What Tests Do I Need To Pass To Become A Police Officer
With no federal standards for the minimum requirements for becoming a police officer, each state has its own testing methods to determine eligibility for the job. However, there are some basic criteria for police hiring qualifications such as being at least 21 years old with a high school diploma or GED equivalent and at least two years of higher education.
Here are some of the most common types of tests recruits need to pass to become certified:
Physical fitness tests
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:
What Do You Do In The Police Academy
When accepted into a police academy, you’ll take part in classes and practical instruction learning state laws, criminal investigations, patrol procedures, firearms training, traffic control and more. The design of the police academy is to be an intensive learning experience, so expect to spend almost every moment of the day either learning, exercising or both.
A typical daily schedule for an academy recruit living on campus in a dormitory comprises:
Awake at 5 a.m.
Asleep at 10 p.m.
Police Academy Application Forms
Students should not complete KCCs Police Academy application until they are sure they meet the requirements to start the Police Academy portion of the Law Enforcement degree. The general education courses do not require this application. Students unsure about whether or not they are ready to apply should contact KCCs Criminal Justice office at 269-660-7703.
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.
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Police Academy Required Criminal Background Check
The goal of the background check is to evaluate whether or not you have the moral, ethical and legal character essential to someone with the honor of carrying a weapon and badge. This means that the background checks given to applicants are extremely thorough. From the time the application is sent in, applicants are being judged. Academies are looking for those who are thorough and responsible therefore applications should be filled out accurately, completely, and in a timely fashion. Preliminary investigations will look into criminal history as well as: education, residential history, employment history, driving record, credit score. There is a chance that the police academy will question the applicants friends, family, past employers, and former teachers to gather information on work ethic and overall character.
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.
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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.
Preparing For The Police Academy Fitness Test
How do you prepare for your respective agencies PT test standards?
For starters, you will need to get a baseline to see where you are in terms of scoring. Once you get your baseline now you may begin your training. I recommend doing an upper/lower split your first two days of training and then the other two will be functional type of training.
Day 7 off
Week Leading Up to Police Academy Fitness Test
By now you have an idea of where you need to score to get into the academy. Hopefully, you have tested yourself at least once a week.
It is very important that the week leading up to your PT test you dont exercise hard. You take the time to stretch, drink plenty of water, fuel your body and rest your body for the test.
One thing you should not do, on the day of the test, take some pre-workout. Your heart rate is already high because of the stress of the test, and it will be dangerously high if you add pre-workout.
One thing I would recommend is to eat well that morning of the test. Have a cup of coffee and add some toast, avocado, and fruit to help fuel your body. Stretch the night before and drink plenty of water.
You now have an idea of what to expect and how to prepare for the police academy. The above workouts and PT standards will not only help you prepare for the PT test but also prepare you for the physical demands of the Police Academy.
I wish you the best of luck at the Police Academy and your future law enforcement career.
-Detective Ayman Kafel
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How Student Officers Are Selected
The MPTC is mandated to train new hires of municipal, University of Massachusetts, and Environmental police departments. This course is open to new officers from agencies outside of the MPTCs mandate. Individuals interested in the police profession not hired by a police department are welcome to apply.
Seats are filled in this order:
Prepare For The Academy
Once accepted into a police academy, you must complete a rigorous physical training schedule. Many academy cadets drop out or are released because they are unable to maintain the physical training requirements. The Los Angeles Police Department Academy recommends that applicants prepare by running continuously for at least 30 minutes daily before entering the academy. Recruits must also complete various physical activities such as pushups, situps and pullups.
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Police Academy Fitness Test 2
Push-Ups: eighteen in one minute
Sit-Ups: twenty-seven in one minute
Flexibility: approximately 1.5 inches beyond toes
1.5 Mile Run: maximum time of 15 minutes and 20 seconds
In Fitness test 2 the numbers I provided are the minimum standards to just pass. You will be expected to surpass the minimums to achieve a high score.
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Fitness Test 3
Push Ups, no time but continuous pushups without stopping.
Sit ups 1 Minute
1 ½ mile run
To attain a passing score on the PT test, you must earn at least 1 point in every event and at least a cumulative score of 12.
Scoring Scale for One-Minute Sit-Ups
Associate Degree In Law Enforcement
An associate degree in law enforcement prepares graduates for police careers by providing the information necessary to pass police academy entrance exams. The associate degree usually takes two years to complete, is a well-rounded degree with general education courses mixed in, and serves as a stepping stone to the bachelors degree. Because each associate degree program will be tailored to the requirements of the local and regional law enforcement departments, curriculums will vary. However, some of the classes incoming students can expect include:
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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.
