How To Become A Police Officer
A guide on how to become a police officer
Eyeing a career in law enforcement? Then one route you'll want to consider is becoming a police officer. It's a tough job and many will say the pay is not enough. But if you have a strong desire for public service by way of keeping peace and order, then your rewards will come, perhaps not in the form of monetary compensation, but a far deeper satisfaction.
So what does it take to be a cop, and a good one at that? The most fundamental would be a strong physical and moral constitution. Becoming a cop means you need to be in tip-top shape and will in fact have to pass a rigid physical examination.
Integrity and honesty are also characteristics that must be deeply rooted in your person before even contemplating on how to become a cop. Temptations are great and many when you assume a position of authority so a strong moral compass is necessary.
How to become a police officer Step 1: Minimum eligibility requirements
No, it's not enough to have been dreaming of becoming a police officer since you were a young kid. It's good motivation, but you will still need education and training before donning those blues. You need to meet some police officer qualifications.
So you better finish high school, and for good measure be active in some physical-related activities and earn good grades, too. You'll need to be between 18 to 20 years old (depending on the state) and without a criminal record. That's the minimum requirements for becoming a police officer.
Police officer training may begin at the police academy, but if you want to have an advantage over others, you can do that by earning at least an associate degree in criminal justice. That way you'll have some idea about human behavior, legal issues and computer systems aside from getting an overview of all aspects of criminal justice. This is especially necessary if you intend to work for federal or state law enforcement agencies.
How to become a police officer Step 2: Tests and more tests
To become a police officer, you'll need to pass a battery of competitive tests, both written and physical. A background check will definitely be run on you, so if you've got extensive traffic violations, drug convictions or committed other indiscretions that are on record, then your chances of starting a police officer career greatly diminishes.
You'd better bone up for a civil service examination, which is usually administered by the police department, where you hope to apply. Understand that all these police officer exams are over and above any that will be required while you are training or getting an education and you must pass all of them.
How to become a police officer Step 3: Training and certification
The last step in how to become a police officer before you actually become a rookie cop is passing the training from a police academy. Once accepted by a law enforcement agency, you are required to undergo between 12 to 14 weeks of police academy training that will include both classroom instruction and rigorous physical preparation.
There you will learn constitutional law and civil rights, state laws and local ordinances and accident investigation, as the most basic courses. First aid and emergency response, patrol, traffic control, firearms usage and self-defense are also core components in police academy training.
Once you complete a comprehensive certified police officer training, then you can begin serving as law enforcer in your community or state.
In Texas, you must be certified by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education or receive what is known as the TCLEOSE certification before becoming eligible to serve as peace officer.
Want to know how to become a police officer in Califonia? California has the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training or POST, which set the minimum standards for police training in the state.
Want to know how to become a cop in Florida? The first step is to take its Basic Abilities Test or BAT to measure written comprehension and expression, information processing, spatial orientation, memorization, problem sensitivity and inductive and deductive reasoning. Only new recruits who pass the BAT will move on to the basic recruit training course either at colleges or universities or at the headquarters of larger sheriff's departments.
How to become a police officer: opportunities that await you
After successfully completing police officer training, you're going to be hunting for available opportunities suited for your skills and abilities. You may have already chosen your career path prior to beginning your education and training but it will be reinforced once you are really on the job.
You can choose to become police officers at the state or local levels, apply as detective with the law enforcement agency, or work at the sheriff's department. You'll like start as patrol officer then work your way up with experience, expertise and continuing education. The police officer job description may vary depending on your position and place of employment.
What's the average police officer salary? That's around $55,180 a year for police officers. Work your way to becoming police chiefs, sergeants and lieutenants and you can rack up more than $83,000. Considering the stress and level of difficulty, plus the hazards of the job, it may seem insufficient but knowing you were part of the team that serves and protects the citizenry can more than make up for the deficit.
Now that you know how to become a police officer, click below to request free information from police academies near you.
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