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How to become a Police Officer

To be trained as a police officer in a police academy, one must be a U.S. citizen that's at least 21 years old with a high school diploma and no criminal convictions. One can pursue a criminal justice course and then join the police force. A potential candidate for a police officer job has to be medically and physically fit, prudent financially and must meet the vision and hearing requirements. Applicants are given written tests, undergo background checks, drug tests and are psychologically evaluated.

How to become: Law Enforcement Officer · Deputy Sheriff · Patrol Officer · Security Officer · Chief of Police
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What skills help Police Officers find jobs?

  • Bilingual
  • Communication skills
  • Computer skills
  • Criminal defense law
  • Customer service
  • English
  • First aid
  • Law enforcement
  • Leadership
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Military
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Career progression for Police Officer

Education levels for Police Officers

Based on the requirements of Police Officer job openings on Indeed in the United States within the last three years.
required level of educationpercent of job openings
High school diploma or GED41.4%
Bachelor's degree31.3%
Associate's degree20.6%
Master's degree6.8%
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Expected salary by experience

Based on resume data from Indeed users who reported working as a Police Officer in the United States within the last three years.
Years of experienceAnnual salary in USD
0 - 4$36,600
4 - 8$37,300
8 - 12$41,000
12 - 16$43,900
16 - 20$44,500
20 - 24$44,200
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Common qualifications for Police Officers

Explore popular schools to earn these qualifications

Peace Officer Certification

Houston Community College
Virginia Wesleyan University
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    Common questions about career advices for a Police Officer

    What qualifications do I need to be a police officer?

    To become a police officer you will need to graduate high school or get a GED, get a bachelor's degree (optional) and graduate from the police academy. Each state or city may have additional requirements.

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    How many college credits do you need to become a police officer?

    Each state has different requirements for how many college credits are required to become a police officer. Many states and police academies require around 30 college credits to enroll in the police academy.

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    How can a police officer remain competitive?

    Police officers aiming to be professionally competitive can further their education by enrolling for a criminal justice degree. The degree increases their skills set and can help them get jobs in forensics, crime scene investigations, paralegal, corrections or to become FBI or DEA agents.

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    How can I become a detective from a police officer?

    How long does it take to become a detective from a police officer?

    What skills are needed to become a detective from a police officer?

    What certifications are needed to become a detective from a police officer?

    What licenses are needed to become a detective?

    What are the next steps after I become a police officer?

    How many years does it take to become a police officer?

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