Whats Covered In Academy Training
Local agencies, such as the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, dictate the level of training required to become a police officer in their region. Academy training includes a blend of classroom and practical training. Youll take classes in firearms, first aid, criminal law, emergency vehicle operations, defensive tactics, and investigations. At the same time, youll learn about department processes for procedures like arrests and reports.
Most programs will include specialized training, based on the location. For example, departments in large metro areas may train on counterterrorism, riot control, and bomb squad. In addition, other programs may focus on community policing, problem-solving, and patrolling.
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Police Academy Requirements For Age
Most police academies have an age minimum and maximum age limit however the police academy requirements for age vary from state to state. While the majority of states require that applicants be at least 21 years of age, few do allow applicants as young as 18 years old. In regards to the age limit, most police academies prefer that applicants be under the age of 36 years old. This is due to the police departments required retirement age of 56. Those 36 and older may still apply but will most likely only be eligible for part-time positions upon graduation.
*EXCEPTION: Applicants with prior active military duty are given leniency in regards to age.
Fulltime Police Academy Requirements
An entry-level academy operated or approved by the Municipal Police Training Committee that has the prescribed course of study that a full-time police officer must satisfactorily complete prior to exercising police powers in Massachusetts.
Candidates accepted into a police academy must:
- Be a minimum of 21 years old
- Be employed or sponsored by a municipal, Environmental, or University of Massachusetts police department or, if authorized by the Committee, some other law enforcement department.
- Successfully complete the Massachusetts Human Resource Division’s Physical Ability Test and medical examinations
Sponsored candidates must also sign and comply with the terms of the academy’s waiver and release form.
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Police Academy Fitness Test
Youve made the decision and went through the process to become a police officer. You have been selected and have been given a conditional offer of employment. In the offer you are required to pass the background investigation, pass a Physical Ability Test and finally complete a police academy. Here is an example of what to expect before the Police Academy Fitness Test.
You think to yourself, am I ready? Am I in great physical shape to pass the PAT and the police academy?
I have been a police officer for over 10 years, a detective, on a SWAT team and a Field Training Officer . I graduated the police academy in 2007 and it was physically demanding. It was a good thing I kept myself in peak physical condition because at the academy, they did not have time for those who werent in shape. One of the instructors yelled at us, YOU COME HERE IN SHAPE, WE DO NOT HOLD HANDS AND YOU WILL NOT PASS IF YOU DONT MAKE THE STANDARDS.
I am going to give you some pointers on how to prepare for the PAT and academy. Most physical fitness tests arent a secret. The standards are available online so it is up to you to prepare for them.
General Entrance Requirements For The Academy
- United States citizen or permanent resident alien who is eligible and has applied for U.S. citizenship prior to application for employment.
- Minimum age for Academy acceptance is 21. You must be 21 years of age to purchase a firearm and to be hired by an agency there is no maximum age limit.
- High school diploma or equivalency.
- Valid California Class C driver’s license.
- Lack of a felony record or outstanding warrants.
- Academy Physical Training Preparation
- DOJ Clearance Letter
To be successful as a participant in the San Diego Regional Academy you will be expected to arrive with a base level of fitness. The Academy Physical Training program is 24 weeks long with Physical Training Sessions 23 times per week. Physical training will consist of speed and distance running, weight training and circuit training. You will be required to pass a Work Sample Test Battery consisting of an obstacle course, dummy drag, 6 foot wall climbs and a timed run.
Taking the time to adequately prepare for the Academy will increase your chance of being successful while greatly decreasing the chance of injury while in the Academy.
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Wait On Eligibility List
Once your name is placed on the new recruit eligibility list, the rest of the process involves waiting for the next police academy class to start. There is no set cycle for classes to start. To determine when the next class is scheduled to start, contact the investigator who conducted your formal interview or the NYPD candidate relations desk at 718-312-4226.
Programs In The Police Academy
When you decide to pursue your career by going through the police academy, you will learn relevant skills based on your goals and the needs of the police. The academy trains in criminal law, defensive tactics, firearms safety, first aid, policing, and related topics. The exact standards and programs available through the police academy depend on the state. Each state sets different standards for the programs, so you will want to evaluate the details for your state to determine the training you can expect.
Keep in mind that you will also go through physical training as part of your studies. The physical training focuses on helping you pass the physical fitness test when you complete the program.
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