Law and Public Service

Explore Local and FBI Criminal Justice jobs, Paralegal Jobs, and First Responder Jobs as Exciting and Rewarding Careers in Law Enforcement

The Law and Public Service Career Cluster focuses on planning, managing, and providing legal services, public safety, and homeland security. CTE students examine the roles of police, courts, corrections, private security, and fire and emergency services. 

The Department of Public Safety enforces laws to protect public safety and to provide for crime prevention.  A career as a public safety officer can include a police officer, crime scene investigator, firefighter, EMT, or bailiff.

For extra experience in high school, students can join criminal justice clubs or attend court hearings and other legal procedures.  The Texas Public Service Association offers students knowledge, skills, and leadership through real-world experience, training, and competition. Law Enforcement Today is a resource for current events in law enforcement.  Another option for experience in high school is to attend local council and board meetings to explore more law and public service career options.

Some public service jobs can help employees pay off college student loans. Employees of U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organizations might be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The PSLF Program forgives the balance on direct loans after 120 qualifying monthly payments. (US Dept of Education)

Public Safety and Law Enforcement

The Law Enforcement program of study educates CTE students about the various branches of law. Students learn how to legally respond to breaches in the law as well as investigate how and why the breaches occurred. 

Criminal justice jobs are always in demand, and CTE students can begin to prepare for FBI careers or state jobs in the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

Law Enforcement Officers, Police Detectives, Private Investigators, and Security Guard Jobs

CTE courses introduce careers in law enforcement as police officers and detectives, as well as jobs in private security. The private security profession includes personal protection officers, armed and unarmed security guards, private investigators, alarm system installers, armored car couriers, and locksmiths. (Texas Dept of Public Safety

The Texas Department of Public Safety regulates the private security profession in Texas including licensing, such as a private investigator license, by conducting fingerprint-based background checks on applicants and handling investigations into complaints.  

Students interested in how to become a private investigator or police detective can begin in basic high school law enforcement classes. 

Probation Officers, Correctional Officers, and Bailiffs

Parole officers and probation officers, including juvenile probation officers, supervise offenders who have been put on probation. The probation office also provides these individuals with tools and direction by connecting them with available resources. (Cliquez Justice)  A typical probation officer salary averages around $55,000/year. (BLS)

Correctional officers, or jailers, typically enforce rules and keep order within jails or prisons. A correctional officer supervises inmate activities and inspects facilities to ensure that they meet security and safety standards. 

Court officials, like bailiffs, keep order in courtrooms and handle errands for the judge and clerk. The typical annual salary for both correctional officers and bailiffs is around $48,000. (BLS)

Other Public Safety Workers- Immigration Inspectors and Protective Services

Public safety work encompasses many fields like immigration and protective public services, and CTE students can decide which pathway interests them.  They can choose to help keep the borders safe or help individuals who need extra protection.

Immigration inspectors control and guard the borders of the United States against the illegal entry of aliens. An immigration officer determines the nationality and identity of each applicant for admission and prevents the entry of ineligible visitors, including criminals, terrorists, and drug traffickers. (US Customs and Border Patrol

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) works to promote safe, healthy families and protect children and adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  The department achieves this through investigations, services, referrals, and prevention programs. 

Adult protective services protect the elderly and people with disabilities through investigations and services. Child protective services protect children from abuse and neglect through services, foster care, and adoption.

Legal Studies

The Legal Studies program of study introduces CTE students to occupations related to criminal and civil litigation and legal proceedings, as well as assisting lawyers and preparing legal documents.

Political Science and Court Systems

The study of political science focuses on the theory and practice of government and politics at the local, state, national, and international levels. 

Texas’ court system is made up of three levels:
Trial: These local courts handle the majority of legal matters in Texas. 
Appellate:  If a party is unhappy with the outcome of their case, they can appeal it. The appellate court reviews the trial court’s work and decides whether to consider the appeal. 
Supreme: These courts consider cases that are appealed from the lower courts. The Texas Supreme Court hears civil appeals, while the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals hears criminal cases, including death penalty appeals. (TAMU Library)

CTE courses in political science and legal studies give students the foundation to enter court system careers.

Legal Assistant and Paralegal Jobs

What is a Paralegal and What is a Legal Assistant?

Legal assistant jobs and paralegal jobs are similar to one another. They do legal research, draft pleadings, draw contracts and leases, as well as other court and legal documents. They help with trial preparation and assist clients by answering questions. (Balance Careers)

The average legal assistant salary and paralegal salary is the same, around $56,000/ year. (BLS)

CTE programs help students prepare for and receive a paralegal certificate while in high school.

Criminal Lawyer, Family Law Attorney or Divorce Lawyer, Immigration Lawyer, Personal Injury Lawyer

High school Legal Studies CTE programs can provide a foundation of legal knowledge for those students who are interested in how to become a lawyer.  The programs can introduce students to the different types of attorneys and specialties.

Criminal lawyers defend individuals who have been accused of committing a crime. They research and present their findings in court to negotiate a plea bargain or settlement or gain the defendant's freedom. (College Dekho)

Family Law Attorneys specialize in matters to do with family law and legal issues concerning members of a family. These legal issues include divorce, child custody, and guardianship. (Lawyers Referral Service)

Immigration lawyers specialize in interpreting US immigration law and guide their immigrant clients through the complicated immigration process. Immigration lawyers help those who experience difficulties related to immigration requirements, and they represent their clients during deportation hearings. (Legal Match)

Personal Injury Attorneys are civil litigators who represent clients alleging psychological or physical injury as a result of negligence or careless acts by a person, company, government agency, or organization. This includes defamation and actions of bad faith or breach of contract to a person’s reputation, rights, or property. (Beedam Law)

Government and Public Administration

The Government and Public Administration program of study explores the occupations associated with conformity with laws and regulations. This program of study explores comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of jurisdictions like cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

Diplomacy refers to representatives of different groups discussing issues like conflict, trade, the environment, technology, or security. (National Geographic)

In the Government section of the Law and Public Service CTE Cluster, students learn the basics of diplomacy, which lays a foundation for understanding more specific areas of government.

A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a financial advisor that helps individuals, businesses, and other organizations plan their financial goals.  CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs. The main differences between accountants and CPAs are education, experience, and opportunity. (AICPA)

CTE programs offer students opportunities to prepare for the CPA exam and work toward future CPA certification.

Jobs in Taxes- Tax Appraiser, Tax Assessor, Tax Examiner, Tax Collector

The tax examiner determines how much is owed in taxes and collects tax from individuals and businesses on behalf of federal, state, and local governments. The tax collector works with the tax collectors office to review tax returns, conduct audits, identify taxes owed, and collect overdue tax payments. (BLS

A tax appraiser evaluates one property at a time. But a tax assessor (sometimes called a county assessor) estimates the value of an entire neighborhood of homes or buildings at once.  The assessments determine how much property tax owners pay to the city or county in which the properties are located. (TAC)

Each county is responsible for appraising all real and business personal property within its appraisal district.  For example, The Bexar County Tax Appraisal District and the Harris County Tax Appraisal District.

Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Inspector, Appraiser

CTE students have opportunities in high school to begin a pathway to real estate careers by preparing for a license as an Appraiser, Real Estate Broker/Sales Agent, or General Real Estate Inspector.

Real estate agents have a license to help people buy, sell, and rent real estate. Brokers are real estate agents who have completed additional training and licensing requirements. Real estate brokers can work independently and hire other real estate agents to work for them. (Investopedia)

The Property Appraiser has the legal responsibility to discover the market value set by activity in the real estate marketplace and to appraise property accordingly. The real estate appraiser’s job is to provide taxing authorities with accurate property valuations for property tax purposes. (PCPAO)

A real estate inspector, or home inspector, visually inspects the structure and components of a home and looks for any problems. Home inspectors provide a written report to the homeowner with a description of problem areas and recommendations for further evaluation.  A home inspection includes checking things like foundation, structural components, roof, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. (State Farm)

Emergency Services

The Emergency Services program of study focuses on training CTE learners to respond to emergency situations, such as medical and fire-based emergencies. Students learn how to prevent emergencies, respond appropriately during crises, and investigate and delineate the source of the emergency.

Fire Department

Fire Protection Services include fire suppression, communications, training of persons involved in fire protection, rescue, and emergency services.  This includes firefighters, fire inspectors, and fire investigators.

For students wanting to become a firefighter, the first step is to research the local firehouse and speak to firefighters about the job description, state requirements, fire alarm protocol, importance of firefighter gear, etc.  Volunteer in the fire department. Most firefighters attend post-secondary school training in a technical school, college, or firefighting academy. Firefighters average around $50,000 per year. (Fire Science)

 

CTE students learn the basics of fire protection in high school while earning a Basic Structure Fire Protection Certification.

Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedic, Emergency Telecommunicator

Emergency Medical Technicians, or EMTs, and paramedics respond to emergency calls, perform medical services, and transport patients to medical facilities.  EMT training includes a postsecondary educational EMT program. EMTs and paramedics are required to be licensed. (BLS)

Emergency Telecommunicators operate telephone, radio, or other communication systems to receive requests for emergency assistance at 9-1-1 operations centers.

CTE programs and EMT classes offer students the opportunity to earn their EMT certification or Emergency Telecommunication certificate in high school.

City of Houston Jobs and City of San Antonio Jobs

Public service jobs are always in demand.  Find local government jobs online.

Explore regional CTE programs