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Should I have a law enforcement career or a medical career?

Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a police officer but after years of thinking I actually think I might have a medical career. I still want to be a police officer but being an obstetrician (baby doctor) is now a big option. #medicine #police #law-enforcement #obstetrician

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Ron’s Answer

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I had this same question in 1991. My aspiration was to become a flight medic but I also had strong interests in becoming a police officer.

I joined the U.S. Army and became a medic. I truly enjoyed the training and experience but still was curious about a law enforcement profession. It took me about 4 years to become a police officer and I have been working in the law enforcement field for the past 22 years.

I have three years to retire and have been thinking about a second career in the medical field.

Each field has the opportunity to help people and to make a difference in your community.

I would suggest trying to arrange a summer internship or see who has a "shadow" program were you can visit a person in each profession and spend the day as an observer.

Document the pro's and con's of each profession and make a plan for your career path. Review your career path goals with your parents, guidance counsellor and the person in the profession you " shadowed".

Whatever you decide, commit to it. Even if you are the only person cheering you on.

I hope this helped and wish you all the best in this decision.

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Mike’s Answer

If you are up in the air evaluate what you want to do in life. Both offer you the chance to help and have positive results on your community. Obviously the medical field pays better, but will require more education. Another option is joining the military, gain life experience, and make the right choice for you.

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Chuck’s Answer

I worked in municipal law enforcement for over 20 years before transitioning to the private sector, and also have several family members in the medical field. If I had to start over again, with those two choices, I would definitely chose the medical path.

Both careers have similar working environments related to hours, days of the week and exposure to dangerous circumstances; the difference is the ability to transfer of the skills learned. The criminal code governing law enforcement activities, the rules of each department and the recognition of skill sets vary from state-to-state, and often even within a state. Likewise, law enforcement agencies are para-military organizations where accomplishments achieved in other law enforcement organizations are generally not transferred over. If you leave one law enforcement agency for another you are generally expected to start over again at the bottom, which is not true of medical careers. A career in medicine will allow you the challenges, excitement and interpersonal relations of a law enforcement career, without locking you into one organization.

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Long’s Answer

ER doctors saved my life. ICU doctors helped my consciousness come back. Rehabilitation staff (speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and others) worked on other skills that helped me to become who I am today.

In a nutshell, while on patrol I got into a head on crash by a drunk driver driving at 100+MPH I was going about 65MPH. Further details can be mulled over later.

I was a 4 year police officer. Now I am retired. Deservedly,aa I am being paid a pension.

All in all let my experience teach everyone something. Without risk there is no reward... I died that February day but returned to life to tell you that my career as an officer was rewarding and fun but I would have rather been a doctor that day.

Look my name up on any search engine, I should be a top hit.

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JD’s Answer

Consider both. There are numerous law enforcement jobs that also involve some type of medical activity. Like being a paramedic. There are several agencies that call themselves DPS (Department of Public Safety) which incorporates Fire, Police and EMT, but you have to check for sure, because some are just state police ticket writers (Texas DPS, for example).

I was an EMT and Patrol Corporal at the same time... it was very busy and rewarding

Good Luck

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Daniela’s Answer

Hi Gisely,

A practical way to take the doubt between a career and the other is to visit the workplace of both careers, especially personally, in order to talk to the professionals of each area;

If you have not access to these places, a tip is to make a summary of the main activities of each profession, and assign a grade on a scale of 1 to 5 for the tasks that you appreciate most in a profession. A career that get the highest score deserves your attention to try .

One idea is to search in the Internet videos that register the practice/ the daily routine of these professions.

I hope I have helped you. I wish for you all the best!

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Kim’s Answer

Hi Gisely!

We, as women, are drawn to wanting to "help people." As a retired female police officer, I watched many other female cops come and go. And when they left, the vast majority went into healthcare.
From a "street" perspective, your job as a cop is to keep people safe. Find and lock up bad guys, help people resolve petty disturbances that they can't resolve for themselves, write reports, and move on to the next call. While you can get involved in some activities during your non-working hours where you give back to the community, your time AT work is not as pretty as it is idealized to be. You will walk away from a lot of bad situations - things that you have "solved" good enough for now, but where a lot more social intervention is really needed. Sometimes you make the referrals, but the people just don't follow up.

Yes, it is nice to have people who look up to and respect you, and you will have an opportunity to make a difference in some peoples' lives, but not to the extent that we would hope for.

I enjoyed the job, but I was in a specialized department (airport). Schools also have police, so that is something to also think about. Regular street patrol is a challenge.

Medical is a lot of schooling, but, if you are feeling pulled in that direction, I would check it out.

Hope this has helped somewhat, feel free to contact me back with any questions!


Thank you for the helpful answer! Angelina P.

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