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.
Military Experience In Lieu Of A Degree
The educational requirement mandated by hiring agencies is typically waived for candidates who have previously served in the military. Veterans of the US armed forces or other uniformed services are given priority, mainly because their training, experience and learned skills translate well into law enforcement. Candidates with military experience must prove that their retirement has been finalized, that they were honorably discharged, and that they are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit to serve as police officers.
How Do I Make Myself More Marketable
California is a highly desirable state to work in, so it doesnt hurt to stick out from the bunch. Having an associates degree in Criminal Justice can be highly beneficial. If you dont have that, it doesnt hurt to take some criminology classes to boost your knowledge and expertise. Are you bilingual? Awesome! Many police agencies in the Golden State are searching for candidates who can speak in other languages in addition to English particularly Spanish.
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Do You Need A Levels To Join The Police
Direct Application Youll generally need A levels or an equivalent level 3 qualification, or experience in a related area like the military. Youll usually apply to one police force at a time. If your application is successful, youll be invited to an assessment centre where youll: have an interview.
How Much Does It Pay
According to the most recent occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and sheriff’s patrol officers in California make an average salary of $107,440 per year.
And even though California is one of the most expensive states to live in, the state makes up for that by offering the highest pay to police officers in the country. In fact, cops in California make nearly 60% more than the national average police salary of $67,290.
This article, originally published May 2018, has been updated.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a cop? Download a veteran police officer’s list of the 10 questions you need to ask yourself before starting a career in law enforcement by filling out the form below:
10 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE BECOMING A POLICE OFFICER
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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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Criminal Justice & Criminology
Another degree field that will be helpful is criminology. This field of study takes a broad-range, science-based approach to crime, looking at crime statistics in relation to frequency, causes, demographics, and more. This is an academic discipline heavily rooted in science , so a curious mind and an aptitude for numbers is helpful. When complete, this degree is useful for career advancement, as it can be applied to the big-picture issues that law enforcement leaders need to tackle.
Although sharing many similarities to criminology, criminal justice focuses on navigating the societal systems that have been set up to stop crime, punish criminals, and reduce future instances. Basically, a criminal justice degree gives you a thorough understanding of law enforcement, the court system, and corrections. Once again, this degree is extremely useful for future advancement, as it gives a strong understanding of the overall crime-prevention efforts in the United States. Its beneficial for people who want to shift horizontally in law enforcement, moving into areas such as victim support or rehabilitation.
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How Do You Prepare To Become A Police Officer
Before applying to take the law enforcement exam, ensure that your criminal record is free of major charges that may otherwise disqualify you. Also, check that your driving record is also clear of tickets or other minor offenses.
You can also complete physical conditioning to improve your fitness before the exam. Both endurance running and weight training can help you to prepare your body for the police academy.
What Skills Are Required To Be A Successful Police Officer
- Interpersonal skills
- Empathy and compassion for others
- Effective communication
- Clear and concise writing
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- The ability to remain calm
- Working knowledge of public safety software/systems
- Understanding of regulatory reporting requirements
- Good physical condition
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Texas Trooper Or Highway Patrol Requirements
Texas has approximately 225,544 miles of rural highways and the state depends on the Texas Highway Patrol to patrol those highways.2 The THP has over 2,100 commissioned officers and is divided into seven regions and 19 districts.2 In order to be eligible for a Texas state trooper position, prospective officers must satisfy state requirements and:
- Be 21 years old upon graduation from the departments law enforcement academy
- Have at least 60 credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university*
- Have uncorrected vision at the following levels: 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other eye, 20/30 in one eye and 20/400 in the other eye or 20/20 in one eye and 20/400 in the other eye.
*Applicants with prior law enforcement or military experience may substitute experience for required semester hours.
Training for the Texas Highway Patrol takes place at the Departments Law Enforcement Education Academy. The curriculum is made up of intense physical and academic classes across a span of 28 weeks. Troopers are paid a base salary of $55,481 per year while in training, $60,613 upon swearing-in, and $73,208 after a 12-month field training probation period, with regular increases thereafter.2 Note that the basic schedule for Texas state troopers assumes a 50-hour work week as the standard.
Skills Needed To Be A Police Officer
Being a police officer is one of the best jobs in the world! Our successful candidates having met the minimum requirements, possess 10 basic skills:
- Communication skills
- Skill in assessing situations recognizing when to take action and deciding on an appropriate course of action
- Skill in reading, comprehending, retaining, and applying written factual information
- Skill in analyzing situations quickly and objectively recognizing actual and potential dangers determining a proper course of action
- Skill in observing and remembering detail
- Willingness to confront a variety of problems and situations
- Interpersonal / interracial / public relations skills
- Skill in operating a motor vehicle
- Dependability and sound work habits
- Characteristics necessary to maintain integrity, truthfulness and credibility
We are especially looking for the following qualities:
- Proven ability to establish effective working relationships and rapport with people from various racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds
- Demonstrated skill in relating with the public in a fair, tactful and courteous manner, regardless of cultural differences
- Demonstrated skill in effectively dealing with persons in various emotional and mental states
An applicants capacity in these areas is evaluated in part by the experiences documented by personal, professional and volunteer references police and security contacts and interactions with their background investigator.
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Which Gcses Will Help You Develop The Skills You Need To Become A Police Officer
One of the subjects which you could study at GCSE to build up the skills that you will need to become a Police Officer includes GCSE Physical Education . This is not only an enjoyable subject to study at GCSE because of the practical element, but it will also give you the opportunity to start developing your teamwork and leadership skills, which will be essential for any aspiring Police Officer.
