How to Become a Cop
If you have a passion for public service, you may be a prime candidate for law enforcement. In order to work in such a field, you need to learn how to become a cop. Police officers are the face of the criminal justice system. When most people think about criminal justice careers, they immediately think of cops. You can be one of those uniformed individuals in almost no time at all. You just need to know what you’re getting yourself into. Here is a basic look at what you may go through in your police officer training.
Step 1 – Earn a High School Diploma
You do not need a college degree to become a cop, but you do need to hold a high school diploma. If you dropped out of high school, you at least need to hold a GED to be accepted into a police training program. In some cases, you may be able to take courses in computer applications, behavioral science, and math to make up for the lack of a high school diploma.
Step 2 – Take a Pre-Entrance Exam
You must take a pre-entrance exam before you can get accepted into a police academy for training. This test reviews your skills in basic math, English, reading comprehension, and other subjects along those lines. It should be fairly similar to standardized tests you have taken in the past, but it is something you may still want to study for. With a passing grade on that test, you can move on to the actual training for your career as a cop. If you do not pass the test, you should be able to take it again in the near future to try again. You may need to put in a decent amount of effort before you can get into a police academy.
Step 3 – Get into a Police Academy
Research police academies in your area and online to find out where you may want to obtain your training from. Most police academies have a waiting list of students, so do not expect to get into one right away. Apply to a few of your choice and wait for a reply with your acceptance. Then you simply need to wait for the academy to begin.
Before you fully get into a police academy, you will need to pass a drug test, background check, lie detector test, and physical exam. Make sure that you have a clean record well before you get involved with cop training, as you will have to go through an intense examination before being admitted into a program. You will also need to keep up your physical fitness because that is an important part of being a police officer.
Step 4 – Go through the Academy
Most police academies take three to four months to complete, which is a relatively short period of time compared to college degree programs. During the months of your training, you will learn about the skills and information you will need to work as a cop. You may be scouted to work for one of the police departments in your area when you get out of the academy, which would give you a jump start on your career. You can determine if you want to take up those opportunities, but most people jump at the chance to get hired when they get out of training.
Step 5 – Graduate from the Police Academy
When you complete all of your training and exams, you will graduate from the academy just as you would any other school. For some students, that means immediate entry into the work force. For others, that means that they have to start the dreaded task of finding a job. Police officers are in high demand nowadays, so you should be able to obtain work pretty easily after learning how to become a cop.
Step 6 – Get Enrolled in a Reserve Program
A reserve program in law enforcement is essentially an internship program that you can go through until you get hired as an actual police officer. This will get you closer to a job without officially giving you a source of income. Most graduates do not spend long in their reserve programs before they become full-fledged officers.
Step 7 – Become a Police Officer
The only thing left to do is to be hired as a cop in a police station. Then you can work your way up the ladder to become whatever position you want to be as a cop. The whole process should not take more than about six months, so you could be a cop by this time next year if you get a head start now.
If you feel that criminal justice careers are perfect for you, you may want to investigate how to become a cop in your home town. Then you will know exactly what you need to do to work in the career of your dreams.
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