According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are at least 800,000 currently keeping the country safe. With crimes and dangers becoming more prevalent in the society, more people are encouraged to join the force. Here are the steps to become a certified police officer. (1)
Steps On Becoming A Police Officer
Step 1: Earn A High School Diploma Or GED
A high school diploma is a critical requirement for everybody who wishes to join the police officer. Graduating high school is a good indicator that you have adequate knowledge of various essential subjects such as science and communication. Some police departments, however, require their applicants to have graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
If getting a high school diploma is not an option, most departments are willing to accept General Education Development certificates instead. Most states offer GED exams through their GED Testing Services. It is recognized as high school diploma equivalent. The requirements for applying for the GED exams are available on GED.com.
Getting a bachelor’s degree, however, can make you a more attractive applicant for police departments. It can also give you leverage when negotiating a higher salary with your superiors. Lastly, getting a promotion is easier for police officers with a high school diploma.
Step 2: Complete All Minimum Requirements
The first requirement to be able to apply for police officership is to show a proof of your US citizenship. You will also need to prove that you are at least 18 years of age. Take note, however, that some states require their applicants to be at least 21 years old. Minimum age requirements are to make sure that one is mentally and morally mature to work as a cop.
Last, but not the least, an applicant has to prove that they have previous criminal conviction. Some states may be lenient as long as the crime can be considered as something minor. Felonies or crimes, on the other hand, have no chance to be pardoned. Hence, they will automatically disqualify you from being a police officer.
Step 3: Take The Law Enforcement Exam
After completing all the minimum requirements, the next thing that you would need to do is to take the Law Enforcement Examination. You can apply for this exam through your state’s Civil Service Commission.
It will test your mental and moral capacity to become a police officer; so, make sure to take some review classes before applying. The exam will limit future cops to the best of the best. Some of the subjects included in the LEE are mathematics, logic, science, communication, and more.
Step 4: Graduate From The Police Academy
If you are good enough to pass the LEE, you may now enroll in a police academy. Some subjects thought in police academies include Criminal Law, Cultural Diversity, Investigative Procedures, Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Leadership, Ethics, and more.
Other than in-class lectures, you will also experience simulations meant to depict real-life situations as close as possible. This is for you to know how to act and react once you start working as a police officer.