Watch Officer

Monitor criminal suspect's phone or internet to discover evidence.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$18,000 – $55,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Watch Officers do?

It’s a fact of life that people like to brag to their friends and families about their accomplishments. When the braggers are known criminals, however, their words can be turned against them, and they can be held accountable for their crimes. Their use of computers and telephones can make it easier for Law Enforcement Officers to find and detain them before they commit more atrocities.

That’s where a Watch Officer comes in. Watch Officers scour the internet and telephone lines to find and stop criminals.

You may work as a Watch Officer for the government, or for a private firm that does work under the direction of the government. You’re given a set of people to watch for, or a certain series of phrases to keep track of. You monitor many communication lines at one time, including internet chat rooms, email accounts, and telephone transmission lines.

The goal is to look for the people or phrases you’ve been given. If you find someone you’ve been asked to look for, you notify your Supervisor right away.

You may be asked to write reports about trends you notice, such as an increase in the use of a particular word or phrase, or the reappearance of a person you were told was no longer a threat. You use your accurate recordkeeping to write your reports, and you don’t exaggerate anything you’ve found.

You will not be able to talk about your work with anyone, including family members and friends. This can make you seem dull and uninteresting at parties. Consider adding a dog or cat to your family so you’ll have something to talk about.


Should I be a Watch Officer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to become a Watch Officer

    Watch Officers generally graduate from high school and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate’s degree to increase your chances of finding a good job. Check out these schools offering Watch Officer-related education!
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