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Police Officer Salaries

Police officers can earn a good salary in addition to attractive benefits that may include a uniform allowance, paid vacation and holidays, medical insurance, and retirement benefits. A variety of factors impact police officer pay; major influences include location, primary duties, police force size, and years of experience. As police officers gain experience and education and move into positions of leadership, there are good opportunities for salary increases. Continue reading to learn more about influences on police officer salaries, find information on the top-paying states for police officers, and access additional resources.

How Much Does a Police Officer Make?

The national average annual salary for police officers of all types is $65,170.1 The highest-paid 10% of officers earn over $109,620, while the lowest-paid 10% earn less than $37,710.1 Geographic area has a particularly strong influence on the level of salary police officers can expect, as standards for police pay vary from state-to-state and also from rural to metro areas. The highest-paying state for police officers is California, at an average of $105,220 per year, while the lowest-paying state is Mississippi, at an average of $36,290 per year.2

While the entry-level education required by many police departments remains a high school diploma or GED, a growing number of departments are showing a preference towards hiring college graduates by requiring college credit or through salary increases and other incentives. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly one in four local police officers work for departments requiring at least an associate’s degree, which is typically equivalent to 60 credit hours.3 An estimated 29% of police departments serving populations of one million or more require an associate’s degree.3 The table below provides an outline of police officer salary as well as typical education requirements.

RoleTypical Highest Education Level RecommendedNumber Employed in the USAverage Annual Openings10-Year Job GrowthAverage Salary
Detectives and Criminal Investigators1,3High school diploma (38%)113,5007,5002.5%$83,170
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives4,6High school diploma (37%)126,1008,3005%$91,090
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers (All Categories)2,5High school diploma (35%)665,28052,9005%$67,600
Transit and Railroad Police7Bachelor’s degree (28%)4,5003004.4%$71,820

Police Officer Salary Index and Outlook by State

In order to help you assess your career options for becoming a police officer, the following sortable table displays the average annual salary for patrol officers in each state, the percentage of the median home price that the annual salary buys, and the projected job growth for police officers. The buying power of the salary and the projected growth are calculated for each state and compared to the national average, which is set at 1.0. A score above 1.0 may therefore indicate an attractive outlook for police officers in the state.

RankStateUS Average2019 Avg. Police Salary2$94,1602020 Zillow Median Property List Price9$263,351% of Median Home Average Salary Buys (Higher = Better)36%2018 Total Patrol Officers Employed10687,100Projected Patrol Officer Employment in 202810721,60010-Year Growth Rate (2018-2028)105%Best States for Police (Avg=1)1.00
1West Virginia$71,470$110,54465%3,3603,4904%1.44
2Iowa$79,910$157,30851%5,0405,2805%1.39
3Oklahoma$73,050$139,40952%8,4309,0607%1.37
4Arkansas$63,610$140,98645%6,3207,10012%1.34
5Indiana$73,390$169,15643%12,39013,1106%1.28
6Ohio$81,110$164,96849%24,87025,0101%1.26
7Texas$87,750$220,03440%61,16066,6809%1.24
8Illinois$91,110$217,10542%31,97032,5602%1.24
9Utah$73,250$386,72319%4,8105,92023%1.23
10Kentucky$67,850$156,92643%7,8608,4307%1.21
11Pennsylvania$91,150$211,28743%28,68029,7604%1.19
12Delaware$91,510$277,97933%1,8502,0008%1.13
13Nebraska$75,720$189,13940%3,0403,1403%1.12
14Nevada$76,220$327,71423%1,2701,42012%1.12
15North Dakota$88,270$236,01237%1,6901,8409%1.10
16Alabama$85,240$156,26555%10,78011,2004%1.10
17Tennessee$68,070$203,13434%13,29014,78011%1.09
18Wisconsin$78,920$207,01838%12,13012,4002%1.08
19Kansas$77,820$164,33647%7,0007,1702%1.07
20Missouri$86,500$176,60949%13,57014,0103%1.06
21Colorado$96,010$431,10022%10,30011,82015%1.05
22Georgia$85,630$218,60939%22,21024,80012%1.05
23New York$132,290$343,16439%61,09066,5509%1.03
24Maryland$86,780$335,26026%14,42015,83010%1.01
25Florida$73,500$264,14928%39,35042,4908%1.01
26Connecticut$103,250$281,92437%6,0506,3505%1.01
27Minnesota$89,770$277,27632%10,84011,3405%0.99
28South Carolina$76,070$203,32837%11,78012,7408%0.96
29Michigan$81,500$187,74743%18,27017,950-2%0.96
30North Carolina$87,730$220,71040%22,27024,0208%0.95
31New Mexico$84,540$224,37438%4,2904,5105%0.95
32Louisiana$65,900$177,54837%12,29012,9205%0.95
33Montana$75,270$313,26124%1,6101,7609%0.89
34South Dakota$68,770$222,43531%1,9302,0205%0.88
35Mississippi$67,750$131,97351%8,2308,180-1%0.88
36Wyoming$88,590$258,28034%1,1901,2505%0.87
37Alaska$101,600$296,64634%1,2801,240-3%0.86
38Washington$90,570$458,31320%10,37011,2909%0.86
39Oregon$84,340$393,71021%5,6806,0807%0.84
40Virginia$99,000$302,36933%18,46019,5206%0.82
41New Jersey$99,170$367,10327%20,74020,9701%0.81
42Arizona$78,890$303,23026%9,7109,9202%0.79
43Rhode Island$88,620$331,45827%1,9102,0005%0.78
44Maine$69,380$269,75326%2,1702,2604%0.78
45New Hampshire$85,410$321,49627%3,1903,3505%0.76
46California$98,850$609,75716%72,70075,4004%0.68
47Massachusetts$102,610$464,27922%17,51018,2504%0.65
48Vermont$77,680$273,02428%1,2601,2600%0.63
49Idaho$73,360$331,12622%2,8002,8502%0.59
50Hawaii$97,490$667,00515%2,7202,8404%0.53
51Washington DC$106,490$666,76716%5,9405,9400%0.37

Additional Resources

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Police and Detectives: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019 Occupational Employment and Wages, Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: https://www.bls.gov/OES/current/oes333051.htm
3. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Local Police Departments, 2013: Personnel, Policies, and Practices: https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/lpd13ppp.pdf
3. O*NET OnLine, Police Detectives: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.00
4. O*NET OnLine, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-1012.00
5. O*NET OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3051.00
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/data-for-occupations-not-covered-in-detail.htm
7. O*NET OnLine, Transit and Railroad Police: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3052.00
9. Zillow.com: https://www.zillow.com/home-values/
10. Projections Central: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm