Crime doesn't stop during a recession, and while state and municipal budget crunches have translated into temporary hiring freezes at many departments, these freezes won't last long. Opportunities will be plentiful for candidates with a related four-year degree, especially at local departments. Competition is a little stiffer at the state and federal level. The job is inherently dangerous. Yet if enforcement is your cup of tea, once you're in, you can't beat the job security and benefits. A starting cop in San Francisco makes between $78,000 and $104,000 a year and is eligible for retirement at age 50 with a pension equal to 90% of a final year's pay. That's one of the best cop gigs out there; pay starts around $41,000 in New York City, for example. But things like health insurance and retirement plans are generally first-rate at big departments. If you've served in the military, you may be eligible for additional benefits, like counting your years in the service as years with the department for purposes of retirement and pension.