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How Do You Become A Police Officer In Texas

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How To Become A Police Officer: Your Step

Do you have what it takes to become a Houston police officer?

By on 02/10/2020

There are plenty of Hollywood movies out there that detail the rigorous physical training involved in becoming a cop. You might even be able to picture the obstacle courses, shooting ranges and tactical scenario training rooms. These are all important elements of police officer trainingbut they only make up one portion of the process.

Given the high level of responsibility and trust afforded to law enforcement, the standards for becoming a police officer are higher than what youll likely find in many careers. The specific standards and process will vary slightly based on the state, county or town youre applying to work in, but there are a few universal requirements to become a police officer you should be familiar with.

If youre wondering how to become a police officer, youre in the right place. Keep reading for a high-level breakdown of the path to pursuing a career in law enforcement.

San Antonio Police Department

The San Antonio Police Department has requirements similar to what the state has set down, but with a few notable exceptions. The minimum age here is 20 years and 6 months, and you cannot be more than 45 years old. A high school diploma or GED is acceptable, but if you obtained GED, a minimum of 12 completed hours from a college or university is required.

The academic training is 33 weeks long, and the physical training lasts 12 weeks. During this period youll go through two-hour physical training, do CrossFit workouts and take part in running regimens. Members of the SAPD will also learn defensive tactics, life saving skills and how to drive emergency vehicles.

Houston Police Officer Training Prerequisites And Educational Requirements

To qualify for a police officer position with the Houston Police Department, candidates must be US citizens between 21 and 44 years of age, meet weight and height requirements, have a clean criminal history, possess a valid driverâs license, and successfully complete the HPD hiring process. Candidates must also have at least 48 semester hours of college credit with a minimum GPA of 2.0, though the education requirement may be waived with previous military or law enforcement experience. The HPD also looks at candidatesâ employment and credit histories accounts in collections may be grounds for disqualification from employment. Conviction of a Class A felony or misdemeanor at any time or of a Class B misdemeanor within ten years of the application date are automatic disqualifiers. Any tattoos or body art must be fully covered by the official uniform.

Eligible applicants who complete the hiring process move on to the Houston Police Department Training Academy, which is a six-month program that includes academic learning as well as physical training. Though the program is Monday through Friday, cadets are prohibited from working or attending non-academy classes during the six-month training schedule. After graduation, recruits complete a six-month probation period, the first 12 to 16 weeks of which are completed while partnered with a Field Training Officer.

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Job Outlook And Salary

According to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , job growth in this field is expected to take place at the rate of 5% between 2012 and 2022.

Data from O*NET OnLine shows that the median annual salary for peace officers in Texas in 2013 was:

As public servants, police officers are respected members of the much larger system of law enforcement a system, responsible for maintaining civil order and peace in society. Police officers go through extensive training in order to become sworn members of a police force. Furthermore, the selection process can be quite intense. If you are interested in a career of protecting and serving society in Texas, then consider becoming a police officer.

Houston Police Training Academy


Once candidates have met all of the requirements listed above, they may be invited to recruit training at the Houston Police Training Academy. The academy curriculum consists of six months of intense academic and physical training as well as tactical strategy and firearm training. Once recruits complete the training, graduated officers will complete a six-month probationary period and will be assigned to a Field Training Officer for 12 to 16 weeks. Typically, a new recruit will be assigned to patrol as his or her first active duty on the force.

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What Is The Salary For Police Officers In Texas

The national mean salary for police officers is $70,000 annually and an entry level police officer in Texas can make as high as $81,742 annually. The highest paying cities in Texas are Pearland , Dallas , and Houston .

The regions in Texas with the largest police departments and which will likely see the biggest growth over the next few years include:

Pass The Licensing Exam

The next step to becoming a police officer is to earn a passing score on your states police licensing board exam. Your education and training will prepare you to take the Peace Officer Standards and Training exam.

Each state has its own licensing board, so the tests will also vary. But generally speaking, most POST exams cover topics like: practical application and techniques, civil and criminal law, community policing, victims rights and management and communication. By passing this capstone exam, you are licensed to become a police officer and enforce the law in your jurisdiction. You are now free to seek employment with a police department.

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Pass The Post Exam & Become A Police Officer

In order to work as a police officer, aspiring applicants must pass the Peace Officer Standards and Training or Police Officer Standards and Training exam. Commonly known as the POST exam, this is required for each state except Hawaii . Each state has subtle differences in their testing procedure, requirements, and the test itself, so its important to do in-depth research on the test your particular state requires.

