Police Officer Career Requirements

A police officer is entrusted with the security of the nation and is responsible for upholding the law. Thus, they are also one of the most carefully vetted employees on earth. As far as education requirements go, they do not need much. But they do have a lot of other physical, mental, legal requirements that they need to meet to protect the citizens. Let us look at some of them in depth.

Educational Requirements

The education requirements of a police officer aren’t that much as mentioned before. In most cases, they just need to have a high school degree. However, sometimes, a minimum of two years of college course completion is necessary. This means that a diploma or an associate’s degree will do just fine. If you want to pursue some other division like cyber crime or forensics, you may have to go in for higher education. Getting posted at the federal level does require you to have a bachelor’s degree. You will have a written test before entering the police academy. This will primarily be based on ethics, the knowledge that you gained in high school and some general knowledge.

Physical Requirements

The minimum age required is about 18-21 years, depending on the department you are applying to. As being a police officer is a very physically demanding job, you will need to ensure that you have enough stamina, endurance, and strength. To ensure this, the selection process includes a Physical Ability Tests or (PAT). Here you are made to do a variety of physical tests including mile long runs, sprints, obstacle course and much more. It may also include crunches, lifting weights and other exercises to determine fitness levels.

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Legal Requirements

If you have a police record, then it is grounds for immediate disqualification of your application. Thus, a clean record is a must for applying into a police academy. Under some extraordinary circumstances, these crimes may be overlooked but only if they were minor in nature. You can also expect a very thorough and comprehensive background check. They not only check your records, but also go to your previous and current employers, and family members. They will find out if any form of your behavior is undesirable in the police academy.

Consumption of drugs and other controlled substances is prohibited. It is mandatory that you have not received a DUI ticket in a period of the last 10 years. During the selection process, a physical test is done which includes various urine and blood tests. These tests are done for this very reason – to check use of controlled substances.

Mental Requirements

All police officers need to be mentally tough. They come across a lot of gruesome images every day, especially homicide detectives. They need to have enough mental fortitude to stay strong and keep pursuing their career. They need to be able to make decisions under extreme pressures, and they better be the correct ones. Every time they make a decision; someone’s life may hang in the balance.

To ensure that the aspiring officers have what it takes to endure all of this, the selection process has a mental examination called the oral board. Here the senior officers pressurize you and make you take decisions at such times. There is also a psychology test to ensure that you have the right personality type to be a police officer.

As you can see, the job of being a police officer is quite demanding, and so are its requirements. One requirement that wasn’t mentioned above is discipline and respect towards authority. They need you to follow your superior’s order whenever they make one. Now that you know how tough the job and training can be, only one question remains – Are you up for the challenge?