How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer
Becoming a police officer is a desired career for many people, regardless of their age and current occupation. It is a job that you can start right after graduation or at a later stage of your life, provided that you meet the age criteria of the agency you want to work for.
As a police officer, you have the chance to serve your community in many different ways the police officers are the first who respond to an incident such as a robbery, domestic violence or other type of crime, they patrol the streets and maintain order, apprehend criminals and help citizens in case of an emergency or other critical situation. There are many possibilities for career growth depending on the education and experience of the candidate and their readiness for advancement.
Becoming a police officer, however, doesnt happen at the drop of a hat. Most agencies require a certain level of education on top of the high school diploma, plus there is a training once you get hired and the hiring process itself is quite lengthy. So, how long does it take to become a police officer? The answer really depends on the department you want to join and their specific training procedures and requirements as well as on your career ambitions. Still, you can get a rough idea how much time you need to invest in pursuing this career path by having a look at how long does it take to complete five of the basic steps to become a police officer.
Places To Earn A Law Enforcement Education
Formal education can expand your job options in the law enforcement field. Here are a few of the institutions where you can earn a certificate, degree, or experience in criminal justice:
- Trade School: Some vocational or trade schools have certificate programs that count toward college credit, such as for a future associate or bachelors degree. Others offer associate degrees.
- Military School: Military experience is well regarded by law enforcement agencies and police departments. Familiarity with firearms, mental toughness, physical conditioning, discipline, and an understanding of command structure are all benefits of hiring a recruit with military experience.
- Community College: Students can complete their associate degree in criminal justice in two years or earn a certificate in a few months. Whats more, most recruits come out of police academies based at two-year colleges, meaning some curriculums will be well integrated with local training.
- 4-year institution: Federal agencies often require a bachelors degree. Even if a four-year degree isnt required, getting a bachelors degree can be a prudent decision because it can increase your chances of being hired and promoted.
How Many People Are Killed By Police
About 1,000 people a year are killed by police officers in the US, according to an independent project that tracks police violence. Most are shot dead.
The majority of the world’s police forces carry firearms, but no developed nation uses them against their citizens as often as officers in the US – and disproportionately against African-Americans, compared with the percentage of the population they represent.
Part of this is to do with gun culture – the US is home to around half of the world’s civilian-held firearms.
In 2020, fewer than 10% of people killed by police were recorded as unarmed.
Rashawn Ray, professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, says: “In most states people can carry guns either on their body or in their vehicles, so that escalates things for police – they instantly perceive that anyone can be a threat.”
In the same year, officers killed more than 20 times as many civilians – and some argue the use of force is disproportionate to the threat, with better training needed to de-escalate situations.
Prof Ray says: “Nine out of 10 calls for law enforcement have nothing to do with violence at all, and while they definitely encounter violent situations that could escalate, often… it’s police officers who are escalating the situation.”
Read Also: What Degree Is Needed To Be A Police Officer
Top Recruiting Agencies For Police Officers
The Central and State Government are the only authorities that can recruit police officers in India. No private agencies in India can recruit eligible candidates as police officers. The government is responsible for releasing the official notification for the recruitment of police officers for different designations. The recruitment notifications will either be published in newspapers, websites and/or on different verified news channels of India. Therefore, the aspirants must keep themselves updated with the latest notifications of the government through these mediums of communication.
Police Academy Training What You Need To Know
Law enforcement agencies across the country help keep our communities safe and play a vital role in society. In order to get them ready for this important role, the training process they have to go through to become a police officer is far from easy. The training at the police academy prepares them for just about anything and everything that might occur during their career to ensure they are well equipped and well trained in order to serve and protect.
Most people dont really know what type of training police officers go through during the academy. Making the public aware of what police academy training involves can be helpful to people who are interested in becoming a police officer or uneasy about the safety of their communities and the qualifications of their communitys officers.
