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Occupational Profile

Police Officer

Police officers help to protect citizens and their property, maintain public peace, prevent and detect crime, apprehend those who break the law, process court requirements, handle traffic problems, enforce federal, provincial and municipal legislation, and act as agents of social change in the community to promote safer neighbourhoods.

  • Avg. Salary $89,074.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.68
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Down
Also Known As

Crime Scene Investigator, Fraud Investigator, Investigator, Law Enforcement Officer

NOC & Interest Codes
The Police Officer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Police Officers (Except Commissioned)
NOC code: 6261
METHODICAL

Interest in analyzing information to investigate crimes and accidents

DIRECTIVE

Interest in driving when patrolling assigned areas to maintain public safety and order; and in enforcing laws and regulations and arresting criminal suspects; may supervise and co-ordinate the work of other police officers

SOCIAL

Interest in speaking to the public when participating in crime prevention, public information and safety programs

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

In their daily work, police officers perform many diverse duties ranging from enforcing the law and apprehending criminals, to promoting traffic safety and arbitrating domestic disputes. Police work does not always involve a physical act of protection or the apprehension of a law breaker. It also involves activities related to:

  • crime prevention
  • assisting victims of crime
  • working with community groups to identify and solve policing problems of mutual concern (community based policing)
  • writing reports 
  • court appearances.

Opportunities within various police agencies may include:

  • uniform patrol
  • undercover work
  • tactical work
  • canine officer (dog handlers)
  • mounted patrol
  • investigations
  • air services
  • traffic education, awareness and enforcement
  • forensic identification and crime scenes
  • hostage negotiation.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Police officers may work a regular five day, 40 hour week or a compressed work week with 10 or 12 hour shifts. Weekend, holiday and night shifts usually are required because police protection must be provided around the clock.

Officers work both indoors and outdoors in all kinds of weather and may be required to stand or walk for hours at a time, or ride in a vehicle for a complete shift. At times, they must use force and may be required to lift items that weigh over 20 kilograms in emergency situations.

Police officers often work in stressful, emotional situations and sometimes work in dangerous situations (for example, dealing with domestic and public disputes, arresting lawbreakers, pursuing speeding motorists).

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Personal characteristics such as honesty, integrity, respect, ethics, maturity, good judgment, patience, intelligence, good observation skills and basic good humour are essential in this occupation. Police officers also need to be:

  • physically fit and able to meet visual acuity standards
  • able to work with all kinds of people in a variety of situations
  • able to use their own initiative and work with a minimum of supervision
  • able to work as part of a team.

They should enjoy having clear rules and guidelines for analyzing information and investigations, taking charge of situations and dealing with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Specific qualifications required by police departments vary. They may require:

  • a high school diploma or related post-secondary diploma, or equivalent (some police departments have no stated minimum education requirement)
  • successful completion of written tests, physical fitness tests and medical tests
  • character references and psychological testing
  • Canadian citizenship or legal permanent resident status
  • a valid driver's licence and good driving record
  • no criminal convictions or criminal charges pending before the courts
  • evidence of writing, keyboarding and computer skills
  • valid first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificates.

Candidates must be physically fit, meet minimum vision and hearing requirements, and be in good health. The minimum application age varies from 18 to 21 years but the average age of new recruits generally is about 26 or 27 years of age. Related post-secondary education, the ability to speak a second language, and knowledge of Alberta's multicultural and volunteer communities are definite assets.

The Edmonton Police Service offers a Diversity Job Development Program for selected applicants who come close but do not initially meet recruitment standards. They are hired full time in a civilian capacity to assist and learn from police officers, and have up to one year to meet the required standards for recruit training.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Lethbridge College

Simon Fraser University - Burnaby

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

In Alberta, police officers are employed by:

  • the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • municipal police services
  • First Nation police services.

Following induction, recruits undergo a period of basic training that includes classroom lectures, physical fitness activities and in service street policing. Training is followed by assignment to a patrol or traffic division while partnered with a field training officer. Advanced and specialized training is provided later for experienced officers. Promotion to supervisory positions generally requires years of experience.

Police officers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4311: Police officers (except commissioned). In Alberta, 98% of people employed in this classification work in the Public Administration (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Public Administration industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 9,300 Albertans are employed in the Police officers (except commissioned) occupational group. This group is not expected to grow from 2016 to 2020.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Police officers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4311: Police officers (except commissioned). 

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Police officers (except commissioned) occupational group earned on average from $42.65 to $45.27 an hour. The overall average wage was $43.68 an hour. For more information, see the Police officers (except commissioned) wage profile

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Languages (other than English)
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Legal Studies
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social, Community and Protective Services

Updated Mar 29, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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