Is becoming a police officer right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
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How to become a Police Officer
Most police departments require applicants to hold a high school diploma or equivalent. However, it is becoming more common for departments to expect some college education; many agencies will not accept applicants without an associate degree. There are now many technical school programs that offer certificates or two-year degrees in law enforcement. For prospective police officers pursuing a bachelor's degree, criminal justice programs are available at many four-year institutions. Even if it is not necessary for police work, having a bachelor's degree is a back-up plan for many officers; they have one of the top five most dangerous jobs, and in some cases field work may result in career-ending injuries.
In addition to education, there are often height, weight, age, and other physical restrictions for potential police officers. Generally, they must be 21 or older to apply to a police department or agency. They must be in top physical condition and be able to pass standard eyesight and hearing tests.
After meeting these requirements, prospective police officers must pass a series of written tests in order to assess their psychological condition and analytical skills. This is to ensure that the officers have the mental stability to handle the emotional stress of police work. Background checks are also a standard in the industry.
Still more training is required after a police officer is accepted into an agency. The department usually has its own form of training, usually held in formal police academies. New recruits are subjected to rigorous mental and physical tests before being granted their first assignments. Even after being placed in a department, officers may receive training for three to twelve months while on the job.