Successfully Pass A Background Check
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.
Training Institutions For Police Officers
Now that you know what options there are for becoming a police officer, its important to know where they are offered. There are many schools that exist to help you move into the law enforcement career of your choice. Here are the options:
These post-high school institutions focus their programs and curriculums on skill-oriented or hands-on training. This training can come in the form of what effectively amounts to an in-house police academy. Vocational and trade schools can provide the fastest way to obtain the training necessary to become a police officer and allow students to receive police academy training without attending the official police academy. Its also fairly affordable compared to earning a college degree. Keep in mind that graduation doesnt guarantee a job in law enforcement and may not result in an academic credential that provides opportunities for professional advancement.
Best for? Those confident in obtaining a job offer after graduation and want to serve as a police officer as quickly as possible.
Best for? Students who would like to earn a college degree along with their law enforcement training.
Best for? Those who love serving their country or community will benefit from the rewarding experience that can come from military service.
Best for? Aspiring police officers who want an extra way to stand out from the pack of applicants, as well as those looking for federal work.
What Does A Police Sergeant Do
A Police Sergeant is responsible for supervising patrol officers and agents as assigned and maintaining the chain of command within the operations of the department. Responsible for developing training programs for department personnel, directing special units, preparing special reports or projects as assigned, receiving and reviewing reports from officers, and assigning personnel in accordance to specific needs. Being a Police Sergeant requires a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and/or additional certifications and at least 5-7 years of law enforcement experience. Typically reports to a chief of police, captain, or lieutenant. The Police Sergeant manages subordinate staff in the day-to-day performance of their jobs. True first level manager. Ensures that project/department milestones/goals are met and adhering to approved budgets. Has full authority for personnel actions. To be a Police Sergeant typically requires 5 years experience in the related area as an individual contributor. 1 – 3 years supervisory experience may be required. Extensive knowledge of the function and department processes.
An individual who undertakes the role of police sergeant assists in the development of enforcement policies and tactics.
A good communication channel must be established for residents to air their concerns with the police department and provide input.
A quality sergeant puts a lot of time and effort into establishing trust and understanding with the citizens of his jurisdiction.
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S To Becoming A Police Officer:
It is generally accepted that the minimum entry requirements for admission into a police academy is a high school diploma. In some cases a G.E.D may be accepted as a substitute. It is important for candidates to be able to demonstrate that they have the ability to comprehend, apply, and utilize knowledge learned.
Although not a stringent requirement, an undergraduate or associates degree could be a bonus. Courses may be taken in areas such as criminology, law enforcement, or a related discipline.
Entry into the police force is highly competitive. One of the key advantages of pursuing a higher education is that it has the potential of giving you an edge with prospective employers. Furthermore, an associates degree in, for example, criminal justice, serves to introduce individuals to a host of knowledge and practical skills that may be very useful in the line of duty as a police officer. These include an introduction to basic criminal law practices, investigation techniques, how to document crimes properly, crisis management, etc. Such a degree will also be useful if you intend to become a detective, seek out an administrative position, or wish to work at the federal level.
In addition, experience in the military is highly valued. The mental and physical challenges that life in the military present are important in preparing individuals for the demands of a job as an officer.
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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How To Become A Police Officer In Chicago
How Much Can I Make as a Police Officer in Chicago?
How to become a police officer in Chicago and how much can you earn as one in the state are two pertinent questions. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Police and Sheriffs Patrol Officers in Illinois earned $78,350 as mean annual salary in 2019. The figure is considerably higher than the national annual mean income figure of $67,600. There were a total of 29,460 Police and Sheriffs Patrol Officers working in the state, a number that puts Illinois on the fifth spot among states with the highest level of occupation for this occupation.
What Does A Police Captain Do
A police captain performs administrative duties and investigations and also responds to police situations. As commanding officer of a police division, a police captain’s job duties might include:
Managing all officers and detectives within the department
Hiring administrative and police staff
Creating reports about their officers’ performance
Analyzing data to determine crime trends
Giving the media information about crimes and investigations
Working with the local government to create safe neighborhoods
Ensuring officers follow department policies and standards
Maintaining positive relationships with the community
Making sure officers are safe and well-trained
Police captains that specialize in certain divisions, such as homicide, have additional duties specific to that department. If the police commander is unavailable for any reason, the police captain assumes those responsibilities, as well.
