How to Become a Police Officer
Becoming a police officer is a rigorous process involving multiple testing and evaluation stages. Expect the following during police hiring:
- Meet the basic requirements: Before becoming a police officer, you typically need to be a U.S. citizen, have a high school diploma or GED, and be at least 21 years old.
- Complete an application: Most police departments require candidates to complete an application and submit it along with their resume and any required documents, such as transcripts and certifications.
- Pass a written exam: Many police departments require candidates to take a written exam to assess their knowledge of basic skills, such as reading comprehension, math, and reasoning.
- Pass a physical fitness test: Police officers need to be physically fit, so most departments require candidates to pass a fitness test that includes exercises such as running, push-ups, and sit-ups.
- Pass a background check: Police departments typically conduct a thorough background check on candidates, which may include a criminal history check, credit check, and interviews with friends, family, and colleagues.
- Attend a police academy: If you are chosen to become a police officer, you’ll have to attend a police academy to receive training in law enforcement procedures, firearms, and other essential skills.
- Complete on-the-job training: After completing the police academy, you will likely undergo on-the-job training with a more experienced officer before being assigned to your own beat.
To stand out during police hiring, you must be dedicated and committed to serving your community.