You May Like: How To Enter Police Academy
Get The Right Police Education & Training
There was a time when becoming a police officer was as simple as graduating high school or earning your GED, then attending a short training academy before diving into on-the-job training. And though those opportunities do still exist, especially in smaller departments, most departments have raised their standards of education to at least two years of post-secondary work. This means pursing an associate degree in law enforcement or a related field, such as criminal justice, criminology, or police science should be the first option to consider. The associate degree can then serve as a stepping stone to the bachelors degree, which then leads to graduate degree options.
However, other routes to the profession do exist. In addition to the on-the-job training after completing academy training, there is also the military option. Those who work as military police or in a similar capacity while serving their country can be perfectly suited to move into a police force after their military time is up. Lets take a look at the options.
Associate Degree in Law Enforcement
Bestfor? Those who want to stand outagainst the competition, or need a basic college degree to apply fora particular job opening.
Bachelors Degree in Law Enforcement
Best for? Those who have the time and financial resources to earn a four-year degree, want to work in federal law enforcement, or anticipate future professional advancement.
Masters Degree in Law Enforcement
Military experience in lieu of a degree
Potential Disqualifiers For A Policing Career In Canada
When preparing yourself for a policing career, you need to be aware of what will disqualify you from the police application process. As far as the written, physical, and medical exams, the requirements are fairly consistent across all agencies.
Language Disqualifier: You need to be fluent in either English or French including being able to speak, read, and understand one of these languages.
Physical Disqualifier: You cannot be in poor physical condition. Failure to successfully complete the physical examination in the minimum time frame is an automatic disqualification.
Test particulars can vary from one police agency to the next. However, all tests simulate critical incidents that police officers are exposed to. For example. the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation , used by the RCMP, consists of three sections:
Psychological Disqualifiers: A candidate can be disqualified if they do not meet the minimum psychological examination requirements.
Work Environment Disqualifiers: Police departments require you to work shift work which includes nights, evenings, weekends, and holidays as policing takes place 24 hours per day. If you are unwilling to accommodate this type of work schedule, you will be disqualified from the process.
Read Also: How Much Schooling Does A Police Officer Need
Municipal Police Force Salaries & Benefits
In comparison to the federal police force, the municipal police agencies offer slightly higher salaries.
The Calgary Police Service offers a starting salary of approximately $66,000/year.
The Vancouver Police Department offers new hires $70,154/year with an incremental increase to $90,198 after 3 years. Benefits include paid vacation, medical and dental benefits and a BC Municipal Pension Plan membership.
The Toronto Police Service has a starting salary of $63,564.98 for their cadets. After year 3, police officers receive an annual salary of $90,836. Benefits include paid vacation, family medical and dental benefits, life insurance, pension plan, parental/maternity leave and more.
Considering that the median income for individual Canadians was $36,400 in 2018, according to Statistics Canada, the starting salary for a Canadian police officer is an attractive one.
When deciding between the federal or municipal level, keep in mind that while the RCMP might have a lower salary, the role involves police duties at the international, federal, provincial and municipal levels with a much wider variety in operational and administrative opportunities.Some specializations that are unique to the RCMP are: Integrated Border Enforcement Team, National Security, Marine Services, International Peace Operations and many, many more.
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
Don’t Miss: How To Get A Fake Police Report
Florida Trooper Or Highway Patrol Requirements
The Florida State Patrol operates under the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Currently, Colonel Gene Spaulding is the FHP Director. The Florida Highway Patrol has an authorized force of 1,946 sworn and 529 non-sworn employees.3 To become a state patrol officer in Florida, candidates must meet state requirements and:
- Not have a history of repeated traffic violations
- Not be more than 20 pounds over recommended weight
- Be willing to relocate to any duty station in Florida
The Florida trooper educational requirements state that all candidates must hold a high school diploma. However, candidates who hold an associate degree or higher are often given employment preference. The FHP also awards preference to military veterans.
Entry-level Florida state troopers earn a starting salary of $38,034 per year, with adjustments for higher cost of living area assignments.3 Troopers are eligible to apply for promotion after five years of service.
Applying To Join The Police
You’ll first need to check that you meet the minimum eligibility requirements. These vary between police forces, but in general you should:
- be aged 18 or over
- be a British citizen, a European Community /European Economic Area citizen, or a foreign national with indefinite leave to remain in the UK without restrictions
- have lived in the UK for the last three years
- possess a qualification equivalent to A-level, have been a special constable who has been signed off for independent patrol service in the last two years or have served as a police community support officer for 18 months.
