While often undersold, policing offers another career path that doesn’t require a degree but can still provide workers with a solid salary, benefits, and pension. While the national average sits at $67,600, the salary average fluctuates between states, with cops in Nevada earning $73,660 versus cops in California earning $105,220. However, if you’re interested in this job path, you may want to stay away from the southern U.S. where the 10 lowest-paying states for cops are offering as much as $31,000 less than the national average.
Once you make it onto the force, you can begin working your way up the ranks and the pay scale. This doesn’t necessarily mean leaving fieldwork for a corner office. According to Glassdoor, detectives in the U.S. average $77,341 per year, with an additional annual bonus of $6,010. The highest-paid detectives by state and police force are the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) at $102,352 and the City of New York at just over $90,000. The top brass in that city are some of the best compensated civil servants in New York, with eyewatering salaries of anywhere between $245,000 to $321,719 over the past decade.