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Career and Education Opportunities for Police Officers in Columbia, Maryland

There are many career and education opportunities for police officers in the Columbia, Maryland area. There are currently 1,240 jobs for police officers in Maryland and this is projected to grow 20% to 1,480 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for police officers are expected to grow by about 16.6%. In general, police officers conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

A person working as a police officer can expect to earn about $36 per hour or $75,370 yearly on average in Maryland and about $29 hourly or $60,910 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Police officers earn more than people working in the category of Police and Security generally in Maryland and more than people in the Police and Security category nationally. Jobs in this field include: drug enforcement agent, narcotics investigator, and vice investigator.

There are 109 schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including eleven within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a police officer. Police officers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a police officer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Police Officer

In general, police officers conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

Police officers furnish testimony as a witness in court. They also examine records and governmental agency files to discover identifying data about suspects. Equally important, police officers have to participate or help in raids and arrests. They are often called upon to record progress of investigation, maintain informational files on suspects, and submit reports to commanding officer or magistrate to authorize warrants. They are expected to obtain evidence from suspects. Finally, police officers furnish data to lab staff concerning the source of an item of evidence and tests to be performed.

Every day, police officers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they think through problems and come up with general rules.

It is important for police officers to obtain summary of incident from officer in charge at crime scene, taking care to avoid disturbing evidence. They are often called upon to examine crime scenes to obtain clues and evidence, such as loose hairs or weapons. They also organize scene search, assigning specific tasks and areas of search to individual officers and obtaining adequate lighting as needed. They are sometimes expected to secure persons at scene, keeping witnesses from conversing or leaving the scene before investigators arrive. Somewhat less frequently, police officers are also expected to secure deceased body and obtain evidence from it, preventing bystanders from tampering with it before medical examiner's arrival.

Police officers sometimes are asked to summon medical help for injured individuals and alert medical staff to take statements from them. They also have to be able to check victims for signs of life And finally, they sometimes have to analyze completed police reports to establish what additional data and investigative work is needed.

Like many other jobs, police officers must have exceptional integrity and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Chief of Police. Supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
  • Correctional Officer. Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institution in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.
  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Police Records Officer. Collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.
  • Transportation Security Officer. Inspect baggage or cargo and screen passengers to detect and prevent potentially dangerous objects from being transported into secure areas or onto aircraft.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Police Officer Training

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated 120 and forty-two students respectively in 2008.

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-two students in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated nine students in 2008.

Baltimore City Community College - Baltimore, MD

Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Hts Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215-7893. Baltimore City Community College is a medium sized college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,884 students. Baltimore City Community College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-three students in 2008.

Prince George's Community College - Largo, MD

Prince George's Community College, 301 Largo Rd, Largo, MD 20774-2199. Prince George's Community College is a large college located in Largo, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,005 students. Prince George's Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated one and ten students respectively in 2008.

Anne Arundel Community College - Arnold, MD

Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Pky, Arnold, MD 21012-1895. Anne Arundel Community College is a large college located in Arnold, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,149 students. Anne Arundel Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated eleven and thirty students respectively in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has a less than one year and a bachelor's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated thirty-five and three students respectively in 2008.

Carroll Community College - Westminster, MD

Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Rd, Westminster, MD 21157. Carroll Community College is a small college located in Westminster, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,453 students. Carroll Community College has a one to two year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science.

University of Baltimore - Baltimore, MD

University of Baltimore, Charles at Mount Royal, Baltimore, MD 21201-208. University of Baltimore is a medium sized university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,844 students and an admission rate of 50%. University of Baltimore has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated sixty-four and nineteen students respectively in 2008.

TESST College of Technology-Beltsville - Beltsville, MD

TESST College of Technology-Beltsville, 4600 Powder Mill Rd, Beltsville, MD 20705. TESST College of Technology-Beltsville is a small college located in Beltsville, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 641 students. TESST College of Technology-Beltsville has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-eight students in 2008.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has a bachelor's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated 160 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Medical Investigator: The spectrum of professions involved in forensic investigation has broadened dramatically over the past 20 years.

For more information, see the American College of Forensic Examiners website.

Certified Corrections Manager - Security Threat Groups: Individuals who head a Security Threat Group (STG) program in an adult or juvenile corrections facility, contribute to the development of agency policies/procedures pertaining to STGs, and are involved in the implementation of these policies/procedures.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Fraud Examiner: The ACFE established and administers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.

For more information, see the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners website.

Computer Forensics: The primary goals we have for our certification programs are to both assist law enforcement and organizations requiring highly skilled investigators in the identification of highly skilled individuals, and to promote the training and education efforts within the computer investigation, computer forensic and computer security industries.

For more information, see the Cyber Enforcement Resources Incorporated website.

Certified Cyber-Crime Expert: High-profile cases of corporate malfeasance and increased attention paid to cybercrime and cyberterrorism have elevated electronic evidence discovery to an indispensable component of any organization's security plan.

For more information, see the E-Business Process Solutions website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.