You may not be accepted if you have certain criminal convictions, debt problems, or tattoos that could be deemed offensive. Members of certain extreme political groups are not allowed to apply. A valid driving licence is often essential, and you’ll also have to pass medical, eyesight and fitness tests.
You can’t apply if you’ve made an unsuccessful application to a police force in the last six months.
Visit the recruitment website of the police force you’re interested in joining to confirm their full requirements and determine whether you’re eligible.
The application process involves several stages:
- undergoing medical and fitness tests
- passing background/security checks
- any additional assessment stages, such as a second interview.
The police force you’re applying to will be able to provide more details about their recruitment process.
Looking for a meaningful career?
Also Check: Can You Call The Police To Ask A Question
Certificate In Law Enforcement
A certificate in criminal justice or criminology is an opportunity for individuals to gain specific instruction in an area of law enforcement. Since a certificate consists of a few classes and can be completed in a few months, the certificate can also provide an opportunity to get started on an associate degree without having to commit to the two years just yet. Certificates are also great in that some department require applicants to have some college credits, but do not require a full degree. Some of the courses available in a criminology or criminal justice certificate program are listed below:
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:
Read Also: How Much Does It Cost To Train A Police Dog
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?
Step : Interview With The Academy Manager
After completing the above steps, your chosen academy will contact you to schedule an appointment for an interview with the Academy Manager. This should be considered a formal interview, so please dress accordingly. The Academy Manager will determine the candidates demeanor and suitability to become a certified Peace Officer in the State of Georgia.
Don’t Miss: How Can You Check Your Police Record
How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer In The Us
Becoming a police officer in the U.S. is a relatively quick process. Training takes around six months, after which new graduates begin working in entry-level positions on the force. From there, depending on what your goals are, it could take a few years to work your way up the ladder to the position in the police department you were dreaming of.
Phds In Criminal Justice
Getting a Ph.D. in criminal justice would put you in rare company, especially if you want to work at an agency. Although 29% of chiefs and sheriffs have a bachelors and 32% have a masters, only 3% have a doctoral degree.
Yet a Ph.D. in criminal justice opens several possibilities. If you want to teach at a university or conduct research, its essential. Even if academia isnt your thing, you could work to create or change policy.
Ph.D. programs are, by nature, individualized. Your main output is a dissertation, which is written after conducting original research. By the end of the program, you will be an expert in a small sliver of the criminal justice field. But what sliver? Depending on the program, you could, for example, bone up on budgetary procedures and strategic planning, both of which are necessary to run a department, or you could explore the social determinants of a specific type of crime in a specific area.
A Ph.D. in criminal justice will likely include the following courses:
Weve written about doctoral degrees in criminal justice at length, including about the different types of criminal justice doctorates. Specifically, check out our interview with a criminal justice program director to see if a Ph.D. is worth it for you.
Don’t Miss: Can I Go To The Police For Online Harassment
Preparing For A Police Officer Career: Find The Right Environment
When an aspiring police officer chooses to go to school to obtain formal education, a world of possibilities opens up. Here are some of the potential places where the certificate or degree can be earned.
Some vocational or trade schools have certificate programs that may count towards college credit, such as for a future associate or bachelors degree. Some might offer associate degrees. Vocational or trade schools can provide a way to save money on college costs while receiving necessary college course instruction.
Military experience is well regarded by law enforcement agencies and police departments. Familiarity with firearms, mental toughness, physical conditioning, discipline and an understanding of command structure and culture are all benefits that come with hiring a recruit with military experience.
Community colleges provide multiple options for students who want to become police officers. Students can complete their associate degree in two years or a certificate in a few months. As an added bonus, many community colleges allow credits earned in a certificate program to go towards an associate degree.
Law Enforcement School
Departments that require a bachelors degree are often found at the federal level. However, even if a four-year degree isnt required, getting a bachelors degree can be a prudent decision: it can increase the chances of getting hired and promoted.