Police Officer Job Outlook
Job security matters to everyone. In fact it may be more important than overall salary after all, whats the point in having a well-paying career if no jobs are available? The overall expected job growth for police officers is 5%, which is the exact job growth for all career fields in the United States.
Like salaries, however, job growth will depend heavily on location, as certain areas, especially growing cities, will be adding to their police force, while other cities may actually be eliminating positions. Crime rates, according to the BLS, have been falling, but a demand for police to maintain and improve public safety will fuel job increases.
One of the main challenges, however, will be the low rate of job turnover. People hired in this career rarely leave unless they are promoted unlike other careers where people take jobs, work a couple year, then transition into different jobs. This increases competition for these jobs, which makes the need for education all the more important. People with degrees in law enforcement, criminology, multiple languages, and beneficial skills can greatly increase their chances of being hired.
What Classes To Take In College To Become A Police Officer
Becoming a police officer is a noble goal. As a police officer, you help to protect and serve your community and make a difference in the lives of the people around you. It doesnt hurt that you have the potential to earn a good salary, have great retirement benefits and health insurance for yourself and your family either. So, just how do you go about becoming a police officer? Here are some tips for you to get started.
Law Enforcement Professionals With Leadership Skills Are In Demand
There is a lack of leadership training programs in law enforcement and many traditional criminal justice programs incorporate leadership as just a small portion of their curriculum. As a generation of baby boomers are retired or retiring and the profession is faced with a slew of new challenges such as new technologies, calls for reform, community policing requirements and structural changes, leaders with knowledge of these and other current issues facing law enforcement are in great demand. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of officers who meet these criteria.
For police officers interested in leadership roles, taking the initiative to enroll in an accredited masters degree in law enforcement leadership may be a better option than waiting to receive department-funded training. Good leadership training programs give officers the tools they need to not only advance their careers, but also drive positive initiatives and growth in their department. As Gregory A. Warren EdD, Captain of the Delaware State Police, wrote in Police Chief magazine, great leadership drives both individual and organizational high performance, allowing an organization to realize its vision.
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Requirements To Become A Police Officer In Texas
The minimum enrollment requirements for training as a Texas Peace Officer, as set out by Commission Rule 215.15, are as follows. Candidates must be/have:
- 21 years of age or older, or 18 years and older if the candidate has at least an associates degree or 60 hours worth of credits from an accredited university or college
- A citizen of the United States
- A clean criminal record
- A valid Texas drivers license of current Class C status
- No trace of drug dependency
- A high school diploma
- Free from any medical or physical conditions that could get in the way of their duties as a police 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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What Do You Need To Become A Police Constable In Toronto
Officer candidates follow a detailed application and training process to become police constables with TPS. Once hired, new recruits attend the Ontario Police College for Basic Constable Training. You need to meet the following minimum requirements to become a Police Constable in Toronto:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada,
- Be at least 18 years of age,
- Be physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to your own safety and the safety of members of the public,
- Have successfully completed at least four years of secondary school education or its equivalent. . Where education has been completed outside Ontario, official proof of equivalency must be obtained,
- Be of good moral character and habits, meaning that you are an individual other people would look upon as being trustworthy and having integrity.
In addition, you must:
- Have no criminal convictions for which a pardon has not been granted,
- Possess a valid driver’s license with no more than six accumulated demerit points, permitting you to drive an automobile in Ontario with full driving privileges,
- Have current certification in CPR and first aid by the time the offer of employment is given,
- Possess a valid O.A.C.P. certificate,
- Have a minimum of 20/40 vision, with normal colour acuity,
- Successfully pass the hearing standards as outlined by the O.A.C.P.,
- Be able to pass a security clearance as well as a background investigation, credit and reference checks.
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?
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The Application Process For Police Officer Candidates
It isnt easy becoming a police officer. Potential candidates need to go through a stringent application process designed to weed out those who dont have what it takes to become outstanding police officers.
Police officers help maintain peace and order and ensure that members of the community stay safe. This job comes with immense responsibility. The application process itself is not for everyone.
Canadian police agencies generally follow the same process which involves a series of tests, checks and interviews, including:
- A written exam
- A polygraph exam
- A background investigation
Some of these tests require detailed paperwork but minimal preparation. For some tests, like the physical tests, you would be best prepared if you did a fitness training program, prior to, depending on your fitness level. Other tests, like the polygraph exam, require no preparation at all.
Applicants can be declined at any point in the stages listed above and even if a candidate passes every stage, an offer of employment is not guaranteed.
Once you have completed all assessments, your entire application package is reviewed and measured against other applicants to determine the most suitable candidates for the role as a police officer.
If you are recruited, you can expect a conditional offer of employment that allows you to advance to the final step before you become a police officer: cadet training.
