Apply To Become A Police Officer
Working as a police officer is a popular job, so it makes sense that each job opening has more than a few applicants. In fact, in some areas of the country, becoming a police officer can be a highly competitive process, with hundreds of qualified applicants vying for only a handful of positions. Given this, its very important to learn how to stand out from the pack of hopefuls and get the attention of those who call the shots when hiring time rolls around. The following resources can help you with everything from cleaning up your resume to understanding how to interview for the job you really want.
Virginia Deputy Sheriff Requirements
Virginia sheriffs and deputy sheriffs work in detention centers, provide security at courthouses, and provide rural patrol and law enforcement services. To become a Virginia deputy sheriff, you must at least meet the state minimums for law enforcement officers. Some departments may have additional qualifications for candidates.
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:
How To Pass The Police Application Form
The police officer application form is the very first stage of the selection process. It is also the stage at which the vast majority fail. We have created a fantastic resource, which takes you through the entire police application stage. Not only will we show you how to answer competency based questions, but well also show you how to construct values and motivations type responses.
If you want to pass the Police Officer application stage, then this is the perfect resource!
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 Community Support Officer
Although they do not have the same powers as a police officer, PCSOs play a key role on the frontline of neighbourhood policing. According to the College of Policing, the job involves:
- dealing with minor offences
- providing support to police officers
- conducting house-to-house enquiries
- guarding crime scenes
- providing crime prevention advice.
Starting salaries are typically between Â£17,500 and Â£20,000, although North Yorkshire Police states that their trainees currently earn Â£21,135, which rises to Â£23,406 with experience.
This is a uniformed role, and you’ll work shifts including evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
Apply for PCSO positions directly through the police force that you want to join. You do not generally need any formal qualifications, but you’ll need to meet the basic eligibility requirements set by individual police forces. Check their websites for details.
The application process typically involves an application form, online tests, an interview and assessment centre. You’ll also have to demonstrate your fitness and pass a medical test. Successful applicants will then undergo a training programme lasting between three weeks and three months.
You may later decide to apply to become a police officer, or continue as PCSO.
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.
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The New Core Competencies
As of 2018, the UK police have been piloting a new selection process, which has resulted in major transformation. Some forces are using new competencies and values, to assess their candidates. So, please be sure to check with your constabulary which process they are using before you apply! Below weve listed some information on the new police values and competencies.
THE POLICE VALUES
Similarly to the core competencies, the police values are a key part of the basic behavioural guidelines for any police employee. As one of the most esteemed and respected organisations in the world, the UK Police naturally have a number of values that they expect all candidates and employees to abide by, along with a strong code of ethics. In the past, the police have largely focused on the competencies of candidates rather than on their values as a person. While these values were still important, they played a secondary role. Now, the police are recognising that its extremely important to hire candidates with strong values and ethics, and the new selection process is a reflection of this.
THE NEW COMPETENCIES
The new police core competencies are as follows:
- Emotionally Aware
- Analyse Critically
- Innovative and Open Minded
Each of these competencies has 3 levels to it. You can find out more information about all of these competencies in our fantastic guide!
How The Police Application Forms Are Assessed
- An A-grade means that, when compared to other candidates, your score was within the top 15%.
- A D-grade answer means that your answers were in the bottom 15%.
- Your marks are added up to give an overall score. To pass, candidates must achieve a B grade in 3 out of the 4 competencies, or a B grade in 2 out of the 4 competencies, as well as a B grade overall.
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How To Become A Police Officer: Your Step
By on 02/10/2020
There are plenty of Hollywood movies out there that detail the rigorous physical training involved in becoming a cop. You might even be able to picture the obstacle courses, shooting ranges and tactical scenario training rooms. These are all important elements of police officer trainingbut they only make up one portion of the process.
Given the high level of responsibility and trust afforded to law enforcement, the standards for becoming a police officer are higher than what youll likely find in many careers. The specific standards and process will vary slightly based on the state, county or town youre applying to work in, but there are a few universal requirements to become a police officer you should be familiar with.
If youre wondering how to become a police officer, youre in the right place. Keep reading for a high-level breakdown of the path to pursuing a career in law enforcement.
