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How Long Is The Process To Become A Police Officer

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How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer In New Jersey

Becoming A Police Officer: The Hiring Process

First, you have to complete a 2-year long Associates degree or a 4-year long Bachelors degree. Those who possess an Associates degree will have to complete two years of work experience. Then you will have to apply for the police officer position. In order to succeed, you will have to pass a physical and written test, background check,an interview, and medical and psychological exams. You will also have to complete a training program at the Police Academy.

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

Picking The Right Program

Once you know which program level you want to pursue, its time to figure out which one best suits your needs. When researching the schools that make it onto your all-important shortlist, keep the following questions in mind:

  • Is the school regionally accredited?
  • Can you afford the tuition?
  • Does the timeline fit with your future goals?
  • Does the program have a high success rate?
  • Does the program provide POST exam prep?

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How Important Is Accreditation

Accreditation refers to an outside organization reviewing a particular school or program to ensure it meets certain standards of quality. Accreditation is important for police training programs because it serves as a mark of quality graduates who complete their education and training can be confident that what they have earned will be accepted by future employers and peers. The specific entities that offer accreditation will vary depending on the program. For instance, many associate or bachelors degree programs will not be accredited at the program level, but the school offering the degree will be accredited. This will usually be a regional or national accrediting organization recognized by the US Department of Education.

As for the accreditation of police training academies, the most prominent is the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA.

Step 3

Interview With The Chief


This is often the last of your series of interviews. In this interview, the chief or sheriff will want to get afeel for whether youll be a good fit for the department.

As with the Oral Board interview, arrive at the interview in a suit, tie and polished shoes.

Some of the questions the chief or sheriff might ask you are:

  • Who is the best/worst boss youve ever had?
  • Why do you want to work for our department?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?

Learn more about your upcoming police written exam using these dedicated prep pages. If youreunsure what type of written test youll be taking, go with the all-inclusive police exam practice.

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Is A Career As A Police Officer Really For Me

If youre thinking about the field of law enforcement there are a couple things you may want to consider. The work life of a police officer can be particularly grueling with long hours and so the job requires a great deal of physical and mental strength. This particular line of work may also place officers in difficult, unpleasant, or dangerous situations in which their safety or their lives may be at risk.

Lauriers Online Bachelor Of Criminology And Policing Degree

Our online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Policing prepares you for a career in criminology and justice. Focusing on practical techniques and real-world experience, it delivers an engaging curriculum designed to improve your critical thinking and analytical skills. The fully online and asynchronous criminology courses provide you with a broader view of public safety through a combined focus on criminology and policing. This degree can help enhance the career and earning potential of an individual who wants to pursue a career in criminology and policing.

Now is the time to kick-start your career as a police officer in Toronto. Learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Policing or Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Policing today:

  • for details on curriculum, tuition and more

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Metropolitan Police Department Information

The DC Metropolitan Police Department is one of the 10 largest police forces in the country.3 Founded in 1861, the MPD prides itself on the use of state-of-the-art technology to solve crimes and community policing to keep neighborhoods and residents safe. In 2017, the department answered 636,653 calls for service with an average response time of six minutes and 41 seconds.3

The MPD has six bureaus: patrol services, homeland security, corporate support, strategic services, investigative services, and internal affairs bureau. Officers begin their service working in patrol and are assigned to one of the citys 56 Patrol Service Areas . New officers to the MPD must work for a minimum of three years in basic patrol duties before being advanced to other departments or teams. Opportunities for advancement include positions on the canine unit, the bomb squad, the crime scene investigation unit, the harbor patrol unit, the helicopter branch, and many others.

Between 2001 and 2015, the MPD worked with the Department of Justice under a voluntary Memorandum of Understanding to reduce the number and severity of use of force incidents involving MPD police.3 In 2015, the department was found compliant in reducing the most serious types of force. However, in 2016 and 2017 use of force incidents increased the MPD has said it is reviewing these reports and is still committed to managing the use of force and upholding constitutional policing practices.4

What About Basic Training

HOW TO BECOME A COP – The Background Investigation – Police Hiring Process

Completing a basic police academy prior to your hiring is dependent on the agency you apply to. Some will only hire upon completion of the academy others hire you and then send you through the academy afterward. Check with the agency youre applying to for further information.

