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Career and Education Opportunities for Police Officers in Charleston, West Virginia

If you want to be a police officer, the Charleston, West Virginia area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 310 people are currently employed as police officers in West Virginia. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 22% to 380 people employed. This is better than the national trend for police officers, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.6% over the next eight years. In general, police officers conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

Police officers earn approximately $17 per hour or $36,630 per year on average in West Virginia. Nationally they average about $29 per hour or $60,910 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Police and Security, people working as police officers in West Virginia earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Police and Security nationally. People working as police officers can fill a number of jobs, such as: vice investigator, detective sergeant, and drug enforcement agent.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston 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.


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 Charleston include:

  • Chief of Police. Supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


West Virginia State Community and Technical College - Institute, WV

West Virginia State Community and Technical College, 103 Cole Complex, Institute, WV 25112-1000. West Virginia State Community and Technical College is a small college located in Institute, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,741 students. West Virginia State Community and Technical College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated sixteen students in 2008.


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: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.