To become a police officer, complete the required education level, send an application to a police department and finish the training program, according to Study.com. After graduating from the police academy training program, an individual can start working as a police officer and eventually select a specialization.
Some law enforcement agencies require a high school diploma to qualify for a training program, whereas other agencies require an associate’s degree in criminology, criminal justice, police science or another relevant field, explains Study.com. Aspiring police officers should be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. It is essential for candidates to have sufficient knowledge of state and local laws and demonstrate strong physical endurance.
Once accepted to a police department, candidates are added to a group of eligible applicants for upcoming work opportunities or immediately transferred to a training program, says Study.com. Agencies check for a clean driving record and perform a criminal background check, lie detector test, physical exam and drug screening. Applicants also need to pass a civil service test.
Police academy training programs often involve a combination of physical training and classroom learning, and they last for 12 to 14 weeks, states Study.com. Trainees learn about laws, civil rights, correct police protocols, firearm use and self-defense techniques. After years of experience, police officers can get promoted to captain, lieutenant and other positions.