Law Enforcement Careers in Texas

In Texas, laws are enforced at the city/municipal, county, and state levels. Each type of law enforcement career in Texas has its own requirements and tests that must be passed before candidates can be licensed as law enforcement officers.

Municipal police officers in Texas serve in their jurisdictions as peace officers, while the many county sheriffs’ departments here employ jailers and deputies to serve both in and outside of the state’s major metro areas. State troopers work under the jurisdiction of the Texas Department of Public Safety… as do the unique and storied Texas Rangers.

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Police Officer Jobs in Texas – TX

In Texas, police officers are known as peace officers. These jobs may be found in cities and municipalities across Texas, including:

  • Houston I.S.D. Police Department
  • Laredo Police Department
  • Lubbock Police Department
  • Fort Worth Police Department
  • Arlington Police Department

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, violent crime in Texas rose nearly 3% between 2018 and 2019.

Deputy Sheriff Jobs in Texas – TX

Each of the 254 counties in Texas has an elected sheriff, responsible for countywide law enforcement, court security, and jail services. Sheriff’s may deputize assistants as peace officers. Some of the largest county sheriff’s offices in the state include:

  • Austin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dallas County Constable Precincts
  • Houston County Sheriff’s Office
  • Collin County Sheriff’s Office
  • El Paso County Sheriff’s Office

FBI stats revealed that the state had nearly 121,000 incidents of violent crime in 2019  – the majority of which (112,000) occurred in the state’s metro areas.

Qualifications for Becoming a Peace Officer or County Jailer in Texas

All peace officers and county jailers in Texas must complete a basic licensing/training course, pass a state licensing examination, and be officially appointed by a Texas law enforcement agency.  Basic requirements to enroll in the licensing course include:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • No family violence offense convictions
  • May operate motor vehicle legally
  • May possess firearms/ammunition legally
  • No convictions for Class B misdemeanor in past 10 years
  • No convictions for any misdemeanors above a Class B ever
  • No current criminal convictions
  • High school diploma/equivalent or 12 hours of college credit
  • Pass medical and psychological examinations and drug tests
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Meet age requirements:
    • Peace officer: 21  (unless candidate has an associate degree or 60 semester hours of college credit – age requirement then is 18)
    • County jailer: 18
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Training for Peace Officer and County Jailer Jobs in Texas

All prospective Texas peace officers must pass the current basic Texas peace officer course, taken at a licensed law enforcement academy. Contract, academic and out-of-state training programs may be approved by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

All prospective Texas county jailers must pass the current basic Texas county corrections course.

State Trooper Jobs With the Highway Patrol in Texas – TX

The Texas Highway Patrol Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety employs police officers trained to deal with state traffic supervision and criminal law enforcement on state and rural roads in Texas. As of 2016, there are 2,862 commissioned Highway Patrol officers in Texas.

The headquarters of the Texas Highway Patrol Division is located in Austin. There is also a unit located in the Capitol Region, Region VII, of downtown Austin. Highway patrol offices are located in:

  • Wichita Falls
  • Waco
  • Tyler
  • San Antonio
  • San Angelo
  • Pierce
  • Midland
  • McAllen
  • Lufkin
  • Lubbock
  • Laredo
  • Hurst
  • Houston
  • Garland
  • Corpus Christi
  • Conroe
  • Beaumont
  • Austin
  • Amarillo
  • Abilene

Texas state troopers are helping to keep the state safe. Crimes in the state of Texas decreased in almost all categories in 2017. Compared to 2016’s crime statistics:

  • Murder decreased by 4.1 percent
  • Robbery decreased by 3.4percent
  • Motor vehicle theft decreased by 1.8 percent
  • Burglary decreased by 10.1 percent

Qualifications for Becoming a State Trooper in Texas

  • Submit an online application
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be at least 20 years old
  • Have at least 60 college credit hours OR 24 months of police or military experience
  • Pass the Trooper Trainee Test
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Pass a physical/medical examination
  • Pass a physical demands test
  • Pass a polygraph examination

Texas Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Texas law enforcement officers earned an average salary of $66,890 as of May 2021.

The following police/sheriff’s department salary data was sourced from May 2021 BLS stats (early career = 25th percentile, senior/late career = 90th percentile).

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Police Officer Salaries

Texas metropolitan police officers are both numerous and well-paid. It’s not unusual for senior positions to take home salaries in the six-figure range, a very comfortable living in a state with a reasonable cost-of-living.

Austin Police Department

  • Entry – $61,710
  • Mid-Level – $77,350
  • Senior – $98,560

Dallas Police Department

  • Entry – $62,080
  • Mid-Level – $76,880
  • Senior – $97,480

Fort Worth Police Department

  • Entry – $62,080
  • Mid-level – $76,880
  • Senior – $97,480

Houston ISD Police Department

  • Entry – $60,670
  • Mid-Level – $61,970
  • Senior – $95,500

San Antonio Police Department

  • Entry – $57,810
  • Mid-Level – $61,970
  • Senior – $78,540

Sheriff’s Deputy Salaries

Not only does Texas have the second highest overall employment level for law enforcement patrol officers in the country, but it has two of the top rural areas for LEO employment in North and West Texas, making it one of the easiest states for finding a sheriff’s deputy job.

Bexar County Sheriff’s Department

  • Entry – $57,810
  • Mid-Level – $61,970
  • Senior – $78,540

Dallas County Sheriff’s Department

  • Entry – $62,080
  • Mid-Level – $76,880
  • Senior – $97,480

Harris County Sheriff’s Department

  • Entry – $60,670
  • Mid-Level – $61,970
  • Senior – $95,500

Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department

  • Entry – $62,080
  • Mid-Level – $76,880
  • Senior – $97,480

Travis County Sheriff’s Department

  • Entry – $61,710
  • Mid-Level – $77,350
  • Senior – $98,560

State Trooper and State Police Salaries

Texas Highway Patrol

  • Entry – $55,610
  • Senior – $86,480

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for police and sheriff’s patrol officers. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, Projections Central. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2022.

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