Best Paying Law Enforcement Jobs

Updated on February 26, 2024

The law enforcement sector offers a plethora of career paths, each varying in responsibilities, educational requirements, and compensation. This blog aims to outline the top ten high-paying law enforcement jobs, offering insights into job titles, average salaries, job descriptions, responsibilities, and required education where applicable.

Criminal Lawyer

  • Average Salary: $97,000
  • Job Description: Criminal lawyers represent individuals accused of crimes, guiding them through the complexities of the legal system.
  • Responsibilities: Their responsibilities include devising defense strategies, representing clients in court, and providing legal counsel.
  • Required Education: Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school and passing a state bar examination.

Prison Warden

  • Average Salary: $88,200
  • Job Description: Prison wardens oversee the operations of correctional facilities, ensuring they run smoothly and securely.
  • Responsibilities: They manage staff, develop rehabilitation programs, and maintain facility security.
  • Required Education: Typically a Bachelor’s degree in criminology, social work, criminal justice, or a related field, often coupled with experience in corrections management.

First Line Supervisor

  • Average Salary: $74,100
  • Job Description: First line supervisors oversee law enforcement personnel, ensuring efficiency and adherence to protocols.
  • Responsibilities: Their duties include staff management, performance evaluation, and training.
  • Required Education: Minimum of a high school diploma or GED, though higher education in management or a related field is preferred.

Border Patrol Agent

  • Average Salary: $67,600
  • Job Description: Border patrol agents secure the nation’s borders to prevent illegal immigration, trafficking, and entry of contraband.
  • Responsibilities: They patrol borders, conduct security checks, and engage in law enforcement duties as needed.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in homeland security or criminal justice is recommended, alongside relevant law enforcement or security experience.

Arbitrator, Mediator, and Conciliator

  • Average Salary: $63,900
  • Job Description: These professionals facilitate negotiation and dialogue between disputing parties to reach a resolution.
  • Responsibilities: They conduct meetings, offer solutions, and aim to resolve conflicts without legal proceedings.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, social work, public policy, or business management, with some positions requiring a law degree.


  • Average Salary: $57,000
  • Job Description: Detectives investigate crimes, gathering evidence, and solving cases.
  • Responsibilities: They conduct surveillance, interview witnesses, and collaborate with other law enforcement agencies.
  • Required Education: High school diploma or GED, with many agencies preferring a Bachelor’s degree in law enforcement or criminal justice.

Probation Officer

  • Average Salary: $54,300
  • Job Description: Probation officers monitor offenders to prevent recidivism and ensure compliance with court-ordered probation terms.
  • Responsibilities: They provide resources for rehabilitation, conduct home visits, and report progress to the courts.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, psychology, or a related field.

Secret Service Agent

  • Average Salary: Varies widely, up to $171,000
  • Job Description: Secret Service agents protect national leaders and investigate financial crimes.
  • Responsibilities: Their duties include security details, investigation of financial fraud, and protective intelligence.
  • Required Education: Extensive experience in law enforcement and additional specialized training provided by the Secret Service.

FBI Agent

  • Average Salary: Ranges from $39,000 to $118,000
  • Job Description: FBI agents investigate federal crimes including terrorism, cybercrime, and espionage.
  • Responsibilities: They perform investigative and surveillance operations, gather evidence, and enforce federal laws.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree at minimum, with a preference for higher education and specialized training at the FBI Academy.

DEA Agent

  • Average Salary: $40,000 to $92,000
  • Job Description: DEA agents enforce laws and regulations related to narcotics and controlled substances.
  • Responsibilities: They conduct investigations, perform undercover operations, and work to dismantle drug trafficking organizations.
  • Required Education: Preferably a Master’s degree, along with rigorous training and background checks.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a career in law enforcement is not solely about compensation—it’s about a commitment to justice, community service, and the willingness to face challenges head-on. While the jobs listed above are among the best paying in the field, they also demand dedication, ethical integrity, and often, a significant educational investment. Aspiring law enforcement professionals should consider not only the potential earnings but also the inherent responsibilities and the impact they wish to make in their communities.

Other Jobs in Legal and Criminal Justice


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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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