How to Become a Police Officer

The police force makes up the largest sector of criminal justice careers in America, and it grows in size every year. Police officers are the front runners in the field of criminal justice, serving as a universal source of protection for communities across the country. If you are looking for a rewarding, well-paying job to commit to in the near future, you should learn how to become a police officer. In no time at all, you could be working the streets with the men and women on the force. Here is a look at what it takes to become a police officer in the present world.

Are You Cut Out to Be a Police Officer?

Before you investigate how to become a police officer, you need to know if this is the right career path for you. A few questions to ask yourself:

  • Can you think quickly on your feet?: Police officers must think quickly in order to catch criminals in action. You must be able to assess a situation in an instant and determine what the best solution will be for it.
  • Do you like helping others?: Police officers work every day to protect and serve members in their community. If you have a giving heart, this could be a great venue to offer your services through.
  • Can you be strict when you need to?: Most police officers are nice people as a whole, but they know when to “lay down the law” if they have to. If you’re completely soft no matter what, this may not be the career for you.
  • Are you physically fit?: Cops have to stay somewhat in shape to keep up with criminals on the go. While physical fitness is something you can work on, you need to have enough passion to make that happen. Otherwise, you may not go very far as a police officer.
  • Do you obey the law?: If you can’t abide by the law, how can you expect other people to? Before you sign up for a police academy, you need to think about how often you bend the rules.
  • Can you memorize the law?: Law enforcement officials must be as up to date as they can be about laws in the area. If you know that memorization isn’t your strong suit, you need to plan to work harder than others to remember laws you come across.

If you think you fulfill the general characteristics of cops, you can continue learning how to become a police officer. If not, you may want to look into other criminal justice careers to see if those would be better suited for you.

Becoming a Police Officer

If you watch this video from eHow, you can listen to an actual police officer talking about what he went through to start his career.

As you can see from that video, the steps to becoming a police officer are as follows:

  • Pass a pre-entrance exam.
  • Apply for entrance into a police academy.
  • Attend approximately 15 weeks of classes in the police academy.
  • Apply for work with a police department.
  • Get hired and begin your career.

You may experience some variations in those steps, but the basic process is the same for every police officer. As long as you obtain the training you need to work in the force, you should have no issues finding a place of employment. Police officers work in many areas of the criminal justice department, so finding work is simply a matter of assessing your career opportunities.

Getting Hired as a Police Officer

You may be lucky enough to get a job when you are in the police academy. Some law enforcement offices will send out “scouts” of sorts looking for people to join their task force. If you get discovered while attending your classes, you may be able to jump into a job right after you complete the training program. Otherwise, you will need to complete your training, write a resume, and apply for work with a police department in your area.


Learning how to become a police officer is the easy part. Actually becoming one takes commitment, determination, and in some cases, a little lucky. If you think this is a career path you want to follow, you should start exploring the training opportunities you have available to you. Police officers are in high demand at the moment, so you may only be a few weeks away from guaranteed work. You just need to remain focus on your education, and success will surely follow.

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