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Requirements to Become a Police Officer

Majors Overview February 12, 2013

The responsibilities of police offers are maintaining peace and enforcing laws within communities. Along with earning a high school diploma, police academy offers training to police officers. There are some police officers who complete degree programs in criminal justice or law enforcement. In this article, we will take a close look at the training requirements that need to be satisfied by police officers who wants to pursue this career field.

Stage one: Meeting Basic Requirements

Police officers are required by most police departments to hold a high school diploma or equivalent qualification. Applicants for the job are required by most police stations to be at least twenty-one years of age though some employ them directly from high school and make them undergo training until they turn twenty-one, so they can begin to work as police officers. A clean record, U.S. citizenship and ownership of a valid driving license are other mandatory requirements.

Stage Two: Completing Undergraduate Education

Completion of an associate or bachelor degree program in a related discipline, such as law enforcement or criminal justice, will improve the chances for an aspiring police officer to land the job. While formal education is not cited as necessary by many departments, it would unquestionably improve the chances of a candidate being hired. Federal and state agencies generally mandate college education as a necessary criterion for prospective police officers. Degree holders are more likely to rise quickly up the career ladder than those who do not hold a degree in a relevant field. Police officers employed in some departments can get their tuition fees refunded, if they chose to complete degree programs in pertinent focus areas.

Stage Three: Police Academy Training

Majority of police officers will receive training from some form of police academy. Recruits will be sent to their own police academies by large police departments. Smaller precincts could send newly hired employees to attend larger academies as well. It typically takes around three to four months to complete the academy program that combine hands-on and classroom physical training. Academies cover general instruction such as:

•Criminal psych
•Constitutional law
•Crime investigation
•Incident reporting
•State and local laws
•Civil rights

Potential police officers are prepared for active duty through police academy training. Recruits are given experience in real-life situations under supervision. Police academy teaches students general requirements including:

•Traffic command
•Self-defense
•Firearm use
•First-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation
•Emergency and accident response
•Patrol, subject apprehension, and risk assessment

Stage Four: Passing Applicable Exams

Gaining a position on the police force is made possible for a prospective candidate by passing several exams that a police academy administers. Physical tests of agility, hearing, vision and strength are also administered by many divisions. Background or psychiatric interviews are also conducted to help with assessing the personal characteristics of a recruit and their suitability for employment in the field. Passing the lie detector and drug tests is also mandatory.

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