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Police Officer

Police officers help to protect citizens and their property, maintain public peace, prevent and detect crime, and apprehend those who break the law. They also process court requirements and handle traffic problems.

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

Also Known As

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

  • 6261: Police Officers (Except Commissioned)

2006 NOC-S

  • G611: Police Officers (Except Commissioned)

2011 NOC

  • 4311: Police officers (except commissioned)

2016 NOC

  • 4311: Police officers (except commissioned)
Duties
Updated Mar 24, 2023

In their daily work, police officers perform diverse duties. These range from the general (patrolling communities, enforcing the law, and maintaining social order) to the specific (apprehending criminals, promoting traffic safety, responding to domestic disputes).

Police work does not always involve a physical act of protection or the arrest of a law breaker. It also involves activities related to:

  • Responding to dispatched calls for service
  • Preventing crime
  • 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
  • Connecting people with the appropriate services (such as mental health and addictions services)

Opportunities within various police agencies may include:

  • Uniform patrol
  • Surveillance work
  • Tactical / emergency response work
  • Canine officer work (dog handling)
  • National security, gang-related, and homicide investigations
  • Bike / motorcycle patrol
  • Mounted patrol
  • Investigations
  • Air services
  • Traffic education, awareness, and enforcement
  • Forensic identification and crime scene work
  • VIP / dignitary protection
  • Youth services (early intervention, relationship building, supporting youth)
  • Mental heath crisis support (specialty units)
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 24, 2023
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

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 need to stand or walk for hours at a time, or ride in a vehicle for a full shift. At times, they must use force. They may need 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.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Police Officers (Except Commissioned)

2006 NOC: 6261

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 24, 2023

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 minimal supervision
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The ability to be fair (by using discretion, knowing options for de-escalation, and resolving disputes peacefully)

They should enjoy:

  • Having clear rules and guidelines for analyzing information and investigations
  • Taking charge of situations
  • Dealing with people
  • Resolving situations
  • Operating in uncertain situations
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 24, 2023
  • Minimum Education Varies

Specific qualifications vary. Applicants go through testing to assess their honesty, integrity, and ethics before being considered for hiring. A few police departments have no stated minimum education requirement. Others 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
  • 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
  • Proof of writing, keyboarding, and computer skills
  • Valid first aid and CPR certificates
  • Participation in a polygraph test and various interviews

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 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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 24, 2023
  • Certification Not Regulated

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 24, 2023

In Alberta, police officers work for:

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Municipal police services
  • First Nations police services

Following induction, recruits undergo a period of basic training. This includes:

  • Classroom lectures
  • Physical fitness activities
  • De-escalation and sensitivity training
  • Community services
  • Mental health and addictions training
  • Control tactics (such as emergency driving, pepper spray, and taser training)
  • On-the-job street patrols

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.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 4311: Police officers (except commissioned) occupational group, 99.1% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 4311: Police officers (except commissioned) occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 98 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 24, 2023

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Police officers (except commissioned)

2016 NOC: 4311
Average Wage
$51.20
Per Hour
Average Salary
$105,448.00
Per Year
Average Hours
39.5
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4311 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $32.51 $60.99 $46.87 $53.52
Overall $41.49 $61.22 $51.20 $53.52
Top $42.73 $62.82 $53.87 $55.13

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
32%
32%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
18%
18%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
7%
7%
Vacancy Rate
2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social, Community and Protective Services

Updated Mar 24, 2023. 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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