In addition to the successful completion of the police academy, one has to attend a minimum of two years of college to become a police officer. Elite departments require no less than a bachelor's degree.
Police academies are similar to basic training in the military. Recruits live in dormitories for 6 to 8 months and spend their days completing intense physical training and academic classes. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the basic police academy program consists of 720 course hours. Police academies were developed in the United States in the early 20th century; prior to that, officers were trained on the streets.