You could also consider taking a Modern Foreign Language course at GCSE, which will improve your communication skills, and perhaps widen your ability to speak to people in your community who you will be working with from different backgrounds. Being able to speak to someone in their native language could be very valuable in a number of different ways as a Police Officer. You will be able to put people at ease, as well as understand any information that they are giving you.
A Modern Foreign Language also gives you some insight into the culture of another place, and therefore could be helpful in making you more understanding of peoples backgrounds.
For very similar reasons, you may want to consider taking a subject such as Religious Studies. This will give you more insight into the religious beliefs that people hold. Again, it could mean that you have more of an understanding of peoples backgrounds, and this could improve your day-to-day working life.
Police Officer Education Prerequisites
To become a police officer, youll need these education prerequisites:
- Be a U.S. citizen over 20 years old
- Not be a convicted felon
- Have earned a high school diploma or a GED
- Must pass several competitive written and physical examinations
- If youre thinking of working at the state or federal level, youll need a college degree.
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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.
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:
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Continuing Education And Career Advancement
Once you have completed all of these steps to becoming a police officer, you will still have plenty to learn. Nothing beats on-the-job experience to show you all of the specialized areas police officers might want or need to learn more about. The best officers are never done learning.
Similar to other industries, officers must meet continuing education requirements in order to renew their license. For example, Minnesota police officer requirements mandate a minimum of 48 hours of continuing education within the three-year licensing period in order to maintain their license.
In addition, active officers are required to train annually in use of force and once every five years in emergency vehicle operations/pursuit driving. Specialized training may also be directed by your police department based on federal and local needs. Departments might also incentivize other education opportunities to encourage their officers forward. Additional training or credentials may be required for those looking to climb the police ranks.
What Are The Minimum Requirements For Ontario Police Officer Applicants In Ontario
Before applying, ensure that you meet the minimum requirements. The following list of application requirements applies to most police agencies in Ontario:
- Minimum 18 years of age
- Fluency in English
- Canadian high school diploma or equivalent
- Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident
- Valid current standard first aid / CPR C certification
- Class ‘G’ driver’s license, full driving privileges, and a maximum of 6 demerit points
- No criminal convictions which have not been pardoned and no criminal charges pending
In addition to the above, the Toronto Police Service requires candidates to meet the following requirements:
- Possess a valid O.A.C.P. certificate,
- Be able to pass a security clearance as well as a background investigation, credit check, and reference check.
Willingness to serve anywhere in the province is an additional requirement for those applying to the Ontario Provincial Police.
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Step : Interview With The Academy Manager
After completing the above steps, your chosen academy will contact you to schedule an appointment for an interview with the Academy Manager. This should be considered a formal interview, so please dress accordingly. The Academy Manager will determine the candidates demeanor and suitability to become a certified Peace Officer in the State of Georgia.
Police Officer Salaries In Ontario
The provincial hourly rate ranges from $30.05-$57.69/hr with a median hourly wage of $46.15/hr. The salary range for police officers in Ontario is $56k-$117k/year, while the median annual salary is $97,115/year.
The median employment income in 2015 for police officers in Toronto was $107,627. The median employment income in 2015 for police officers in Ottawa was $105,533, and the median employment income in 2015 for police officers in Hamilton was $106,485.
The starting salary at the Toronto Police Service is $70,643.30/year. By the fourth year, expected the annual salary to be $100,923.48/year. Benefits include paid vacation, family medical and dental benefits, life insurance, pension plan, and paternal and maternity leave.
The starting salary at the Ottawa Police Service is $67,615.92/year. By the fourth year, depending on your performance reviews, the annual salary is expected to increase to $99,434.93/year. Benefits include education reimbursement programs, a generous pension plan, medical, dental and vision coverage, life insurance, as well as long-term disability insurance.
Meanwhile, if working for the Ontario Provincial Police , the average salary is roughly $100,500/year.
Here is a list of average salaries for police officers in Ontario, according to Glassdoor:
|$98K – $104K|
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Q Is There A Demand For Police Officers
Now, more so than ever.
It seems that, although crime is down in the United States, it is still important that Police Officers are around to protect people.
There will likely always be a need for Police Officers, so getting into the police academy is a great idea.
With the increase in technology, there are more jobs opening for Police Officers working in the cybercrime unit.
Many officers are retiring as well, which means more jobs are opening up.
Hearing And Eyesight Requirements
Officers may be required to demonstrate a particular level of acuity with their seeing and hearing. As an example, the City of Scottsdale, Arizona, requires officers to have 20/20 vision or better, with certain allowances made for the use of contact lenses or glasses. Additional requirements include an ability to discern different colors and demonstrate strong peripheral vision.
Meanwhile, the City of San Diego requires âpure tone threshold testing for each ear separately at 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, and 6000 Hz.â Special considerations are mentioned for officers who wear hearing aids, specifically requiring them to demonstrate a high level of speech comprehension.
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Police Officer Jobs & Job Description
Police officers maintain a sworn law enforcement position that involves protecting life and property of community members through enforcement of laws and ordinances. Duties vary slightly from department to department, but police officers core duties to their organization and to the public are as follows:
Senior police officers may pursue more of an administrative track as Sergeant, leading to Captain, or may pursue cases of more complexity and experience is required as a detective or lieutenant. By either career path, senior police officer jobs often require a deeper base of experience, and may require individuals to handle additional confidential information and advanced decision-making and ethical challenges. While jobs do vary, such senior roles have the following tasks:
- Assign police work of varying difficulty
- Use available resources and problem solving techniques
- Deploy staff for community engagement
- Develop resources
- Enforce and emphasize laws and ordinances
- Prevent crime through a variety of means
- Investigate complex cases
- Network with other professionals and stakeholders
- Prioritize cases based on stakeholder need, violence, or scope
- Perform hazardous and strenuous tasks
- Exercise initiative and judgment in various situations
- Oversee departmental matters