Examsfor police officers include not only the POST written examination which includes an evaluation of grammar, reading comprehension, andwriting but other points as well, such as physical agility,medical health, psychological fitness, background review, and an oralinterview. Some states might add other requirements, such as apolygraph test. Once these tests are satisfactorily passed, graduatesare ready to work as police officers. The procedure it takes to getfrom passing the tests to wearing the badge depends on the state andin some cases, the department itself.

Step 6

Successfully Pass A Background Check

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You can expect any law enforcement agency youre applying for to conduct a number of checks into your background, including criminal history and even credit history. While this isnt literally the first step to becoming a police officer, it is the first one youll need to consider before you get too invested in the process. If you have concerns about how your background might impact your candidacy, you may want to consult a police academy admissions representative about it.

Your credit history may be analyzed because it gives potential employers an idea of your level of responsibility and potential problems like gambling-related debts. Police departments look into applicants history of criminal activity, employment, residency and academic records as well.

Basically, the police department is going to get deep into your business, says Adam Plantinga, and 17-year veteran sergeant with the San Francisco Police Department. Dont leave anything out on your background packet. If you omit something, even inadvertently, and it comes to light, you will likely be eliminated as a candidate. Departments are looking for responsible people who play by the rules.

Things like felonies and gross misdemeanors could disqualify you from becoming a police officer, but less serious offenses could also be problematicit really depends on the department and its policies.

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Requirements To Become A Police Officer In Texas

The minimum enrollment requirements for training as a Texas Peace Officer, as set out by Commission Rule 215.15, are as follows. Candidates must be/have:

  • 21 years of age or older, or 18 years and older if the candidate has at least an associates degree or 60 hours worth of credits from an accredited university or college
  • A citizen of the United States
  • A clean criminal record
  • A valid Texas drivers license of current Class C status
  • No trace of drug dependency
  • A high school diploma
  • Free from any medical or physical conditions that could get in the way of their duties as a police officer

How Much Does A Police Officer Make In Laredo Texas

Police officers are one of the hardest working people. They literally lay down their lives as a part of their job. Nevertheless, their income can be considered as nickels and cents when compared to the incomes of physicians or Veterinarians. Law enforcement officers are compensated in other ways, though. How much a cop earns, depends on a lot of factors like where he works, how much he or she works and what unit he or she is assigned to. We will now proceed to show the typical income of different police officers and look at how an officer can make more.

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How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer In Texas

The total amount of time it will take to become a police officer in Texas from application to probation completion is about two years. This does not include any university or college education prior to application.

The application itself takes about 3-4 months and the hiring process takes 3-4 months. After that, you can expect to set aside 6 months for police academy, and another 6-12 months for a probationary period before becoming a full-fledged peace officer.

Get Accepted & Paying Your Way


Admission requirements can vary widely depending on the type of program and institution offering it. Another consideration is how to pay for this education and training. During your application process, keep the following pointers in the back of your mind to help you get into the best program to meet your needs and goals as a future police officer.

Entrance requirements

Entry into various degree programs in law enforcement will all require some general points, such as completing an application, paying an application fee and presenting proof of high school graduation.

The associate degree program might require:

  • A personal statement
  • Transcripts from any other college courses taken

The bachelors degree might require additional information:

  • An essay
  • Transcripts from associate degree work
  • Completion of certain prerequisites
  • A resume of related experience

Application process & fees

Paying for Your Program

How much a training or educational program costs depends greatly upon the degree level you want to obtain. For instance, obtaining an associate degree will cost much less than a bachelors degree will. To learn more about financial aid options and how those will affect your financial bottom line, visit our online financial aid handbook:

Step 4

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Eligibility Requirements For Telecommunicators/jailers

Dispatch and the city jail are essential to the daily operations of the Pasadena Police Department. The eligibility requirements for these positions are the beginning of the application process designed to identify and select personnel who can physically, mentally and intellectually meet the demands of working dispatch and/or the jail. A list of eligibility requirements can be viewed by clicking the Telecommunicator/Jailer requirements link.

Applicants seeking employment as a telecommunicator in dispatch must successfully pass a test designed to assess job-related skills in tasks such as data entry, multi-tasking, and decision making. Applicants for jailer positions must pass a reading comprehension and vocabulary test, as well as a typing test designed to gauge the applicant’s data entry skills.

Additional applicant screening includes a physical and psychological examination, polygraph examination, and an oral review board.

Texas Police Officer Requirements

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement sets statewide minimum requirements to become a Texas police officer. Although the TCOLE sets the minimum standards for law enforcement recruitment, departments may set requirements above the TCOLE minimums. For example, many departments require an associates degree as well as a higher age minimum.

