Explore career information by location
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.
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.
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.
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.