How to Become a Police Officer

Have you considered a career in law enforcement? Most people who are drawn to this career have a desire to serve the public and have a reliable income. The application process can be lengthy and the training rigorous but if you have a true desire to serve, the road will be well worth it. This article will give you more insight into how to become a police officer.

Job prospects are looking quite good at the current time and into the foreseeable future. With the advancing retirement of hoards of Baby Boomers, many police departments will be hiring rapidly in the next several years. You can expect your starting pay to differ quite a bit based on where you will be working. There are about 18,000 police departments across the country and salary may range from about $36,000 per year to $44,000 a year, depending on the area.



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As far as steps to becoming a police officer, you may be riquired to have a high school diploma and perhaps some college education in the criminal justice field. You will also undergo a background check so your criminal record should be fairly clean. You can be rejected for such things as drug offenses or even multiple traffic violations. If you pass the background check, you will also need to undergo several rounds of testing. You need to pass some basic psychological, medical and physical strength and agility tests in order to be considered. This can also affect whether you are admitted to a city or state police academy.

If you want to know how to become a police officer, then I should also warn you that competition can be fierce. Most applicants never make it through the initial screening process but if you make it that far, you will likely succeed in your training and actually become a police officer. The academy program may range from 12 weeks to a year for completion and will cover many areas including firearms training, criminal law and cultural awareness.

Once you have passed the testing and training, and put in some years of service, there are many opportunities for advancement. There are many areas of specialization that may appeal to officers who have patrolled for a few years so keep that in mind. You may also need additional training to qualify for other positions, in addition to experience.


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