Careers in the Military and Law Enforcement

The majority of law enforcement jobs are US government positions at the federal and state level and therefore are of interest to students interested in public service. The information below focuses on the maintenance of public order and enforcing the law. Please also refer to the “Government” resource page for more information about public service careers outside of military and physical law enforcement. 

 

Military Service

The five armed services are:

  • Army
  • Air Force
  • Navy
  • Marine Corps
  • Coast Guard

The first four services are part of the Department of Defense (DOD) The services draw their officer corps from ROTC programs at undergraduate institutions and their individual officer preparation undergraduate institutions. College graduates who do not complete ROTC during undergraduate can still apply to become an officer in the services through Officer Candidate School (OCS). More information can be found on the individual services websites.

Interested Wellesley students can enroll in ROTC programs offered at MIT through the College’s cross-registration program. Wellesley students may apply for scholarship aid from the Air Force and Army. Interested students should contact the appropriate service office at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, or call: Air Force, 617.253.4475; Army, 617.253.4471. Below please find helpful links to learn more.

 

State and Local Law Enforcement

Law enforcement agencies at the state and local level vary, but in general include:

  • State and Local Police Departments
  • Department of Corrections
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement
  • College and University Police

To apply for a police officer position, cities require applicants to take a civil service exam, meet the applicant qualifications, and take a rigorous training course. For example, information about the Boston police department application can be found here: https://www.boston.gov/departments/police/how-become-police-officer

 

Federal Law Enforcement

There are a number of different federal law enforcement agencies housed with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and US Park Service.

 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

DHS is composed of several federal law enforcement operational components:

  • Customs and Border Protection
  • US Coast Guard
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Transportation Security Administration
  • US Secret Service

More information about each of these divisions can be found here: https://www.dhs.gov/operational-and-support-components

DHS has two programs for students interested in pursuing careers in federal law enforcement. These programs require a major in criminal justice, criminology, criminal justice administration, forensic sciences, psychology, or computer forensics. Seniors and graduate law students are eligible. Information about the program is available here: https://www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-careers/law-enforcement

 

Department of Justice (DOJ)

The law enforcement agencies administered by the Department of Justice include:

  • United States Marshal Service
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Office of Inspector General

The FBI is the best known domestic crime investigatory agency in the United States. The operational components of the FBI include special agents, intelligence analysts, surveillance, forensic accounting, and language analytics. The FBI also hires its own police officers to keep buildings and personnel secure. The FBI has several programs for undergraduate students, and more information is available here: https://www.fbijobs.gov/students/undergrad

Keep in mind that hiring for the internship begins one year in advance.

Like all federal jobs, all open positions at the FBI are posted on USAJOBS and applicants must apply through that portal. Hiring for graduating seniors begins the previous summer.

National Park Service

The Park Police is the law enforcement component of the National Park Service with jurisdiction over national parks, including much of the federal land in Washington, D.C. Like all federal jobs, applications for US Park Officers can be found on USAJOBS. After submitting an application through USAJOBS and getting an eligibility email, applicants must complete a multistep process detailed here: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/uspp/become-a-uspp-officer.htm