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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, and handle traffic problems. They enforce federal, provincial, and municipal legislation and act as agents of social change in the community to promote safer neighbourhoods.

  • Avg. Salary $106,896.00
  • Avg. Wage $51.58
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 10,000
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Constable, Crime Scene Investigator, Criminal Investigator, Detective, Fraud Investigator, Law Enforcement Officer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Police Officers (Except Commissioned) (6261) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Police Officers (Except Commissioned) (G611) 
  • 2011 NOC: Police officers (except commissioned) (4311) 
  • 2016 NOC: Police officers (except commissioned) (4311) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

35%
35%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Police Officer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Police Officers (Except Commissioned)
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 Mar 31, 2019

In their daily work, police officers perform diverse duties ranging from patrolling communities, enforcing the law and apprehending criminals to promoting traffic safety and responding to 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:

  • Responding to dispatched calls for service
  • Crime prevention
  • Assisting victims of crime
  • Working with community groups to identify and solve policing problems of mutual concern (community-based policing)
  • Writing reports
  • Appearing in court

Opportunities within various police agencies may include:

  • Uniform patrol
  • Surveillance work
  • Tactical work
  • Canine officer work (dog handling)
  • National security, gang-related and homicide investigations
  • Bike patrol
  • Mounted patrol
  • Investigations
  • Air services
  • Traffic education, awareness and enforcement
  • Forensic identification and crime scene work
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Police officers may work a regular 5-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. They 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. They may be required to lift heavy items in emergency situations.

Police officers often work in stressful, emotional situations. The work can be dangerous, as when dealing with domestic and public disputes, arresting lawbreakers, and pursuing speeding motorists.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Police officers need:

  • Honesty, integrity and respect for others
  • Ethics, maturity, patience, and good judgment
  • Intelligence
  • Communication skills
  • Observation and interpersonal skills
  • Initiative and the ability to work with a minimum of supervision
  • The ability to work as part of a team

They should enjoy:

  • Having clear rules and guidelines for analyzing information and investigations
  • Taking charge of situations
  • Dealing with people
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Specific qualifications vary. Some police departments have no stated minimum education requirement. Others may require:

  • A high school diploma or related post-secondary diploma or equivalent
  • Successful completion of written tests, physical fitness tests, or visual or medical tests
  • Character references or 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 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, but the average age of new recruits is usually 26 or 27. Related post-secondary education, the ability to speak a second language, and knowledge of Alberta’s multicultural and volunteer communities are definite assets.


Related Education

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

Medicine Hat College

NorQuest College

Red Deer College

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

In Alberta, police officers are employed by:

  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Municipal police services
  • First Nations 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 [pdf] in this occupation is 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the G611: Police Officers (Except Commissioned) occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of -0.2% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, -19 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019
Police officers (except commissioned)

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $31.56 $59.23 $47.45 $52.92
Overall $44.33 $59.36 $51.58 $52.96
Top $50.01 $61.01 $54.38 $54.51

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

35%
35%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

69%
69%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

20%
20%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social, Community and Protective Services

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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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