When retirement beckons after a dedicated career in law enforcement, the question often arises: What’s next?
For retired police officers, there’s a world of possibilities to explore. Among these fulfilling career options that are also logical transitions are these 5 best jobs for retired cops:
The 5 best jobs for retired cops are:
Educators hold a pivotal role in shaping young minds, and for retired police officers looking to re-enter the workforce, pursuing a career in teaching can be a rewarding way to continue making a positive impact on the lives of younger generations.
Transitioning from a career as a police officer to a teacher can be a natural shift for many individuals. Both roles require a strong sense of responsibility, effective communication skills and the ability to manage diverse and sometimes challenging situations.
As a cop, you often deal with the community, diffuse conflicts and maintain public safety, which can be invaluable when working with students in a classroom setting. The knowledge of law enforcement procedures and an understanding of the legal system can also be beneficial in teaching subjects like civics or criminal justice.
This transition not only allows individuals to continue making a positive impact on their community but also offers an opportunity to inspire and educate the next generation, sharing their unique insights and experiences.
Many police departments are eligible for retirement as early as their 50s if they entered the department in their early 20s. It’s possible that many of these officers may still have school-aged children, and teaching can offer compatible work hours and extended breaks during the summer, aligning well with their kids' schedules. This can lead to a more favorable work-life balance, a goal many retired officers aspire to achieve.
If you have a bachelor's degree, there's a pathway available to you to obtain a teaching certificate in Texas. In fact, you can complete an alternative teacher certification program in just four to six months, making it a viable option for retired police officers looking to transition into a teaching career quickly.
To qualify for an educator preparation program (EPP), you must meet a few requirements:
If you do not meet these above requirements but still have a bachelor’s degree, you can qualify for a teacher preparation program through the TxPACT exam, which is used for program admission. Only those who do not pass the above requirements must take the TxPACT.
If you do not have a bachelor’s degree but have an associate’s degree, you can qualify for an EPP if you have:
If you don’t have a degree, you’re not alone. Earning a bachelor’s degree is often not a requirement in many police departments. However, your experience in the criminal justice field still allows you to enroll in an EPP if you want to teach in this field. (You must have five years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field to be taught.)
Once you are accepted into a teacher certification program, your training will include courses (online, in-person or a combination of both, depending on the program you choose) and field experience. In Texas, you must complete:
It’s important to note that the 30 hours of observation by a teacher advisor is a very important part of your certification process. These certified teachers send a recommendation to your Texas teaching credential program that you are ready or not ready to teach in the classroom.
You must also pass a series of exams, which may include:
In addition to these requirements above, you’ll also need to:
Police work can be a highly rewarding career, yet it can also be stressful and demanding. If you’re ready to retire, but are looking for a second opportunity to make a difference, teaching can be a great option for someone who wants to re-enter the workforce.
Retired police officers have strong investigative skills, knowledge of criminal law and experience in evidence gathering and analysis. These skills easily transfer into a new career as a private investigator.
Investigators in the private sector often work on cases involving surveillance, background checks, locating missing persons and corporate investigations. They need to have good attention to detail, be trained in interviewing witnesses or crime victims, and have the ability to work independently.
Some states may require private investigators to be licensed. Retired officers might need to complete additional coursework or certification specific to private investigations.
There’s good news in the employment field for anyone considering a transition into the private investigator field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of private detectives and investigators will grow 6% through 2032, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Retired officers have extensive experience in crime prevention strategies and the ability to identify potential security threats. They can apply this expertise to help organizations and businesses implement effective security measures.
Retired police officers have also honed their crisis management skills during their law enforcement careers and are well-prepared to handle emergency situations. They also often work in diverse settings, from urban environments to rural areas. This broad experience allows them to adapt their security expertise to various clients’ needs.
Because of the network of law enforcement and security professionals that retired cops have generated, they often have access to valuable resources and expertise as well.
As a security consultant, you can explore a variety of job opportunities within this field, including providing private security, serving as a loss prevention specialist and working in the cybersecurity field.
While not always required, obtaining security industry certifications (such as the Certified Protection Professional - CPP) can enhance credibility. Additional courses in security management might be helpful.
Transitioning from a career in law enforcement to becoming an emergency management coordinator is often a seamless move for retired law enforcement.
Cops bring with them a wealth of experience in handling critical incidents, coordinating resources and working effectively under high-pressure situations. These skills are directly transferable to the role of an emergency management coordinator, where the ability to remain calm and organized during crises is essential.
One of the key strengths of retired cops in this role is their in-depth understanding of the importance of emergency response and preparedness. Their knowledge of incident command systems and emergency protocols is invaluable, enabling them to play a vital role in planning for and responding to various disasters, including natural disasters, pandemics and other emergencies.
The adaptability of retired police officers, who have worked in diverse settings and communities during their careers, makes them well-suited for addressing the unique needs of different regions. Their strong communication and coordination abilities, honed through years of community policing, can foster collaboration among various agencies and stakeholders involved in emergency management.
This transition allows them to continue safeguarding their community and making a significant impact by helping organizations and governments prepare for and respond to unforeseen disasters.
For retired police officers looking for a rewarding career post-retirement, becoming a legal consultant or paralegal is a natural progression that allows them to leverage their extensive knowledge of criminal law, legal procedures and evidence handling.
These professionals have a unique perspective to offer within the legal field, drawing from their practical experience in conducting investigations, collecting and preserving evidence, and interacting with the legal system.
Transitioning to the role of a legal consultant or paralegal provides an opportunity for retired cops to contribute to legal cases by assisting attorneys with case preparation, legal research and document review. Their proficiency in conducting interviews and analyzing complex situations can be instrumental in building strong legal strategies.
Retired police officers also have an intimate understanding of law enforcement ethics and the importance of maintaining the integrity of the legal process. This background equips them to operate in roles that require a deep commitment to upholding legal and ethical standards.
The transition to a legal career is facilitated by specific training, such as paralegal studies and potentially gaining relevant certifications. By pursuing this path, retired cops can continue to make a meaningful impact on the legal system and justice process while enjoying a rewarding and intellectually stimulating second career.
Each of these five careers mentioned above offers an invaluable opportunity to contribute to the community, whether by shaping the minds of future leaders, supporting businesses or providing essential services in the legal system.
However, the role of a teacher presents a distinctive chance to not only share knowledge and skills but also to inspire the next generation. Teachers have the power to ignite a passion for learning, instill values and motivate students to realize their full potential as active contributors to the betterment of society.
To embark on this fulfilling journey of making a positive impact on the future, you can take the first step today by completing your Texas teacher certification online application. Your decision to become a teacher can be the catalyst for positive change, influencing generations to come.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank. In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.