$90,216 per year. This figure might vary depending on the city, police division, state budget and captain’s record and years of experience. Police often receive desirable benefits in addition to their salary, such as generous retirement plans, tuition reimbursement, monthly allowances for clothing and equipment and a patrol car.
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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.
Police Lieutenant Job Requirements
A police lieutenant typically needs to have the following qualifications:
Education: A minimum of a high school diploma or GED is required to become a police officer. Some police departments prefer an associate or bachelors degree.
Many aspiring police officers choose to earn a degree in criminal justice or another related field. These degrees typically take four years to complete and include coursework in criminal law, criminology, criminalistics, forensic science, police science, psychology and sociology.
Training & Experience: Police lieutenants generally receive on-the-job training during their first few months on the job. This training may include learning the departments policies and procedures, as well as the use of equipment and weapons.
Certifications & Licenses: Candidates can expect that most police departments will require them to pass a physical fitness test. These tests vary from department to department, but they typically include sit-ups, a running test and a vertical jump.
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How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer
When choosing to embark on any career, its certainly helpful to know how long the educational process will take. For those wanting to work as a police officer, there is no clear-cut answer to the question of how long training and education will take. It really depends on your long-term career goals, as well as which path you choose to get there. Here are some of the most common timelines you might encounter when looking at becoming a police officer.
Nowthat you have a rough idea of how long each educational pathwayusually takes before being able to serve as a law enforcementofficer, lets talk about what to expect from each specific path.
Is Becoming A Police Officer In Your Future
While the steps to becoming a police officer may seem lengthy, completing them is absolutely necessary if you want to achieve the fulfilling career youve set your sights on. And a good law enforcement program will help you navigate the process.
Now that youre familiar with the process of how to become a police officer, you may be curious if you have what it takes to excel on the job. Learn more in our article, Often Overlooked Qualities of a Great Police Officer.
If youre already set on becoming a police officer, visit our Law Enforcement degree page to learn how we can help you take the next step toward becoming a police officer in Minnesota.
The Law Enforcement programs at Rasmussen University are not aligned to the standards of any professional licensing body other than the MN POST and are not intended to satisfy professional licensure requirements of any professional licensing agency in any other state.Editors note: This article was originally published in June 2016. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2020. Insight from Shetler and Plantinga remain from the original.
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Impress At Your Police Officer Interview
Many hopeful applicants will be offered an interview during the hiring process. This is an opportunity to get to know you on a personal level, and sometimes that can be enough to land you that coveted job. Here are some questions you might encounter during that interview:
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How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer:
It takes approximately 6 months or 960 hours to complete police academy training. The Memphis Police Department Training Academy typically takes 22 weeks, or 880 hours, to complete. All in all, it may take as long as 2-years to become a police officer, including both pre-employment and training processes.
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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.
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:
How To Become A Police Captain
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a police captain. For example, did you know that they make an average of $47.66 an hour? That’s $99,143 a year!
Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 5% and produce 37,500 job opportunities across the U.S.
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How Much Does A First Lieutenant Earn
Basic pay for an entry-level First Lieutenant with 2 or less years of experience is $4,006.50 per month.
A First Lieutenant receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years.Basic pay is only a small percentage of a First Lieutenant’s final compensation package.
In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Army First Lieutenant may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including hostile fire pay, education allowance, and more.
For full details on the Army’s First Lieutenant compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2022 Army First Lieutenant Pay Chart. A full table of the Army’s current paygrades are available at the Army Pay Chart.
Police Lieutenant Salary & Outlook
Police officers salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of police department they work for. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.
- Median Annual Salary: $66500
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $124500
The employment of police officers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.
The need to prevent and control crime will likely result in continued demand for police services. However, budget constraints may limit the number of new police officers hired by some local governments.
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Looking To Join The Ranks
As you can see, police officer ranks can be extensive, offering lots of room for promotion and career advancement. The specific titles will vary as some departments skip certain ranks due to their sizes and needs. But knowing the framework will give you a better idea of what advancement in law enforcement looks like.
As officers rise through the ranks, their job duties might change, but the core of what they do stays the same: working toward creating safer communities. Officers who excel at this tend to be the ones chosen to lead their departments. But excellence on the force doesnt always look like what people expect.
Learn more about what the best officers bring to their work in our article 6 Often Overlooked Qualities of a Great Police Officer. If you think you could be a fit and would like to join the ranks, visit the Law Enforcement program page to learn more how Rasmussen University could help prepare you for a police career in Minnesota.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, www.bls.gov/ooh/. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.