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Becoming a Police Officer

The process of becoming a police officer can be very different for each individual. There are many reasons to enlist in law enforcement, but it is a profession that requires a lot of quantitative and qualitative characteristics. For example, a police officer must be at least 21 and be able to complete physical trials within time limits, but they must also be morally-upright, courageous, and determined. There are many careers in law enforcement, and becoming a police officer can lead to many opportunities in the future.

Though it is not necessary to have a college degree, obtaining a higher level of education is extremely beneficial to your chances of being accepted into a basic training program. Nowadays, many applicants complete college degrees in law enforcement or criminal justice to ensure higher chances of acceptance. Because the applicant pool has increasingly more college-educated cadets, it may be more difficult to obtain a position at the police academy without a degree. Not only for admissions to basic training, these degrees can be beneficial for career advancement and reaching higher positions on the force. In many states, the minimum age for police recruits is 21, which means that there is plenty of time to complete your education.

But not all officers are college educated. There are also many recruits that have highly-competitive applications and no degrees. Another favorable qualification for cadets is military experience. After completing service in the armed forces, it is possible to continue serving your country and promote public good in your community. Military experience is favored because it demonstrates the ability to stay focused in high pressure situations and an understanding of the chain of command.

Many police recruiting agencies do not have rolling application periods. There are specific training dates and all applications must be in before the deadline. The best way to be offered a position in the force is to express interest and volunteer your time with police. It is possible to schedule ride-alongs or department visits to meet real police officers and gain experience with the day-to-day routines of law enforcement. Police academies generally accept recruits based on the number of openings on the force, and the cadets that are accepted into basic first usually come highly recommended from other police departments. Once you are accepted into basic, it is extremely important to commit yourself to training. There are many cadets that are turned away, and giving up would be a disservice to the many recruits that were not given the same opportunity. After making it through all the trials and challenges, you will be able to serve your community and make a positive difference in the lives of the public you serve.

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