law Enforcement & Firefighting Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting made a median starting salary of $32,600 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $29,650 (25th percentile) and $35,700 (75th percentile).


Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Homeland Security, Law Enforcement and Firefighting majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $53,240 to $85,020 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Law Enforcement & Firefighting Major  ( 53240 to 85020 )
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )

Some degrees associated with homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting have obtained the following education levels.

Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 1.0%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 23.1%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 10.1%
Some College Courses 12.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 12.4%
Bachelor’s Degree 29.6%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.1%
Master’s Degree 7.7%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.4%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.4%
Doctoral Degree 0.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.1%

Online Law Enforcement & Firefighting Programs

In 2018-2019, 2,120 schools offered a homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 1,412 228
Certificate (1-2 years) 848 118
Certificate (2-4 Years) 11 0
Associate’s Degree 2,162 482
Bachelor’s Degree 202 97
Post-Baccalaureate 1,412 228
Master’s Degree 546 276
Post-Master’s 23 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 43 11
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 1
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Law Enforcement & Firefighting Worth It?

The median salary for a homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting grad is $72,390 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 81% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $649,800 after 20 years!


You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting.

Major Number of Grads
Public Administration & Social Service 98,535
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies 71,951
Legal Professions 61,011
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 3,568


*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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