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What Schooling Do You Need To Be A Police Officer

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How To Become A Police Officer: The Definitive Guide

Do You Need College To Be A Police Officer?

Have you ever felt afraid and then spotted a Police Officer and felt much safer?

Are you the type of person that enjoys helping people and keeping criminals off the streets?

Do you have an affinity for the latest crime documentaries and FBI television shows?

If this sounds like you, then you may be just the right person to be a Police Officer.

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.

For a look at some of the police officer jobs currently available in California, visit our careers page. You can also check out POST listings here.

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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  • Additional Police Officer Education

    Once youre accepted by a law enforcement agency, youll receive 12 to 14 weeks of instruction in a police academy. Police education coursework includes these programs:

    • Classroom instruction in constitutional law and civil rights
    • State laws and local ordinances
    • Accident investigation
    • First aid
    • Emergency response

    Continuing education is also required for police officers and detectives. Many agencies pay all or part of the tuition for officers to earn a degree in criminal justice, justice administration or public administration, and pay higher salaries to those who earn such degrees.

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    How To Become A Police Officer In California

    Like most of the country, California is in need of police officers here’s what you need to know

    It doesnt get much better than the Golden State. From the stunning sequoias in Yosemite to the beautiful beaches of Santa Monica, California truly has something for everyone.

    And with a total of 509 law enforcement agencies in the state, there are plenty of places to choose from. Here’s how to become a police officer in California.

    Potential Disqualifiers For A Policing Career In Canada

    Learn About Becoming a Police Officer

    When preparing yourself for a policing career, you need to be aware of what will disqualify you from the police application process. As far as the written, physical, and medical exams, the requirements are fairly consistent across all agencies.

    Language Disqualifier: You need to be fluent in either English or French including being able to speak, read, and understand one of these languages.

    Physical Disqualifier: You cannot be in poor physical condition. Failure to successfully complete the physical examination in the minimum time frame is an automatic disqualification.

    Test particulars can vary from one police agency to the next. However, all tests simulate critical incidents that police officers are exposed to. For example. the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation , used by the RCMP, consists of three sections:

  • Running 6 laps around a 350-meter obstacle course where you are required to climb stairs and jump over hurdles
  • Pushing and pulling a 70lb weight
  • Carrying 80lbs over a 15-meter distance.
  • Psychological Disqualifiers: A candidate can be disqualified if they do not meet the minimum psychological examination requirements.

    Work Environment Disqualifiers: Police departments require you to work shift work which includes nights, evenings, weekends, and holidays as policing takes place 24 hours per day. If you are unwilling to accommodate this type of work schedule, you will be disqualified from the process.

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    Is A Degree In Criminal Justice Worth The Effort

    As you consider the merits of obtaining a degree in criminal justice, it will probably occur to you that you can become a police officer more quickly if you forgo the degree and just sign on with a police force, where you will be given basic training in the police academy. However, you won’t just be passing up possible opportunities to earn a higher salary in the future, but also maybe even the opportunity to work in a variety of interesting fields as your career advances.

    Some of the jobs holders of criminal justice degrees might also go for are legal assistant, paralegal, detective, criminal investigator, forensic science technician, police supervisor, probation officer, corrections officer, security guard, fraud investigator, FBI agent, CIA agent, U.S. postal inspector, immigration and customs enforcement agent, DEA agent, Secret Service agent, blood splatter analyst, U.S. marshal, and transit and railroad police.

    But aside from the great career diversity the criminal justice field offers, a degree in CJ also provides students with a richer background that will help them put their skills to better use once they begin work. Criminal justice instructors generally bring their own varied experiences into the classroom, and can help students develop a deeper understanding of the challenges they will face in the field and the best ways to respond to them.

    It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!

    The Ontario Police College

    New recruits must pay the $11,065 tuition fee to attend the OPC. Recruits can’t attend the OPC until details pertaining to the tuition are sorted out. This fee can be paid in a single lump sum or payments can be withdrawn across 27 pay periods. Interest will not be applied. It is possible to obtain financial assistance from the Police Credit Union.

