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Police Officers (NOC 4311) may also be called:

  • police detective
  • police investigator
  • constable
  • crime prevention officer
  • patrol officer
  • canine team police officer
  • community relations police officer
  • RCMP police officer / constable
  • police officer, diver / search & rescue
  • police officer, foot patrol / bike patrol
  • police officer, highway patrol / harbour
  • police officer, mounted/motorcycle patrol
  • railway police officer

What Would I Do?

Police Officers protect the public, detect and prevent crime and perform other activities directed at maintaining law and order. Duties may include:

  • patrol assigned areas to maintain public safety & order and to enforce laws and regulations
  • investigate crimes and accidents, secure evidence, interview witnesses, compile notes and reports and provide testimony in courts of law
  • arrest criminal suspects
  • provide emergency assistance to victims of accidents, crimes and natural disasters
  • participate in crime prevention, public information and safety programs

More information:  WorkBC Career Profile for Police Officers

Am I Suited For This Job?

Police Officers should be:

  • physically fit
  • good with people
  • observant
  • detail oriented
  • calm

they should have:

  • good judgment
  • good communication skills
  • problem-solving skills

they should work well as part of a team

Police officers may work in an indoor setting, as well as outdoors where they can be exposed to various weather conditions. Police officers work shifts, including weekends and nights and they may spend their shifts in patrol cars and at crime and accident scenes.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Police OfficersCareer Cruising database (Profiles for ‘Police Officer’ and ‘Detective’)

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

WorkBC reports that in British Columbia the median annual salary for Police Officers is approximately $78,210.

JobBank Canada lists hourly wages for BC’s regions where Police Officers can expect to make:

regional hourly wages for police officers

Table from Job Bank Canada Wage Report

Most police officers receive benefits, such as pension plans, health coverage, and sick days. Benefits and salary levels are typically negotiated by police associations or unions on behalf of police forces.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Police OfficersCareer Cruising database (Profiles for ‘Police Officer’ and ‘Detective’)

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

Employment Outlook for Police Officers

WorkBC provides regional employment outlooks for the following regions:

  • Vancouver: projecting 1.5% average annual employment growth for 2015-2025 with 2800 job openings
  • Vancouver Island/Coast: projecting 0.9% average annual employment growth for 2015-2025 with 310 job openings
  • Cariboo: projecting 2.0% average annual employment growth for 2015-2025 with 130 job openings
  • Thompson Okanagan: projecting minus -1.7% average annual employment growth for 2015-2025 with 40 job openings

JobBank Canada reports that for the 2016-2018 period, the employment outlook is expected to be good for Police officers (except commissioned) (NOC 4311) in British Columbia. Employment growth is expected to be moderate; a moderate number of people are expected to retire.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Police Officers, JobBank Canada: Job Market Report

How Do I Become a Police Officer

***in British Columbia, all police recruits must be Canadian citizens or have permanent resident status***

Police Officers in Municipal Forces

Requirements/ Qualifications for Recruits to Municipal Police Forces

The following are basic requirements for police recruits:

  • must have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status
  • completion of secondary school is required.
  • completion of at least one year of post secondary education, preferably graduation with a college diploma or university degree
  • physical agility, strength, fitness and vision requirements must be met, and psychological or other tests may also be required

Check with your local police force as each municipal force has its own detailed list of qualifications for recruits.  For examples of qualifications, see:

Education/Training for Municipal Police Forces

  • a six-month** police training program is provided:
  • in BC, the Justice Institute of BC operates a police training program through The Police Academy.
  • The Police Academy is responsible for training all municipal police recruits in British Columbia
    For more details on the police recruit training program, see:  Police Academy: Recruit Training
  • upon successful completion of the Recruit Training Program, candidates graduate as “Qualified Municipal Constables“**the length of training program *may* be reduced after Block 2 of the 6 month program for recruits with previous policing experience

Please note:  ALL candidates in the Police Academy must already be hired by a municipal police department prior to receiving training

  • For a list of municipal police forces in BC (including transit police, First Nations police and railway police), see: B.C. Police Forces

Officers in Royal Canadian Mounted Police – RCMP

Requirements/ Qualifications for Recruits to RCMP

  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident status and has resided in Canada for the past ten years
  • completion of secondary school is required.
  • successful completion of RCMP entrance exam**
    **the entrance exam is waived for candidates who have completed a college program or university degree

Education/Training for RCMP recruits

  • upon completion of training at Depot, candidates are granted peace officer status

Reserve Constables / Community Safety Officers

Some larger urban police forces have an additional class of officers who may be called ‘Reserve Constables’, ‘Community Safety Officers’, ‘Auxiliary Officers’.  These officers may have reduced training/education requirements depending on their police force.  They usually work as a volunteer, often assisting at community events, crime prevention programs, or traffic safety for their police force. They may be classed as ‘Auxiliary Constables’ or ‘Special Municipal Constable’. For more details on qualifications and requirements, check with individual police forces in your area.  For examples, see:

Education/Training for Reserve Constables

Each local police force recruits its own candidates for reserve constables who will then be required to complete a 92 hour basic training program and successfully pass an exam.  For more details on training program, check with individual police forces in your area.

For further information also see:

Jail Guards

Some police forces *may* hire jail guards.  All candidates *must be Canadian citizens or have permanent resident status*.  For examples, see the following police forces for details on requirements/qualifications and training:

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Police Officers

How Do I Find A Job?

Where would I work?

  • for municipal and federal governments
  • some provincial and regional governments
  • the armed forces
  • transit/railway companies

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Online Job Postings

  • Municipal Police Forces in BC
    Positions with municipal police forces in BC, BC Transit police and railway police services are posted by each individual police force. See: B.C. Police Forces  (go to each police force website and look for their “careers” or “employment” links)

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below will help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers who are in this industry. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “police” or other relevant term and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market:

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteer opportunities

  • Reserve Constables
    If you are Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status, you can consider applying to be Reserve Constable:

Volunteers in Municipal Police Forces

Some municipal police forces may also accept volunteers who perform in community safety programs such as ‘Speed Watch Program’, ‘Theft from Auto Program’, or may assist in staffing a ‘Community Policing Centre’.  For further volunteer opportunities, check with your local police force.  Here are some examples:

For additional tips see:

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience.  Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

Progression to commissioned senior police officer or senior detective positions is possible with additional training and experience

Source: WorkBC Career Profile for Police OfficersCareer Cruising database (Profiles for ‘Police Officer’ and ‘Detective’’)

Where Can I Find More Information?

  • Policing in BC
    information on structure of police services in BC, First Nations Policing, municipal police forces