Police officers are about average in terms of happiness.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, police officers rate their career happiness 3.2 out of 5 stars which puts them in the top 50% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy police officers are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Detective
3.6
$55k
Private detective
3.5
$58k
Transit police officer
3.2
$38k
Police officer
3.2
$58k
Military tactical operations leader
3.2
$60k
Sheriff
3.2
$43k
Bailiff
3.1
$53k
Armored assault vehicle crew member
3.0
$35k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are police officers happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do police officers find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as police officers?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are police officer’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are police officers making the best use of their abilities?

Are police officers happy with their salary?

Police officers rated their satisfaction with their salaries 3.2/5. Few are explicitly unhappy with their salaries, with most police officers having generally positive views of their salary.

We asked police officers how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

3.2 out of 5 stars

1143 police officers

5 Star
20%

20% of police officers rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
23%

23% of police officers rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
24%

24% of police officers rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
19%

19% of police officers rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
14%

14% of police officers rated their compensation 1 stars

Do police officers find their jobs meaningful?

On average, police officers rate the meaningfulness of their work a 3.4/5. Unlike many careers, police officers have little difficulty finding meaning in their work, and it likely constitutes one of the main reasons people become police officers.

We asked police officers how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

3.4 out of 5 stars

1148 police officers

5 Star
27%

27% of police officers rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
26%

26% of police officers rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
21%

21% of police officers rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
14%

14% of police officers rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
12%

12% of police officers rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as police officers?

Police officers rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.9/5. The majority of police officers find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked police officers how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

3.9 out of 5 stars

1230 police officers

5 Star
38%

38% of police officers rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
31%

31% of police officers rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
16%

16% of police officers rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
8%

8% of police officers rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
7%

7% of police officers rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a police officer’s work environment?

As a whole, police officers rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.6/5. A solid majority of police officers enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as a police officer.

We asked police officers how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.6 out of 5 stars

1227 police officers

5 Star
28%

28% of police officers rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
29%

29% of police officers rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
22%

22% of police officers rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
14%

14% of police officers rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
7%

7% of police officers rated their work environment 1 stars

Are police officers making the best use of their abilities?

Former police officers on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 3.3/5. Most police officers are satisfied with how well their abilities are skills are made of use.

We asked police officers how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

3.3 out of 5 stars

1227 police officers

5 Star
24%

24% of police officers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
21%

21% of police officers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
24%

24% of police officers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
20%

20% of police officers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
12%

12% of police officers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars