A police officer’s guide to leaving the profession


Police work is challenging.   It involves long hours, stressful working conditions and dealing with difficult people.  Also, many police officers retire and feel they still have something to offer.  We’ve selected a few jobs from the https://www.careers.govt.nz/  website that might appeal to officers considering leaving the force.

Counselling and Therapy

People who are good with people, have a natural empathy for others and are interested in helping others get through difficult times in their lives, make great counsellors. In order to become a counsellor, though, you’ll have to study towards degree-level qualifications in the field. You’ll also have to become registered in order to get a job.

According to Auckland Region DHBs/PSA, 2020 and Ministry of Education, 2021, with up to five years’ experience you can earn $51K-$72K per year, while senior counsellors with more experience and responsibility usually earn $72K-$113K per year.


If you’re interested in helping people in natural disasters and other emergency situations you could become a paramedic.  This is a great path for anyone who enjoys helping others and is good in stressful situations.

Paramedics assess and treat people who are seriously ill or injured, and transport them to hospital if necessary.  Paramedics with up to five years’ experience usually earn $74K-$76K per year.  Intensive care paramedics usually earn $83K-$89K per year (Source: St John and Wellington Free Ambulance, 2019).  You will need to study for a tertiary qualification.

Emergency Response

Alternatively, you could consider a role as am emergency management officer.  You would be responsible for preparing for and responding to emergencies like earthquakes and weather events. You would also train communities to prepare for disasters. 

Emergency management officers with up to three years’ experience can earn $66K-$79K per year, while those with three or more years’ experience usually earn $79K-$95K per year (Source: Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, 2018).

Emergency management officers are usually trained on the job and complete short courses in emergency management subjects.  A Postgraduate Diploma in Emergency Management can be completed by distance learning to advance your career. 

Freelance Writing

If you enjoy writing, you might be able to make a very good living by becoming a freelance writer. You can write for the media, create your own blog or write articles for websites.  If you can develop a specialist niche from your police experience, this could make you very marketable.  You don’t need qualifications, just good writing skills and the ability to network to convince others that you are THE expert in the field.

 Network Security Analyst

If you are interested in computer security and have a computer science background, you can make a very good living as a network security analyst. It’s a great option for those who like computers and hacking, but want to use their skills for good.

Security analysts monitor and assess risks and security alerts, and identify and manage security breaches.  They usually earn $120K-$160K per year (Source: Recruit I.T., 2021).

There are no specific requirements to become a security analyst. However, you usually need a diploma or degree, preferably in an IT-related subject such as network engineering, computer science or cyber security.

Another computer-related role to investigate is penetration tester which involves investigating security weaknesses in online systems and databases.  The role of a security consultant involves identifying security weaknesses in information technology (IT), advising on IT security, and designing IT security systems.

Health and Safety Inspector

Health and safety inspectors assess workplaces and work activities to determine if employers are keeping workers and other people safe and healthy at work. They also educate people about health and safety, investigate accidents and lead prosecutions.

Trainee and newly warranted health and safety inspectors usually earn $61K-$66K per year, while fully trained health and safety inspectors with at least five years’ experience usually earn $76K-$93K per year (Source: WorkSafe New Zealand, 2017).


There are many great alternative jobs for retiring police officers who want to help others.  Visit the excellent website https://www.careers.govt.nz/ for details of more careers that might just right for you.