Parking Enforcement Officer: Job Duties, Requirements and Outlook

If you've ever returned to your car to find a parking ticket stuck under the windshield wiper, you've encountered a parking enforcement officer. Although parking is sometimes monitored by police officers, many cities, towns and private businesses hire individuals to enforce local parking rules.

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Job Duties of a Parking Enforcement Officer

Parking enforcement officers' primary responsibility is to ensure that drivers comply with local parking laws and ordinances and issue citations for violations. Most officers are assigned to a particular geographic area, which they patrol and monitor for violations, such as parking in a no-parking zone, expired meters and other types of illegal parking. Depending on the municipality, officers may also be responsible for collecting the money in the parking meters.

When drivers violate parking laws, the parking enforcement officer issues a warning or citation. If the vehicle has unpaid parking tickets, the officer may attach a boot or other locking device and notify a towing company. The officer is responsible for preparing reports and filing paperwork about violations, and may need to assist police officers in the event of an accident.

In some municipalities, parking enforcement officers may be assigned to work at special events, such as sporting events or festivals, to direct traffic and ensure parking is efficient and safe. Parking officers, because of their visibility in the city, also interact with the public, providing answers to questions about parking, directions or other information about the area.

Job Requirements

The specific requirements for becoming a parking enforcement officer vary by employer, but in general, this position requires applicants to be at least 18 years old and have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. A thorough knowledge of local parking laws and ordinances is required, as is the ability to navigate the city or town efficiently. Some municipalities may require parking enforcement officers to be a legal resident or take a civil service examination.

In addition to education requirements, parking officers should be in good physical shape, since the position often requires a lot of walking, and have a valid driver's license, since they may need to travel by car to different parts of their assigned patrol area. Reading comprehension and math skills are required, as is the ability to clearly articulate a parking violation and communicate with others politely and professionally.

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wage for parking enforcement officers was $37,220 in 2013 (www.bls.gov). Many parking enforcement officers were employed by municipal governments - individual towns, cities or counties - but colleges, universities and state governments can also employ parking enforcement officers.

The BLS projected to see little or no change in employment growth for parking enforcement workers between 2012 and 2022. There should be about 2,800 new jobs gained in this time period.

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