Get The Minimum Schooling Requirements
Usually, this means either your high school diploma or GED. Some states, like Illinois, also require you to have a certain number of college credits.
Editors note: An important factor to consider is age. Some states accept anyone aged 18 or older, but some, like California, only accept people aged 21 or older.
Local Needs Of Police Services
Apart from the competencies, individual police services may also require certain special skills and abilities in order to address issues pertaining to the service or the community. A local need may be a second language, a special type or level of computer skills or prior experience in working with victims and/or members of a vulnerable community.
New York Sheriff Deputy Requirements
There are 58 New York sheriffs, who may be elected or appointed depending on county laws.3 Unlike in most other states, the training of sheriffs and sheriffs deputies in New York is not overseen by the statewide police training board. Instead, training for county law enforcement is designed by the New York Sheriffs Association. For those looking to become a sheriffs deputy in New York, candidates must meet statewide requirements.
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Uniformed Secret Service Officer
Secret service special agents get all the glory, but the uniformed officers of the secret service work just as hard to protect the president, vice president, and foreign dignitaries.
Uniformed secret service officers maintain security at the White House, the vice president’s residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory, and the United States Treasury Building.
Officers perform shift work and are stationed primarily in and around Washington, D.C., though they may be called upon to travel with the presidential security detail and to provide a uniformed presence on other secret service operations, such as warrant service. Uniformed secret service agents earn approximately $60,000 per year.
Beyond Law Enforcement Careers
No matter how much pride you get from patrolling streets, responding to emergencies, and being a first-contact between the police department and the community, you may eventually want to leave your position and go beyond a police officer career.
So what are your options? When it comes to advancement, police officers should consider positions both vertically and horizontally.
If you are most interested in vertical promotions should first focus on being the best police officer possible. Like any career, attitude makes a difference. While you can train for hundreds of hours a year and have decades of experience on your resume, an attitude focused on the positives of policing will be crucial for your success. Good captains, chiefs, and commissioners need a strong attitude that will rub off on the minds of other officers.
Education still matters. While many ground-level police officers are hired without a college degree, higher-ranking police officers are all but required to have a post-secondary academic education. An associates, or better yet a bachelors degree, is a wise choice for anyone who aspires to work in law enforcement leadership.
There are almost no limits to the potential careers beyond a police officer position. From advancing in your local department to taking your skills to the private sectors, police officers have a variety of skills that can apply almost anywhere!
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Majoring In Criminal Justice
For aspiring police officers who choose to pursue a bachelors degree, criminal justice often seems like the most obvious program of study. After all, your daily job duties include identifying and apprehending the perpetrators of crimes. It is important that you understand the infrastructure of the criminal justice system in its entirety. That system includes the operations of law enforcement departments like the one you intend on working for, the court systems that convict and sentence the accused and the correctional facilities where sentences are served. The core coursework of a criminal justice program often includes studies in criminal and constitutional law, criminal investigation and evidence procedures, corrections and rehabilitation in prisons and community settings and ethics and multicultural issues in criminal justice.
Just because criminal justice seems like a natural fit for a police officer doesnt mean its the best college major. In fact, since you will go through academy training anyway, theres an argument that a degree that equips you with a special skill set may be a better option.
Police Officer Degree Levels
There are many degree options for prospective and current police who are interested in furthering their education. As previously mentioned, a successful policing career does not necessarily require a college degree, but pursuing a degree can benefit your career as a police officer not only by helping you get hired but also by putting you in a better position to be promoted and/or move into a supervisory position. Before we look at the degree majors available for those interested in police education, lets look at the police officer education levels available.
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What Skills Does A Cop Truly Need
So, weve established that a college degree can give you an advantage when becoming a cop or advancing your career. But what skills does a cop actually need?
Contrary to popular belief, you dont need to be able to bench press 200 pounds or run a four-minute mile. In fact, many departments have fitness tests that are much more realistic for the average person.
You dont need to be a martial arts expert or have perfect aim, either. Most police departments require you to pass a firearms training course, which will teach you everything you need to know about using a gun.
What you do need is the ability to communicate effectively and handle stress. You need to be able to think quickly and make split-second decisions. You need to be physically and mentally tough.
This is crucial for any good police officer. Think about it, how many people trying to suicide have been dissuaded with the right words? If you can stop someone from doing such an extreme gesture, you can help them through whatever is causing them so much pain.
And, college degrees help with this too. Exams are a perfect example of this. They test your ability to handle stress and think quickly under pressure. So, if you can do well in college, you have a good chance of being a successful cop.
You also need to have a clean criminal record and a strong moral character. Many departments require you to pass a background check and a polygraph test .
Criminal Justice Careers That Dont Require Police Training
1. Private Investigator
Private investigators are responsible for researching and examining persons of interest. In other words, these professionals investigate suspects and collect evidence of criminal behavior. However, rather than working for a police department, private investigators are hired by clients or law enforcement agencies for independent cases. They gather, analyze, and report information around the person or place in question. For example, private investigators may be hired by companies to uncover wrongful acts of employees, or conduct background investigations. They may be hired by a client to privately investigate a cold case that was closed by local officials. They may also be hired by families to find a missing person, or to reveal abusive behavior or the infidelity of a spouse. These are just some of the many examples in which a private detective or investigator is required. And this role does not require police training.
To become a private investigator, one must typically complete their high school diploma and complete a postsecondary program in a related field, such as criminal justice. Many private detectives learn through on-the-job training, as well. However, specific requirements will vary by state and employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , most states require private detectives and investigators to have a license.