    Prospective Ottawa police officers will be happy to know they are compensated while in training since recruits qualify as employees of the service. Payment commences once the recruit begins the initial training period with Ottawa Police. This occurs before one attends the OPC. There’s no need to worry about living accommodations because living quarters are provided to every new recruit. You can even stay on campus on Saturdays and Sundays. In total, the OPC program lasts 13 weeks. The program commences when one is selected and signs the job offer.

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    Seek Education And Preparation

    In most local and state police departments, a high school degree or equivalent fulfills the police education requirements for joining the force. While there aren’t police colleges, a college degree can benefit a candidate, and a minority of agencies requires a two-year or four-year college degree. For example, Boston College as a Criminal Justice undergraduate degree that provides a foundation for this job field. At the federal level, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s police officers, as well as its special agents, must own a four-year college degree. A level of higher education in a police-related discipline such as criminal justice helps officers gain promotions and earn higher salaries after they are on the force.

    Get The Right Police Education & Training

    Police Jobs : How to Become a Police Officer Without a Degree

    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

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    Police Officer Titles And Career Concentrations

    Police officers go by many names and titles, including law enforcement officer, patrol officer, peace officer, public safety officer, state trooper, and uniform patrol police officer.

    These are generic names for the same occupation. You can get more specific by incorporating rank. Officers, troopers, deputies, and corporals are all names for lower-ranking officers in different types of agencies. Sergeants, lieutenants, captains, and so on up to chief, commissioner, or sheriff are titles for higher-ranking officers in different jurisdictions.

    These ranks are separate from police officer concentrations, which are numerous. Here are 11:

    Bachelor Of Science Or Bachelor Of Arts

    Another option for police officer education is the bachelors degree. Similar to an associate degree, a bachelors degree can be in the form of a Bachelor of Science , a Bachelor of Applied Science , or a Bachelor of Arts . Bachelors degrees usually take four years of full-time study to complete, and prospective or current cops may choose to pursue a bachelors in any subject in order to fulfill most departmentseducational requirements. For students considering a career in federal law enforcement, jobs like CIA officer or US Marshal may require a bachelors degree in a criminal justice-related subject, such as homeland security, criminology, or law enforcement. To be the most competitive candidate for these federal positions, many students pursue graduate degrees after obtaining their bachelors. Most bachelors degrees require around 120 credit hours to graduate, including foundational and specialized coursework. Law enforcement bachelors degrees may include courses such as Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, Ethics in Criminal Justice, Community Policing, Crime Analysis and Investigation, and others.

    Police Officer Education Matters-Rydberg and Terrill, The Effect of Higher Education on Police Behavior, Police Quarterly

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    Earning A Degree To Be A Cop

    Part of what makes the preparation for a police officer job such a puzzle is that there arent any definite answers. Educational requirements for police officers vary from state to state and from police department to police department, as well as across different law enforcement jobs. There is no one specific course or program of study that is meant as a major for police officers.

    However, there are some degree paths that are more relevant than others to the work of law enforcement officers. Many aspiring police officers choose to major in criminal justice, police science, political science, public administration, paralegal studies and homeland security or emergency management. These programs of study give you practical skills or foundational knowledge or both to help you be a better police officer.

    For example, going to college for one of these majors may help you develop qualities like communication skills, perceptiveness, the problem-solving skills that lead to good judgment, empathy for others and leadership skills, which the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported are among the most important characteristics for police officers. You might also learn the fundamentals of the most important knowledge areas for police officers, which O*NET identifies as public safety and security, law and government and psychology, among others.

    Beyond Law Enforcement Careers

    What Education And Training Do You Need To Be A Police ...

    No matter how much pride you get from patrolling streets, responding to emergencies, and being a first-contact between the police department and the community, you may eventually want to leave your position and go beyond a police officer career.

    So what are your options? When it comes to advancement, police officers should consider positions both vertically and horizontally.

    If you are most interested in vertical promotions should first focus on being the best police officer possible. Like any career, attitude makes a difference. While you can train for hundreds of hours a year and have decades of experience on your resume, an attitude focused on the positives of policing will be crucial for your success. Good captains, chiefs, and commissioners need a strong attitude that will rub off on the minds of other officers.

