How to Become a Police Officer
A career in law enforcement can be a fulfilling and exciting path. Becoming a police officer is no easy task, but by following the steps below, you can start your journey to a career in law enforcement.
Steps to Becoming a Police Officer:
- Research the job. Before getting into the field, it’s important to understand what a police officer’s job entails. In addition to patrolling and enforcing laws, they must also write reports, respond to emergencies, and conduct investigations.
- Meet the requirements. In the United States, applicants must meet certain qualifications, such as: being a U.S. citizen, being 21 years old, and having a high school diploma or GED.
- Pass a background check. Police officers are trusted with upholding laws and keeping civilians safe, so most departments require that applicants have no criminal record. background checks also include reviews of one’s driving history and credit report.
- Complete the necessary training. Successful candidates will be required to complete basic police training. Depending on the agency, training can range from 10 weeks to 6 months and include physical training, weapons training, and classes in laws, regulations, civil rights and defensive tactics.
- Find the right department. Once the applicant is ready, they need to find a department hiring and apply. Job postings will usually include the required qualifications, area of specialty, and salary.
- Pass the exams. Most departments require that applicants pass written, physical, psychological, and medical exams in order to qualify for a position.
- Obtain a license. When all the requirements have been met, applicants must obtain a license from their respective state’s governing body.
Following all of these steps can be time consuming, but a career in law enforcement is worth the effort. Knowing that you will be helping your community can be a great reward for all the hard work put in.