A law enforcement officer, criminal analyst or EMT usually first receives classroom training and certification to meet state requirements (POST, TCLEOSE or EMT, respectively), then moves on to field training with the department for which they work. Usually, new officers, analysts or EMTs are only allowed to work with an FTO for a pre-determined amount of time, or until the field training staff determines that they are ready to work on their own. Field training for police officers typically lasts 12 to 16 weeks, however, lengths of 6 months or more are not all that uncommon. The duties of the FTO involve being a role model of the expectations of training, teaching the trainee the policies of the department and to correctly apply the concepts they learned in the classroom to field operations, and evaluating the trainee on his or her progress in the program. Ultimately, the FTO is responsible for making sure shift duties are performed properly and completely, making the position a particularly challenging one.
In some instances the trainee may work for a short amount of time prior to attending a formal training/certification program. During this time the FTO may complete part or the majority of the FTO program and then complete the remaining upon completion of the certification process.
It is also not unusual for a trainee to have multiple field training officers that they rotate around to. For instance in some law enforcement agencies a trainee may spend several weeks on each shift or in each speciality area of a department during which time they could have multiple FTOs. This is a job that require a person to be patient while they teach another new officer.