If youre from another state, keep in mind that California POST does not have reciprocity with other states. POST does offer a Basic Course Waiver process for out-of-state cops that you can learn more about here.

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How To Become A Police Officer In Canada & Disqualifiers To Avoid

Choosing a new career , can be an overwhelming process. Opportunities are endless in a country like Canada. Its not easy figuring out which direction to take in the first place.

Canadian Business helps you narrow down your options with a list of The Top 25 Jobs in Canada. And were here to help you break down #14 on that list: police officer.

Being a police officer comes with great responsibility, authority, and trust. Therefore strict standards are upheld in the selection process to ensure only the right candidates are hired. This process typically includes:

  • A written exam
  • Have no criminal convictions and no criminal charges pending

In addition to the above list, each police force adds its own list of requirements.

Those applying for the RCMP need to meet the following additional requirements:

  • Permanent resident applicants need to have resided in Canada for the last 10 years.
  • Be at least 19 years old
  • Possess a valid, unrestricted driver’s licence
  • Be able to spend 26 weeks at the RCMP Academy in Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Be willing to relocate anywhere within Canada
  • Not have any tattoos that depict or incite hate, harassment, or discrimination against individuals on the basis of the grounds listed in Canadian Human Rights Act, section 3.
  • Not wear any personal effects on the body that may interfere with the personal protective equipment.

The Vancouver Police Department asks that their applicants meet the following additional requirements:

Find Out If You Meet The Requirements

The state holds a civil service exam every two years to become an officer. Contact civil service directly regarding the exam schedule, availability, and registration.

To become a police officer, you need to first take a written test. You also need to meet these requirements:

  • You must have a valid Massachusetts Drivers license.
  • You must be at least 19 years of age and no more than 39 years of age on the date of the examination. *
  • You need to have a high school diploma or a GED certificate. You can also satisfy this requirement with three years of military service and an honorable discharge.
  • You must be a Boston resident at least one year before the date of your exam.

* You can take the written exam when you turn 19, but you wont be considered for a position until you turn 21.

Are you a veteran recognized by Civil Service, either on active duty or released from the military? You can add your service time to your age, up to four years, and still be eligible for appointment as an officer.

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Job Outlook For Texas Police Officers

For those that plan on going into law enforcement in Texas, the future looks bright. Police and sheriffs patrol officer jobs are expected to increase by 9% In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas employed the second-highest number of police officers last year, 51,980, with New York state being a close behind.

Gain Employment With A Florida Criminal Justice Employing Agency

Can A Reservist Become An Officer

This is a requirement for Florida police officer hopefuls once they have completed their training and examinations. In some cases, however, candidates may apply to be hired as a Temporary Employment Authorization pursuant with a Criminal Justice agency before completing the Basic Recruit Training Program or passing the State Officer Certification Examination. This is done at the discretion of the agency. Getting hired as a temporary pursuant can help speed up the completion of the minimum requirements as the agency would run a background check during the hiring process.

Once the candidate has met all of the minimum requirements, completed all the training, and passed all of the exams, the employing agency will submit an Officer Certification Application form to the Commission on behalf of the officer.

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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.

Bachelors Degree In Law Enforcement

A law enforcement degree at the bachelors level typically takes four years to complete and can include many different topics or subjects. There are prototypical degrees such as criminal justice, criminology and law enforcement studies. But there are other majors that can hold police officers in good stead. For example, graduates with a degree in accounting are excellent candidates for a career in white collar crime investigations, while computer science majors can have an advantage if theyre interested in pursuing a career in computer forensics or cyber crimes.

Those in a bachelors degree program in a law-related field can expect to find courses like these:

Police Ethics

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Candidate Assistance Mentoring Program

CAMP is designed to prepare police officer recruit candidates for the physical and mental rigors of the police academy. Designed by police academy core trainers, CAMP participants will be exposed to strenuous exercise and close-order drill. SDPD Recruiters will induce stress upon the participants, while fostering an environment of teamwork and excellence. CAMP participants form strong bonds with each other, which is vital for academy success.

