To become a police chief, an individual must have professional experience working in the police department, proper certification or licensing, and adequate education. The exact requirements for college education and certification vary by state and police department.
It is not uncommon for a state or county to require police chiefs to have a certain number of hours or years working on the police force. Many departments require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the area of law enforcement or criminal justice. Related fields of study often accepted include psychology, anthropology, public administration, business, sociology and communications. A police chief needs to have certain skills, including the ability to lead and communicate and knowledge of crime and fingerprint database software.
Some other tips for people who want to become a police chief include learning any foreign languages that are spoken in the area where they intend to work and completing an internship or fieldwork in law enforcement. Completing physical fitness programs and tests is often required as well. Police chiefs must have work experience with patrols, administration and investigations. They might also be required to complete aptitude assessments and psychological evaluations.
Someone who wants to become a police chief should begin learning about local community affairs and how local law enforcement agencies work together.