Enrolling in police academy training is not the only way to become a police officer or state trooper in the state of Minnesota. All cadets are accepted through a three-stage process that involves pre-training education, standardized testing, and then academy selection. There are over 8,000 police officers working in Minnesota and their range of duties can vary greatly from one another. Some officers work in municipal districts, others patrol highways, and specialized officers are employed to monitor wildlife usage and preservation, such as fish and game wardens or park rangers. There are many reasons to become a police officer, but it is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country and must be treated as such. Only cadets with the right motivation will make it through the rigorous training process and ultimately find satisfaction in the work they do.
Qualifications for Police Training
As mentioned, there are three steps to becoming a police officer in Minnesota. First, all applicants must complete pre-service training and instruction. There are two-year or four-year degrees in law enforcement or criminal justice that will qualify an applicant for selection. These degrees can be completed at any Professional Peace Officer program in the state. There are also certificate training programs which are shorter. After completing a degree or certificate, applicants must take the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) licensing test. Passing this test will certify applicants to apply for their license through police agencies in Minnesota. Police academies accept applications but also appreciate referrals from ranking members of the force. All cadets must be at least 21 years old, a citizen of the United States, and hold a valid driver’s license. The academy hiring agency will screen applicants based along several parameters and background checks are thorough. Any candidate with a history of violent or drug-related misdemeanors may be disqualified, and a felony on record will automatically disqualify an applicant. Financial history is also important and a bad credit score or large, outstanding debts will reflect poorly on an application. There are also physical qualifications related to fitness and strength, and these are evaluated through several rigorous tests at the academy.
Popular Police Training Academies
There are many places to complete police degrees and certificates, such as community colleges and state universities. But technically, there are no police academies in the traditional sense of a training institution. There are 25 programs at colleges and universities approved to offer police training, and within these, some offer only the academic requirements and others offer the complete battery of training skills. The most popular programs that will fully qualify a cadet for the licensing exam can be found at Alexandria Technical College, Minnesota West Technical & Community College, Hennepin Technical College, and Fond Du Lac Technical & Community College. There are many additional options, and it will be easier to decide which degree program to choose based on your location and learning preferences.