The minimum guidelines set by TCOLE to become a Texas police officer are as follows. Candidates must:

  • Be a US citizen, by birth or naturalization, at the time of application
  • Be 21 years old OR be 18 years old with an associate degree or an honorable military discharge
  • Be a high school graduate or hold a high school equivalency certificate OR show proof of an honorable discharge from the US armed forces after at least 24 months of active duty service
  • Hold a valid and current drivers license
  • Not have any history of felony convictions nor of convictions for disqualifying misdemeanors

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They Do However Have To Participate In Some Police Training In Preparation To Perform Their Duties As A Reserve Police Officer

How to become a reserve police officer in texas. To work as a reserve officer, generally, you must have attended a police academy and passed the accompanying state certification or post exam. Have two years of experience as a dcso detention officer, as a texas peace officer, or as a member of the us armed forces, or hold 30 credit hours from an accredited college The agency head, with the approval of the governing body or its chief operating officer, appoints reserve officers.

If you think you might be a good fit, or know of a family member or friend who might be interested, please take a moment to review/share. Be sure to fill it out as completely as possible. These include texas/ou night, the state fair and parades throughout the city.

Most reserve police officer applications require a significant amount of background information. Section 1701.3545 of the texas occupations code requires each constable to complete at least 40 hours of new constable education at bill blackwood law enforcement management institute. When the person is working as a reserve officer they are employed by the agency that issued them their reserve commission.

You will spend approximately 1,000 hours in training to become a texas certified peace officer over the period of one year. By clicking agree you are. When the person works for a security company as a licensed security officer, the person is employed by that company and not the law enforcement agency.

Law Enforcement South Texas College

Salary Benefits And Jobs Outlook


Salaries for the Houston Police Department can vary depending on experience and education. Recruits and probationary officers earn an annual salary of $42,000.4 After training and one year of service, officers earn an annual salary of $49,917 after two years, $55,041 and after three years, $56,419.4 The department offers educational incentive pay as well officers with a bachelors degree earn an additional $3,640 per year officers with a masters degree, an additional $6,240 and officers with a doctoral degree, an additional $8,840.4 The average annual salary for a Houston patrol officer is $65,070.5 Officers receive benefits such as health and life insurance, generous paid time off, and tuition reimbursement. Police officers also participate in the citys defined benefit pension plan, which includes options for early retirement.

The Houston Police Department is continually recruiting qualified candidates to join the force. Overall, jobs growth for cops in Texas is expected to reach 16.4% through 2026, equating to 1,045 new jobs per year.6 For more information on current Houston law enforcement positions, take a look at our state job board page.

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A Career In Texas Law Enforcement

Peace Officers, Jailers and Telecommunicators

In order to become licensed as a peace officer, county jailer, or telecommunicator in Texas there are four requirements:

  • successful completion of the basic licensing course
  • passing of the state licensing examination and
  • appointment by a law enforcement agency
  • Minimum Requirements To Be A Police Officer In Texas

    Age 21 years of age, or 18 years of age if the applicant has received an associates degree or 60 semester hours of credit from an accredited college or university or has received an honorable discharge from the armed forces of the United States after at least two years of active service

    • Education High School Diploma or G.E.D
    • Citizenship US Citizen
    • Never been convicted of any family violence offense
    • Not prohibited by state or federal law from operating a motor vehicle
    • Not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition
    • Meet Medical and Psychological Requirements
    • Undergo Criminal Background Investigation
    • Honorable discharge from military if applicable
    • Successful completion of the basic licensing course
    • Passing of the state licensing examination
    • Appointment by a law enforcement agency.

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    Texas Sheriff Deputy Requirements

    Texas has 254 counties and each county elects a sheriff. The county sheriff is responsible for the county jail, court security, bail bonds, and civil process. Sheriffs deputies must meet the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement minimum requirements for law enforcement officers. The Sheriffs Association of Texas Training is responsible for training and certifying sworn officers who will be working for sheriffs offices in Texas.

    Application Minimum Qualification Requirements

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    For Certified Police Officers: Must have a minimum certification of a Peace Officers License from Texas Commission on Law Enforcement in good standing and/or have passed the TCOLE State License Exam no later than the time and date of the written examination. There is no degree requirement for certified applicants.

    For Non-Certified Officers – Minimum requirements:

    • have a minimum of thirty hours earned from a regionally accredited university and/or college, which are accepted and/or recognized by the
    • and/or two years of active military service
    • and/or have a minimum of six years of reserve status with the Armed Services or National Guard prior to the time and date of the written examination.

    Automatic Disqualifiers:

    • Any felony conviction

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