Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

What Do You Need to be a Police Officer?

Majors Overview February 19, 2013

As a first responder to emergencies and other crimes, police officers arrest and pursue perpetrators, ensure civilian safety and contain situations. Investigations are conducted by officers at crime scenes that could involve determining potential suspects, obtaining evidence and talking to witnesses. Individuals need to meet educational and physical requirements along with completion of a state-approved police academy training program to become a police officer.

Stage One: Postsecondary Education

Prospective police officers are required to hold at least a high school diploma or equivalent educational qualification (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). A majority of law enforcement agencies that employ police officers prefer applicants to have completed some post-secondary courses before they allow them to enter the police academy. Some police officer positions require individuals to earn an undergraduate degree, but it will vary depending on the department. Most aspiring police officers seek admission to police science or criminal justice degree programs. Criminal justice degree programs impart coursework that includes subject areas such as constitutional rights, law enforcement strategies, evidence gathering, and criminology. Similar coursework is in police science degree programs; however, students enrolled in these programs have more majors to select from, such as crime scene investigations and police administration. Additionally, applicants to some police science degree programs are required to concurrently enroll in the police academy.

Stage Two: Pass Physical Exams and Background Checks

Applicants to police academy are required to undergo a comprehensive background check that could in some states include a check on the individual’s credit history, a review of his or her criminal record and interviews of their family members and acquaintances. An applicant must also submit to physical examinations, including an individual’s sense of sight and hearing, and verification of their overall agility, dexterity, stamina and strength. A psychiatric evaluation is also completed in some states to test the ability of the applicant to handle stress.

Stage Three: Select an Area of Specialty

Several specialty departments are contained in a police station, including organized crime, narcotics and property crimes. Prospective police officers may be recruited for employment in any of these specialty departments; accordingly those enrolled in the police academy may have to take additional coursework. However, such specialty training is not given at every police academy and individuals would need to compare various academy programs before they zero in on their most suitable option. Apart from specialty departments, some applicants may also seek employment in particular locations. Thus, individuals could select to do law enforcement on highways and freeways by joining the highway sheriff’s or patrol’s department, or choose to work for universities, towns or cities at the local level. Federal and state police positions are available, but usually require additional experience and training. Individuals who are interested in working for the locations previously mentioned are required to complete additional training programs instead of basic police academy training program.

Stage Four: Police Academy Completion

Police academy needs to be completed by individuals who want to become a police officer. Police academy requirements vary from state to state, and prospective police officers who have received out-of-state training may need to satisfy state requirements by taking additional courses. Police academy training programs are divided into two sections by many institutions, namely, classroom instruction and physical training. Coursework in classrooms focuses on police technology, first aid, police skills and patrolling procedures. Self-defense, defensive driving, escorting criminals, firearms techniques, and strength and stamina building are the areas covered in physical training.

Showing schools in your area

Matching School Ads
3 Program(s) Found
  • Interested in enhancing your skills and knowledge in the criminal justice field? Learn more at GCU!
  • GCU promotes interdisciplinary studies and research while developing valued skills in the justice workplace.
  • Develop collaborative and analytical skills through a rigorous educational environment and Christian worldview.
  • GCU's master's and bachelor's degrees prepare students to change lives, enhance communities and ensure the fair treatment of community members.
  • Gain the analytical skills and legal expertise needed to evaluate individuals and take charge in a professional legal setting.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Online Courses
2 Program(s) Found
  • Earn your Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - 100% online
  • Courses include Introduction to Law Enforcement, Criminal Law and Procedures, and Criminology
  • Program focuses on theoretical and applied criminal justice, the role of law enforcement in the justice system, and more
  • South University brings over 115 years of achievement and tradition to a supportive, online classroom
  • We're now Non-Profit.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • View Associates, Bachelors or Graduate Degree Programs in Criminal Justice and Law Near YOU!
  • Enter YOUR Needs and Requirements and Get Matched to the Perfect Campus or Online Degree Programs for You.
  • Free information for Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Psychology, Homeland Security, and Law Enforcement Degree Programs and MORE.
  • Accredited, Flexible Criminal Justice and Law Degree Programs to Fit Your Time and Budget. Use our Matching Service - It's Easy and FREE!
  • Online Courses

Showing schools in your area

Matching School Ads
3 Program(s) Found
  • Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
  • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
  • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both!
  • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
  • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
  • Quality: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is regionally accredited. Learn more today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Online Courses
2 Program(s) Found
  • Online Bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, Psychology, IT, Healthcare Management & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
  • Provide a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services
  • Give students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
  • We're now Non-Profit.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • eLearners.com Helps You Find the Right College within Minutes.
  • Get Matched to the Perfect Criminal Justice Degree Programs From Top Colleges Here.
  • Learn at your own pace and Get qualified to pursue a career you'll love.
  • Answer a few questions and you are one step closer to enroll in a Top College!
  • Online Courses

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!