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Career and Education Opportunities for Police Officers in Houston, Texas

There are many career and education opportunities for police officers in the Houston, Texas area. About 13,100 people are currently employed as police officers in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow 30% to about 16,990 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for police officers are expected to grow by about 16.6%. Police officers generally conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

Police officers earn approximately $25 hourly or $53,790 yearly on average in Texas. Nationally they average about $29 hourly or $60,910 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Police and Security, people working as police officers in Texas earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Police and Security nationally. Jobs in this field include: narcotics detective, detective supervisor, and narcotics investigator.

The Houston area is home to eighty-one schools of higher education, including six within twenty-five miles of Houston where you can get a degree as a police officer. Police officers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Houston 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

Galveston College - Galveston, TX

Galveston College, 4015 Ave Q, Galveston, TX 77550-7496. Galveston College is a small college located in Galveston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,232 students. Galveston College has a one to two year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

Alvin Community College - Alvin, TX

Alvin Community College, 3110 Mustang Rd, Alvin, TX 77511-4898. Alvin Community College is a small college located in Alvin, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,386 students. Alvin Community College has 2 areas of study related to Police Officer. They are:

  • Criminal Justice/Police Science, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated zero and four students respectively in 2008.
  • Criminalistics and Criminal Science, less than one year which graduated 2 students in 2008.

College of the Mainland - Texas City, TX

College of the Mainland, 1200 Amburn Road, Texas City, TX 77591-2499. College of the Mainland is a small college located in Texas City, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,585 students. College of the Mainland has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated zero and six students respectively in 2008.

San Jacinto Community College - Pasadena, TX

San Jacinto Community College, 8060 Spencer Hwy, Pasadena, TX 77501-2007. San Jacinto Community College is a large college located in Pasadena, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,677 students. San Jacinto Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated three and thirty-nine students respectively in 2008.

Lone Star College System - The Woodlands, TX

Lone Star College System, 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77381-4399. Lone Star College System is a large college located in The Woodlands, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,331 students. Lone Star College System has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

Houston Community College System - Houston, TX

Houston Community College System, 3100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77266-7517. Houston Community College System is a large college located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 48,087 students. Houston Community College System has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-eight and five students respectively 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: Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas photo by Hequals2henry

Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.