How To Become A Police Officer In Texas
- Page Content
- Field training
Law enforcement is a complex system that deals with the ordering of society according to the laws that govern it. Police officers are part of that system and are charged with the task of enforcing laws, protecting property, and maintaining civil order. As such, they carry out a wide range of activities and duties in the carrying out of their functions as public servants.The road to becoming a police officer can however be grueling. The selection process is long and can be difficult. Even after you get selected by a police department, you have to undergo extensive training to develop essential skills. In order to become a police officer in Texas, you will need to meet at least the minimum requirements set out by the state.
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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
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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A Brief Review Of Current Hiring And Promotional Policies
Police Department Education Requirements
Currently, approximately one percent of local police departments in America require their officers to hold four-year degrees, as highlighted by Reflections from the One-Percent of Local Police Departments with Mandatory Four-Year Degree Requirements for New Hires: Are They Diamonds in the Rough? by Diana Bruns. And whats more, only eight percent of police department in the U.S. require officers to have attended any college at all. 83 percent of U.S. police agencies require officers to hold a high school diploma. With more than 17,895 law enforcement agencies employing 1.1 million full-time police officers working in the U.S., as well as an additional 100,000 part-time employees, this means that fewer than 200 police departments require their police officers to hold four-year degrees from an accredited college or university.
Some police departments have a combination of requirementsonly some of which must be satisfiedregarding the education levels of new cadets. For example, the New Jersey State Polices minimum qualifications for applicants include:
- A bachelors degree or
- An associates degree or the completion of 60 credits and two years of employment or
- The completion of 30 college credits and at least two years of active military duty service.
Police Department Promotional Policies
Police Department Hiring Policies
Less Likely To Use Violence
Research shows that, overall, college-educated officers generate fewer citizen complaints. They are also terminated less frequently for misconduct and less likely to use force.
Regarding the use of force, officers whove graduated from college are almost 40% less likely to use force. Use of force is defined as actions that range from verbal threats to use force to actually using force that could cause physical harm.
College-educated officers are also less likely to shoot their guns. A study of officer-involved shootings from 1990 to 2004 found that college-educated police officers were almost 30% less likely to fire their weapons in the line of duty. Additionally, one study found that police departments that required at least a two-year degree for officers had a lower rate of officers assaulted by civilians compared to departments that did not require college degrees.
Studies have found that a small proportion of police officers about 5% produce most citizen complaints, and officers with a two-year degree are about half as likely to be in the high-rate complaint group. Similarly, researchers have found that officers with at least a two-year degree were 40% less likely to lose their jobs due to misconduct.
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Duties Of A Police Officer
The life of a police officer is often demanding and can be difficult. However, it is a very purposeful and rewarding profession. Police officers carry out a wide variety of tasks. As law enforcement officials, they are responsible for maintaining peace in their communities and this duty has a number of different aspects.
Some of the tasks carried out by police officers include:
- Hostage negotiations
Education And Military Requirements
If you are between 18 and 20 years of age, you must have an associates degree or at least 60 hours worth of credits from an accredited college or university. Usually, candidates will take courses related to law enforcement such as criminal justice, sociology or psychology to give them an edge in this competitive field.
If you do not meet the education requirements, you can substitute college credit with military service however, you must have received an honorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces after at least 2 years of active service.
For those who are 21 years of age or older, college credit or military service is not required.
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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:
Best College Degree For Police Officer
Police officers need a broad range of skills to thrive and excel in these careers. From solid communication to a strong understanding of human behavior, police officers will find a lot of value from an associates or bachelors degree in many different fields. The best major for you will be one you have a unique interest in and one that you would like to apply in your career as a police officer.
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What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Police Officer
The life of a police officer is a high-demand career, requiring the upmost integrity, a broad assortment of mental and physical skills, and a steadfast commitment to the protection of your community or the nation as a whole. As such, vigorous training is needed for this noble profession.
But first, you have to meet some of the most basic requirements, including
- U.S. citizen
- 18 years of age
- Valid drivers license
- Clean criminal record*
*It is possible to be hired as a police officer if your record only has minor offenses in the distant past. Felonies will disqualify you from entry as a police officer.
Additionally, an entrance exam testing basic comprehension skills is typically required to be accepted as a police recruit and enter the training academy. View a study guide to get an idea of what type of questions may be asked.
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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Job Outlook And Salary
According to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , job growth in this field is expected to take place at the rate of 5% between 2012 and 2022.
Data from O*NET OnLine shows that the median annual salary for peace officers in Texas in 2013 was:
As public servants, police officers are respected members of the much larger system of law enforcement a system, responsible for maintaining civil order and peace in society. Police officers go through extensive training in order to become sworn members of a police force. Furthermore, the selection process can be quite intense. If you are interested in a career of protecting and serving society in Texas, then consider becoming a police officer.