How to Become a Police Officer: The Key Steps to Take

How to Become a Police Officer: The Key Steps to Take

Did you know that only 35% of people pass the police exam test, and only 10% of those who pass get job offers?

Being a police officer is no easy feat, with rigorous steps from a background check to several tests. It’s not as simple as finishing a degree and passing a licensure exam. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a headstart.

Has it always been your dream to protect and serve your community? We got you. Read on to learn how to become a police officer.

Pass the Background Check

One key thing to remember is that police officer jobs require a background check. If you wish to uphold the law, then you must follow it as well. This means having no criminal history and even spotless credit history.

While a background check may not be your first priority, it’s worth taking into consideration.

After all, there’s no point in investing time and effort in preparing for the exams only to fail later. It is best to consult if you have prior records or concerns that might affect your chances of candidacy. For this, you can go to any police academy and ask for their admissions representative.

Another factor to take into account is your credit history. This gives an employer an understanding of how responsible you are or any problems you have. These problems include addiction to gambling or debt, which speaks of your character.

Employers will also look into your criminal history and your history of employment. It is important to choose a reputable academy as they will check for your residency. Your academic records and performance are also important so make sure to do well in the academy.

Automatic Disqualifiers

The main purpose of a background check is to weed out any bad potential candidates. Some of the automatic disqualifiers of a police candidacy are gross misdemeanors. Having a felony also disqualifies you from becoming a police officer.

Any domestic violence charge also disqualifies you from the exams. Convictions of any misdemeanors can also lessen your chances of being an officer. But these depend on the charges of your misdemeanors.

Less severe offenses might be an issue, but it depends on the department.

Get a Degree or Finish Academy Training

A degree from a POST-certified academy or training is different based on state. A POST-certified academy is any academy with board-approved peace officer education. Not every university or academy has a Professional Peace Officer Education program.

This step varies depending on which state you want to become a police officer in. Some do not need college degrees but may have a preference for them. Other states need you to get an associate’s degree or any training equal to it.

In general, you need a 2-4 year degree in a Criminal Justice field from a POST-certified university. Since these standards are different in each state, it is best to check with the agency in your state.

While an associate’s degree is not always a need, it is a plus when applying for a job. A college degree can add to your skills, such as critical thinking or the ability to read and write well. Having an advanced degree also helps you advance your career faster.

Pass the POST Licensing Exam

Passing your Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) exam is important. This determines whether you can become a police officer. Each state has a different licensing board with different standards, so tests differ.

Generally speaking, most POST exams cover topics you learned during your academy education. This will cover practical applications and even techniques you learned through training. This is also heavy on criminal and civil law, so read up on those.

Another important topic these exams cover is community policing. These exams even have questions on victim rights, communication, and management. Passing this exam lets you be a police officer and start enforcing the law in your jurisdiction.

Undergo and Pass Your Psychological Evaluation

Police officer jobs can get overwhelming and thus need emotional and mental stability. Before you secure a job as a police officer, most agencies will have you go through a final test. These tests cover your mental stability and fitness.

These psychological tests will be different according to the agency you apply to. However, they generally have written exams. This might include a one-on-one interview where you get assessed by a psychologist.

Some states subject their police officer candidates to a polygraph test. A polygraph test checks your honesty when answering the previous questions asked. It helps your exam proctor to look for signs of instability and measure your integrity.

Accumulate Police Challenge Coins

If you think you have what it takes to become a police officer, you should get police challenge coins. What are challenge coins? Police challenge coins are a great way to connect with peers in the police force.

These coins have a long-standing being part of the police tradition and serve to honor police officers. This can be a great way to commemorate your achievements after passing your POST exam. MetalPromo can help you create unique police challenge coins that are sure to suit you.

Learn How to Become a Police Officer Today

Now you know how to become a police officer. Use this guide to ace your police exam and complete the steps toward protecting your community.

However, the journey doesn’t stop here! Want to learn more about what it takes to become a police officer? Check out our other blog posts for more career guides.

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About the Author: Tom William

My name is Tom William a expert content creator and SEO expert having Proven record of excellent writing demonstrated in a professional portfolio Impeccable grasp of the English language, including press releases and current trends in slang and details.