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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 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 60,968
Associate’s Degree 35,977
Basic Certificate 34,512
Master’s Degree 10,572
Undergraduate Certificate 7,724
Graduate Certificate 914
Doctor’s Degree 152

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

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

  • 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

homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

  • 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?

Below is a list of occupations associated with homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting:

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?

60,968 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
48% Percent Women
45% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
Roughly 48% of the graduates are women, and 52% 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 1,484
Black or African American 10,783
Hispanic or Latino 13,037
White 29,935
International Students 728
Other Races/Ethnicities 5,001

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting, too. About 1.2% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Law Enforcement & Firefighting Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

According to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting have a median salary of $32,600 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $29,650 (25th percentile) and $35,700 (75th percentile).


It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their 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 you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

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 careers associated with homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. 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.

Find out what the typical degree level is for homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting careers below.

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 2017-2018, 2,198 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) 1,392 264
Certificate (1-2 years) 868 127
Certificate (2-4 Years) 9 0
Associate’s Degree 2,270 538
Bachelor’s Degree 179 92
Post-Baccalaureate 1,392 264
Master’s Degree 560 293
Post-Master’s 20 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 43 10
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
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 97,063
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies 72,116
Legal Professions 61,800
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 3,229


More about our data sources and methodologies.

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