What Are the Job Requirements for a Career As Police Officer?


Quick Answer

General requirements for becoming a United States police officer include that a person must be a U.S. citizen, must have a high school diploma or GED, must be 21 years old by the time they have finished training at the academy, though some police academies accept 18-year-old cadets, must have a valid driver's license and must be able to pass a physical fitness test. These requirements vary by agency, however. For example some agencies require higher education or are willing to pay more to a person who has received a college degree, according to Discover Policing.

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Full Answer

Potential police officers should also have good judgment, integrity, assertiveness, empathy, be able to work well with a team and have the ability to multitask and problem solve.

There is a general list of disqualifying infractions that hopeful law enforcement candidates should be aware of as well, though, as with the minimum qualifications to enter the police academy, these can vary by agency, states Discover Policing.

Domestic or sexual abuse or other misdemeanor convictions, the use of illegal drugs, adult and/or juvenile felony convictions, reckless driving conviction or overall poor driving record and financial distress and bad credit history are all elements that could potentially work against a police academy hopeful.

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