CAMP is offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm, and the first and last Saturday of the month at 7am.

Candidates must currently be in the background process to attend.

For additional information, call 619-531-COPS. Or contact a recruiter by emailing

4Police Academy

How long is the Police Academy training program?The police academy is a six-month college course. Two-thirds of the Academy is academics, and one-third of the Academy is physical training.

Is the academy a live-in, high stress environment?Academy hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with recruits going home at the end of each day. It is not structured as a high-stress academy. Teamwork is highly encouraged.

How much running is required in the academy?Recruits will be required to run at least 3 1/2 miles each day at the start of the academy. By the end of academy training, recruits will be running up to 7 miles a day several times a week.

More information

Ensuring That Youre Qualified

How to be a police officer – The Application Process
  • 1Make sure you have the basic qualifications. To become a police officer in California, you need to have these basic qualifications:
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a citizen either through birth or naturalization.
  • Either have a high school diploma or an equivalent GED certificate.
  • Have a valid drivers license.
  • Have no felony convictions in the state of California or any other U.S. state.
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions, which will prevent you from carrying a firearm.
  • 2Ensure you are ready to commit. Before you begin to apply, ensure that being a police officer is the career for you. If you are a youth, consider joining Youth Police Explorers in your area. If you are not a youth, contact your local police department. Tell them that you are interested in becoming a police officer, and ask if you can participate in ride-alongs. Or, volunteer at your local department through a cadet program.
  • You can also ask police officers about their career experiences. Ask an officer, “What are the perks of being a police officer?” “What are the cons?” “What type of service calls come in regularly?” “What’s the typical day, graveyard, and swing shift like?” and, “What is the department’s diversity?”
  • Attend local community meetings conducted by police or LE personnel.
  • An assoicates degree in criminal justice helps you prepare to become a police officer. It offers courses in legal issues, human behavior, computer systems, and other subjects. These degrees are also available online.
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    Police Oral Board Interview

    Applicants consider this the most intimidating step of the police hiring process.The oral board panel is made up of three to five people and heavily weighted on the law enforcementend.

    These include training officers, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, and sometimes even the chief.And their job is to get inside your brain.

    They want to figure out if youre a reasonable person, see if you have common sense and if you canthink quickly on your feet.

    To summarize, their main goal is to flush you out of the system .Your job, on the other hand, is to show the board youre a top candidatethat deserves to be a police officer.

    Here are a few valuable tips to help you prep and pass the Oral Board:

    The following are some of the questions youll likely be asked during the police panel interview. Makesure you come prepared with good answers and learn how to articulate them:

    • Why do you want to work for this department specifically?
    • Have you sent applications to other departments, and why?
    • What do you think separates you from the other applicants?
    • Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
    • Have you read the description of what you’re applying for?

    What Do Related Occupations Make

    If youre interested in how to become a police officer, you might also be interested in related professions. Working as a correctional officer, EMT or paramedic, firefighter, probation officer, security guard, gaming surveillance officer, game warden or firefighter might be on your radar. If thats the case, you can peruse the list of related occupations below, which includes average salaries:

    What you earn depends on where you live, including the region, state or city. To help determine what you can expect to make in your particular area, our handy salary comparison tool can help.

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    Police Officer Hiring Process And Common Application Steps

    If your dream job is to become a law enforcement officer then you should prepare yourself for completing something more than an application and an interview. Agencies run a series of tests and exams in order to narrow the number of police officer candidates to those who are most qualified. Then they will hire the best of the shortlisted candidates.

    Since the process can be long and involve multiple steps, it is advisable to know what to expect and how to prepare properly for each application part or which are the disqualifiers that might prevent you from getting the job.

    Below you will find a list of the elements and steps of the application and hiring process that you need to consider, as well as an example of the actual hiring requirements as posted by the United States Capitol Police.

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