    Education still matters. While many ground-level police officers are hired without a college degree, higher-ranking police officers are all but required to have a post-secondary academic education. An associates, or better yet a bachelors degree, is a wise choice for anyone who aspires to work in law enforcement leadership.

    There are almost no limits to the potential careers beyond a police officer position. From advancing in your local department to taking your skills to the private sectors, police officers have a variety of skills that can apply almost anywhere!

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    What Other Courses Do You Need To Complete To Become A Police Officer

    Because there are different routes into the Police, the steps that you should take after graduating will vary. If you have a degree, you can do a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice while working as an officer. There are also a number of different steps that you will have to go through in order to get on to any training course or start any job working for the Police. These include: fitness and medical tests, as well as written assessments and interviews.

    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:

    Criminology

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    Law Enforcement Degrees & Training

    Masters Online
    The police department I want to work for doesnt require anything more than a high school diploma. However, they prefer recruits to have some legal-related postsecondary college credits before enrolling in the academy.
    Im working full time as a police officer right now. I know I need to get another degree to increase my chances of getting promoted within my department, but my work schedule is so varied that I dont have the ability to take classes on a set schedule.
    I dont know exactly where Id like to end up as a police officer, but I do know I want the potential for advancement, to give myself the best chance of being hired and to be eligible for federal law enforcement positions, such as at the DEA or FBI.
    I hope to someday take a leadership position within law enforcement, even becoming a police captain or police chief.
    I would like to gain additional knowledge about law enforcement. Many departments I intend to apply to require applicants to have several dozen college credits, if not a full degree.

    How To Become A Police Officer

    What Should I Know Before Pursuing a Career as a Police Officer?

    When you think of a police officer, you probably picture someone who prevents and investigates crimes. While police officers certainly do deal with crime, they also engage in public service, act as first responders, work as security in courtrooms, and more. The duties of a police officer may change depending on whether they work for the federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement agencies. You can pursue a police officer career with any of these agencies, and in many different capacitiesfrom a patrol officer to a bailiff, and from a game warden to a narcotics agent.

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    What Degree Do You Need To Be A Police Officer

    Police officers typically hold a high school diploma or a college degree. However, all police officers are graduates of their departments training academy. Many police officers are also military veterans with extensive experience in weapon handling. If you want to become a police officers after graduating from college then consider majoring in criminal justice or a related major.

    What Does A Police Officer Do How Much Do They Make

    Police officers perform a vital task in our society by protecting people from a wide range of threats and dangers. As a police officer, your duties may include responding to emergencies, arresting suspected lawbreakers, patrolling neighborhoods, and protecting the rules of the road. Moreover, some cops work on specific types of crimes, such as narcotics, SWAT, or even homicide.

    Some police officers go on to become detectives, who are charged with solving crimes and preventing them from occurring. Typically, officers must serve for at least three years before theyre eligible to become a detective. A detective position usually comes with a pay raise while the average salary for a police officer is $65,400 a year, detectives have a median income of $81,920.

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    List Of Police Services Websites

    Thank you for your interest in our local police services. Below is a comprehensive list of of the Police Services in Ontario. Once you click the link, you will be directed to the Police website.

    Those interested in federal-wide policing can contact the RCMP for job opportunities. Please note that the RCMP does have a different Constable Selection Process and does not require the OACP Certificate in order to apply.

    Royal Canadian Mounted Police

    Section 83 of the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019, stipulates a person appointed as a police officer must:

    is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada

    is at least 18 years of age

    is physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to his or her own safety and the safety of members of the public

    is of good character

    has successfully completed, prescribed training by the Minister

    In addition, you must

    obtained a University Degree or a diploma from a college of applied arts and technology,

    possess a valid driver’s licence with no more than six accumulated demerit-points, permitting you to drive an automobile in Ontario with full driving privileges

    have current certification in Standard First Aid Level C CPR by the time the offer of employment is given

    be able to pass a security clearance as well as background investigation, credit and reference checks.

    This certificate is valid for 2 years. That includes all documents in Part A and the Part B, Part C testing.

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