The Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security cluster uses your love of people and passion for your community to prepare for careers in law, public safety and security. Responsibilities may include protecting people from harm, crime or natural disasters. Job opportunities range from public safety officers to legal services.
Hiring of firefighters is expected to grow. Job prospects will be better for firefighters who have industry certifications and firefighter and paramedic training. The continued need for legal services will mean more lawyers will need to be hired in the next few years. Attorneys may not necessarily work at law firms. Corporations and the federal government sometimes choose to hire lawyers on staff to save money. Security guards will remain an important part of our workforce in the coming years to help protect people and property from criminals, vandalism, and terrorism.
Employment Projections: 2014-2024*
The Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security cluster employed more than 156,200 Virginians in 2014 and is expected to employ over 16,900 additional Virginia workers in 2024, for a total of about 173,200. Based on Trailblazers analysis of information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this represents 11 percent growth over the decade, far exceeding the anticipated national average growth of 5 percent among all occupations in this cluster.
*NOTE: The methodology for classifying occupations within the cluster/pathway system has been updated since the previous data cycle (2012-22), so 2014-24 Trailblazers employment projection data may not be comparable to data from previous cycles.
For more information on occupations in the Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security Cluster, visit Trailblazers – Career and Technical Education in Virginia(PDF).
|Selected Occupation(s)||Employed in Virginia
|2015 Median Wage||Predominant Level of Education|
|Security guards||32,663||$24,630||High school diploma|
|Police and sheriff’s patrol officers||18,305||$58,320||Associate degree, certification|
|Correctional officers and jailers||18,150||$40,530||Associate degree, certification|
|Paralegals and legal assistants||8,976||$48,810||Associate degree|
|Firefighters||8,640||$46,870||Associate degree, certification|
|EMTs and paramedics||4,449||$31,980||Associate degree|
|Detectives and criminal investigators||3,769||$77,210||Bachelor's degree, certification|
|Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers||3,040||$38,010||Associate degree, certification|
|Legal secretaries||3,430||$43,200||Associate degree, certification|
Wage data: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Virginia.
Employment projections data: Virginia Employment Commission, Virginia Occupational Employment Projections 2012-2022.
Predominant education level: Trailblazers through the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.
Career Cluster Planning
A resource for counselors, administrators, and educators
CTE Administrative Planning Guide (APG) – includes information to help local school divisions plan and schedule instructional programs. The APG is organized by career clusters, with a complete listing of courses, concentration sequences, and credentials available to students as they plan for career entry and continuing education. Users may access course information by cluster or by searching for specific courses or certifications.
Career Planning Guide – includes an easy way for students and counselors to look for courses to further career goals. One can search for occupations, browse by Career Clusters or favorite academic subjects.
Information and tips for instructional leaders, administrators, counselors and teachers/faculty for creating a career pathway academic and career plan of study.
- Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security Cluster Information
- Checklist for Developing Career Clusters Plans of Study (Word)
Sample Academic and Career Plans of Study
School divisions are asked to develop sample plans of study based on the courses offered within their schools, the employment needs of the region, and the post-high school educational opportunities needed for these careers. Once these sample plans are developed, they can be customized to the needs of individual students so that all students have the opportunity to have an individualized academic and career plan of study.
Sample Pathway Plans of Study for Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security:
- Correction Services (Word)
- Emergency & Fire Management Services (Word)
- Law Enforcement Services (Word)
- Legal Services (Word)
- Security & Protective Services (Word)
- Blank Plan of Study (with fields) (Word)
Also see Sample Plans of Study for all clusters and pathways.
Report: Education, Employment and Earnings: Analyzing Data from Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
Cluster Analysis Document for Virginia
Current research relative to employment sectors and information on occupation supply and demand. The information is presented in two formats: a summary brief and a detailed report.
Nontraditional Careers: Occupational and Employment Information
- Executive Summary – Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security in Virginia (PDF)
- Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security in Virginia (PDF)
The Career Clusters logo and its extensions are the property of the National Career Technical Foundation, as managed by NASDCTEc. Some content on this page is from the publication, R U College & Career Ready? - 2017 Edition; and is used here with permission from the Virginia Business Publications LLC and Trailblazers in the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.