How to Become a Law Enforcement Trainer

If you’re thinking about a career in law enforcement, training and education may need to be considered. The first thing you need to know is that law enforcement training is a complex and highly advanced process, targeting a mid- to senior-level position. Most trainers and instructors are current or retired officers and there are required qualifications for such a position. It is, however, a great long-term goal for someone whose passions include both law enforcement and teaching.

What is a Law Enforcement Trainer?
High School or GED

Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

There are a number of different types of instructors. Some work through the police academy; others through individual departments. Instructors might also work for a college or facility where ongoing certification and training classes are offered. Each state has its own training and certification specifications.

The best way to start gathering information on your career path is to look at the criteria in your state. For instance, the state of Illinois has an agency called, “The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board” – you can find their site and information here –

What Type Of Education Will I Need?

The only requirement in most states is a high school diploma but many candidates at the police academy have a college degree. A college degree is not mandatory, but it does make the path easier and a degree will always give you better standing with the competition. Military service, and the specialized education that full-time military members are eligible to receive, is also a fantastic experience for anyone going into law enforcement. If you’ve opted to go into the military, it’s highly recommended that you take advantage of all the educational opportunities afforded through your service.

Law enforcement is a career of lifelong learning. What this means is that you should love your job and expect to increase your training and experience throughout your lifetime. Career officers add to their skills by taking workshops and accelerated training, both through their departments and on their own time. If, for example, your goal was to eventually teach new officers firearms training, your ongoing training should include all facets of firearms use, training, safety, etc. It is important for a tactical firearms instructor to be knowledgeable on the subject of firearms and skilled with their use.

What Are The Benefits?

There are many benefits associated with a career in training law enforcement.

  • Contributing to the education of new recruits: It’s no secret that police and law enforcement officers have more risks involved in their job than most people. Being responsible for top notch training can be fulfilling and help officers make fewer mistakes in the field.
  • Imparting knowledge: Some people are naturally good teachers. They are skilled at reaching people in the classroom and helping them understand and increase their knowledge. If this sounds like an area where you would succeed and you have a passion for law enforcement, the position will likely be very fulfilling.
  • Giving back: Many instructors are giving back to a career that they love and learned a great deal from. Imparting your own experience to a new generation has both tangible and intangible rewards.

Job Security & Compensation

Pay scale and job security will vary from state to state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for police officers and detectives was a little over $55,000 per year.

Consulting is another area to increase your income as a law enforcement trainer. This might be through a private entity or in some other field entirely, such as education or media.

Overall, Law Enforcement Training is a vital profession, centered on improving the quality of law enforcement and the overall safety of our communities.  Becoming a strong Trainier requires quite a bit of focus on career, education and on-the-job learning, making it a strong and rewarding career opportunity.

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