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Law Enforcement Careers in South Carolina

South Carolina has one of the highest crime rates of any state in the country.  One way to combat this is took seek a career in law enforcement in South Carolina.  Options include obtaining training to become a State Trooper in South Carolina or a Deputy Sheriff in one of the 46 counties in the state.  Another option is to obtain a job as a Police Officer in one of the many municipal law enforcement jurisdictions in South Carolina.

Jobs with the South Carolina Highway Patrol

The South Carolina Highway Patrol was formed in 1930 with a focus on creating a safe environment for citizens and visitors to the state.  Over 900 Troopers patrol almost 65,000 miles of highway in South Carolina using sophisticated technology.  Approximately 1000 people a year are killed in vehicle collisions in the state.  To help prevent this, State Troopers place a strong emphasis on intercepting those who are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

South Carolina citizens who have been a resident for a year and have had a South Carolina driver’s license for a year can apply for jobs as a State Trooper in South Carolina if they are at least 21 years old before starting basic training.  A high school diploma or GED is required, and applicants must have uncorrected vision of no more than 20/100.  Applications must be submitted on-line.  Those who are chosen as potential candidates must take a physical fitness and written test.  They also undergo a polygraph examination.  Successful candidates undergo training to become a State Trooper in South Carolina with a 17 week program.  Read more information on how to become a South Carolina Highway State Trooper.

Jobs with Sheriff’s Departments in South Carolina

South Carolina citizens who wish to obtain jobs as a Sheriff’s Deputy have a wealth of opportunities with the number of counties in the state.

 

Charleston County:  The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office has both Criminal Investigations and Patrol Divisions, along with a SWAT Team ready to respond to emergencies.  Sheriff’s Deputies have jurisdiction throughout the unincorporated parts of Charleston County or in municipalities that have ordinances that have been adopted as County ordinances.

Those who wish to obtain jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in Charleston County must be at least 21 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED.  They must undergo both written and physical fitness examinations, along with polygraph testing, a psychological screen, and a background check.

Greenville County:  Over 400 deputies and nine reserve deputies work for the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office serving over 451,000 residents.  In addition to the Patrol Unit, there is a Criminal Investigations Division composed of 14 different units.

To obtain jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in Greenville County, applicants must be South Carolina residents at least 21 years old who have a high school diploma or a GED.  They must undergo physical, psychological, and medical testing.  In addition, there is an oral interview, a background check, and a polygraph examination.

Richland County:  The Richland County Sheriff’s Office is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in South Carolina, employing over 600 sworn officers.  Those who seek jobs as Deputy Sheriffs in Richland County must have a four year college degree or an associate degree with two years of military or previous law enforcement experience.  Applicants must be at least 21 years old and pass interviews, a physical fitness test, a polygraph examination, and drug testing.  Training to become a Sheriff’s Deputy in Richland County is done at the Criminal Justice Academy.

Jobs with Municipal Police Departments in South Carolina

Residents of the state who wish to become Police Officers in Rhode Island have many options to choose from.  Here are the requirements for some of the larger cities in the state:

Charleston:  There is a fairly high rate of violent and property crimes in Charleston. The City of Charleston Police Department employs 412 sworn officers to combat such crime.  The strategic plan of this department emphasizes police-community problem solving.  U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old can apply for jobs as a Police Officer in Charleston if they have a Bachelor’s Degree, or an Associate Degree with four years of prior military or law enforcement experience, or a high school diploma or GED if they have at least 6 years of such prior experience.

Columbia:  The violent crime rate in Columbia is one of the highest in the country. It is combated by the Columbia Police Department.  U.S. citizens who wish to obtain jobs as Police Officers in Columbia and fight such crime must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.  Applicants who are accepted undergo a through screening, an interview, and a background check.  If selected, they then undergo a further series of examinations, including physical, psychological, and polygraph exams.

Greenville: Greenville has one of the highest violent crime rates in the U.S.  This is combated by the 191 sworn officers of the Greenville Police Department.  Those who seek jobs as Police Officers in Greenville start by completing an online application.  Selected applicants must then pass a physical abilities test, followed by an entry level written test.  Success with those examinations is followed by an interview, vision test, background check, and a review by the Chief of Police and the City Manager.

North Charleston:  North Charleston has a very high crime rate for a community of its size.  The North Charleston Police Department employs over 300 sworn officers who work to reverse this situation.  Those seeking jobs as Police Officers in North Charleston can apply year round.  Applicants are contacted for testing once positions become available.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, as published in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, the following were the median South Carolina law enforcement salaries during 2010:

  • Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $50,600
  • Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: $37,260
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: $46,640

Detectives and Criminal Investigators Salaries across South Carolina

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC
200
46640
Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville SC
130
86480
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC
490
63980
Columbia SC
330
59220
Florence SC
90
51130
Greenville-Mauldin-Easley SC
110
71970
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach SC
40
58700
Low Country South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
40
48320
Upper Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
60
41520
Lower Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
50
41620

Police Officer and Sheriff Salary in South Carolina

Because the salary among police officers in South Carolina varies between cities, we can look to some of the police departments in the state to get an idea of the average annual wage.

City of Charleston Police Department

  • High school/GED plus experience: $34,422 to $37,898
  • AA degree plus experience: $36,798 to $39,334
  • BA/BS degree: $39,377 to $43,290
  • MA/MS degree: $42,053 to $46,277
  • PHD/JD degree: $44,934 to $49,449

Rock Hill Police Department

  • Police Officer I: $35,256
  • Police Officer I after 6 months probation: $37,018.80

At the county level, such as within the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, the deputy sheriff salary in South Carolina is as follows:

  • Deputy I and Deputy II (non-certified): $30,796
    • A 4% salary increase is given after the 6-month probationary period
    • Deputy II (certified): $32,027 to $53,367

Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers Salaries across South Carolina

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anderson SC
290
38120
Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC
940
33290
Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville SC
1830
40720
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC
4940
46760
Columbia SC
1890
41030
Florence SC
500
35680
Greenville-Mauldin-Easley SC
990
42890
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach SC
610
36110
Spartanburg SC
340
32910
Low Country South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
780
39940
Upper Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released
35930
Pee Dee South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
340
31450
Lower Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
410
34260

State Trooper Salary in South Carolina

The state trooper salary in South Carolina follows this protocol:

Patrol school
1-1/2 years
Salary
$29910
$34269

Police Supervisors and Detectives Salaries across South Carolina

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC
140
49300
Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville SC
220
58200
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC-SC
950
69600
Columbia SC
250
59090
Florence SC
60
52500
Greenville-Mauldin-Easley SC
250
54410
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach SC
80
49580
Spartanburg SC
120
47140
Low Country South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released
60000
Upper Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
70
52640
Pee Dee South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
60
49270
Lower Savannah South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
70
46840

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