2. Probation or Parole Officer
3. Crime or Intelligence Analyst
4. Park Ranger
5. Security Guard
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Police Departments In Texas
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 63,000 police officers working in Texas as of 2017, making this the state with the second-highest number of police and sheriffs patrol officers in the US.4 The metro area of Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land has the fourth-highest employment level of police officers in the US, with over 16,600 officers in 2017.4 The Dallas-Plano-Irving metro ranked seventh, with over 10,600 officers.4
Apply To The Police Academy
The next step is to apply to the police academy. You will need to pass a written exam, physical fitness test, and background check.
The written exam is usually multiple-choice and tests your knowledge of the law, constitutional rights, traffic laws, and more.
The physical fitness test is just that a test of your physical fitness. You will need to be able to run, jump, crawl, and more.
The background check is to make sure you have not been involved in any illegal activity and that you are of good character.
Once you have passed these tests, you will be accepted into the police academy.
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Step : Post Application Physical Examination And Fingerprints
Once a background investigation is complete, register on the Georgia POST website as a new user so you can begin your online application. It is essential that you complete this application correctly or your admittance to the Basic Training Course will be delayed. There are several attachments to the application as well as a requirement for a physical examination and a requirement that you are fingerprinted. You should go to Georgia Applicants Processing Service to be fingerprinted. Physical examinations generally cost about $30 and the fee to be fingerprinted is roughly $53. If you have any questions, contact your chosen academy for assistance.
How To Become A Police Officer: 4 Steps To The Best Job Outlook
Its hard to image our society without police officers.
Under-appreciated even in the most appreciative communities, police officers are the stewards of justice, peace, and safety all over the country. They may not be perfect, and their public images may not be flawless, but police officers and other law enforcement officials are vital to this county.
You can be one of the proud police officers who protect the peace and safety of our communities, but it takes the right attitude, fortitude, and education to make it a reality.
To make the right decision for your future, you probably have a lot of questions. This article walks you through each of the 4 steps needed to become a police officer, so you can make the right choice and hit the ground running in your new career.
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How To Become A Police Officer In Texas
Texas can be a great location for those looking to start a new career as a police officer. The states police force, sheriffs departments, and highway patrols are well-known for their professionalism as well as their dedication. Over 63,000 men and women work as police officers and sheriffs patrol deputies in Texas.1 Although the process for becoming a police officer in Texas is similar to most US states, Texas does have some additional specific requirements. The route to becoming a Texas cop is explained in detail 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:
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Is It Worth Joining The Police
Starting a career in the police can be one of the best things youll ever do. Youll be able to make a real difference in your community, reducing crimes and making people safer. Develop new skills as data and technology become ever more important to policing. Work well with colleagues as part of an effective team.
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.
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Required: Other Aspects Of Your Application To The Police
During your application to a Police Force, you will have to go through extensive background checks. If you have lived outside of the UK for any period of time, these may take longer than usual, but it does not mean that you wont be able to join!
You will also have medical and fitness tests to complete. The fitness test is not intended to scare you off, but is there to make sure that you are physically fit enough to be able to do your job as a Police Officer effectively. If you fail the first time, there is no need to worry, as you will be able to retake it up to 3 times. However, if you dont manage to pass it the 3rd time, you will have to wait 6 months to be able to reapply to any Police Force again.
You will also be required to complete components such as a written assessment, which tests your basic English comprehension and writing, verbal reasoning, and maths skills. This is likely to be accompanied by an interview.
There are courses which are available to help you prepare for these components, and one example can be found here. Make sure that you do your preparation for these tests, so that you feel comfortable during your application process, and are able to put yourself in the best position for success possible.
Bachelor Of Science Or Bachelor Of Arts
Another option for police officer education is the bachelors degree. Similar to an associate degree, a bachelors degree can be in the form of a Bachelor of Science , a Bachelor of Applied Science , or a Bachelor of Arts . Bachelors degrees usually take four years of full-time study to complete, and prospective or current cops may choose to pursue a bachelors in any subject in order to fulfill most departmentseducational requirements. For students considering a career in federal law enforcement, jobs like CIA officer or US Marshal may require a bachelors degree in a criminal justice-related subject, such as homeland security, criminology, or law enforcement. To be the most competitive candidate for these federal positions, many students pursue graduate degrees after obtaining their bachelors. Most bachelors degrees require around 120 credit hours to graduate, including foundational and specialized coursework. Law enforcement bachelors degrees may include courses such as Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, Ethics in Criminal Justice, Community Policing, Crime Analysis and Investigation, and others.
Police Officer Education Matters-Rydberg and Terrill, The Effect of Higher Education on Police Behavior, Police Quarterly
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What Does A Police Officer Do
In the simplest sense, police officers enforce laws and protect life and property. But of course, there is much more to it than that. Heres how it breaks down:
Policeofficers are sworn to protect and serve the communities in which they live andwork. They enforce laws, obtain warrants, arrest and interview suspects, securecrime and accident scenes, write detailed reports and testify in court, amongother duties. Officers often respond to emergency calls, working shifts thatoperate around the clock.
The specific duties of a police officer will be numerous and diverse. Based on appointment, length of service and training, they may work with a K-9 unit responding to suspicions of drugs or dangerous weapons in vehicles and other property. Or, they might take a role on the SWAT team where they need to know tactics and procedures for working under dangerous conditions. Much of their daily routine will involve patrolling a certain area, such as a portion of a town or city. As they move up the ranks, they may investigate crimes ranging from petty theft to murder.
How Much Do Police Officers Make
According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for police officers is $63,150 per year. Transit and railroad police officers get paid more, earning on average $71,820 per year, while detectives and criminal investigators make a median annual salary of $83,170.
Pay can vary by state. Police officers in California rake in an annual mean wage of $105,220 meanwhile, police officers in Texas earn $63,740 a year on average. You can look up the average salary for police officers in your location by using the Monster Salary Guide.
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