Applying To The Academy
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Pennsylvania Trooper Or Highway Patrol Requirements
The Pennsylvania State Police are responsible for traffic control and enforcement on state highways as well as crime scene response and investigation on state property or in cooperation with local law enforcement. Anyone looking to become a Pennsylvania state trooper must meet MPOETC standards and:
- Be between 21 and 40 years of age
- Be a registered resident of Pennsylvania
- Have a valid drivers license
- Have at least 60 college credit hours OR four years of full-time law enforcement experience OR two years of law enforcement experience with powers of arrest plus 30 college credit hours
- Satisfy the PSPs personal appearance policies regarding hygiene, body art, and hairstyle
Once admitted to the recruitment program, all candidates must complete a training period of approximately 27 weeks, during which trainees will train in an intense paramilitary-style environment. The starting salary for Pennsylvania state troopers is $61,820 per year.2
Police Now Graduate Schemes
Police Now is an independent charity with a mission to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing.
The organisation works in partnership with police forces to attract, recruit and train outstanding graduates with leadership potential to be inspirational detectives and police officers through their award-winning national graduate programmes.
Equipping participants with core policing skills, Police Now’s two-year national graduate programmes help to develop leadership, communication and problem-solving skills that will serve graduates, and the wider community, for a lifetime.
The two graduate programmes are:
- National Graduate Leadership Programme which trains and develops graduates to become leaders in neighbourhood policing. Participants are placed in some of the most challenging communities in England and Wales, getting to know the issues up close and developing innovative ideas and techniques to tackle the challenges residents are facing.
- National Detective Programme which is designed to equip graduates with the core policing skills required in modern investigative work. Throughout the programme, participants play an important part in solving crimes while developing leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Both programmes involve the completion of a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice with the University of Huddersfield.
To be eligible for Police Now’s national graduate programmes, you must:
Law Enforcement Training Program Requirements
- Minimum 21 Years of Age
- High School Diploma or GED
- United States Citizenship
- Illinois Firearms Owner Identification card
- Valid Illinois Drivers License, not revoked or suspended
- No felony convictions
- Illinois Statute: 50 ILCS 705.6 No applicant will be admitted to a certified academy unless the applicant is a person of good character and has not been convicted of a felony offense or a crime involving moral turpitude under the laws of this state or any other state, which if committed in this state would be punishable as a felony or a crime of moral turpitude.
- Under Federal Law, conviction of any offense as a result of domestic violence incident prohibits possession of a firearm, resulting in automatic ineligibility for hire as a police officer.
For more information about the Police Academy Intern Program, please contact Director Van Muschler at 618-235-2700, ext. 5396 or ext. 5265 or by e-mail at or visit the Police Academy site.
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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Complete Coursework & Field Training
The coursework involved in a program that leads to work as a police officer can vary depending upon the institution and the degree level. For instance, those in a training academy will dive right into the nitty-gritty of everyday police work and not touch on general education requirements, such as you would find in an associate degree program. In both the associate and the bachelors program, students will encounter not only general education courses and several possible electives, but they will also focus on the core courses for police officers, such as those in criminal justice, ethics, corrections systems, communication, and more. Heres a good idea of courses you might encounter, either in the core curriculum of the degree program or at the police academy:
- Patrol Procedures
Ensure A Career As A Police Officer Is Right For You
As with any job, its important to take a hard look at what the position requires to determine whether the career path is really right for you. Not only is it important to consider the career in general, its also important to look at the education required, the on-the-job intensity that police officers might experience on a day-to-day basis, and other factors. Its also a good idea to consider advancement if you have an eye toward higher-level administrative or federal work, is becoming a police officer the best stepping stone? Here are some questions to ask before diving into training to become a police officer.
- Do I have the physical strength to restrain dangerous individuals or save innocent civilians?
- Can I effectively read peoples emotions and feelings, in particular when it comes to assessing an individuals credibility and danger to others?
- Can I make difficult decisions that often have no ideal outcomes?
- Am I comfortable taking on a leadership role, whether it be as a community resource or point of assurance during a crisis?
- Am I good at communicating with others, especially in high stress situations?
If you answered yes to these questions, you may be an excellent fit for a police officer career.
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Virginia Police Officer Requirements
The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services has many responsibilities, including accrediting law enforcement agencies in the state and maintaining training programs for in-service and entry-level police officers. In order to qualify for the police academy, candidates need to meet qualifications set by the Virginia legislature and DCJS. This means that prospective Virginia police must:
- Be 18 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be a US citizen
- Submit to a background investigation
- Have a valid drivers license with an acceptable driving record
- Have no felony convictions or disqualifying misdemeanors
- Not indulge in drug use or excessive use of alcohol
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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