Despite the change in public opinion in recent years, plenty of young people seek a job in law enforcement. It’s hard to blame them. The pay and benefits are decent, and you won’t have to worry about your job getting outsourced. The inevitability of advanced robots might change that a bit, but we are still a long time from that happening.
Either way, a job as a public defender is a good option for many people. If you want to pursue a career in law enforcement, though, there are a few things you’ll need to do first, and we’re here to show you how to do them.
Meet the Minimum Requirements
Depending on the state or individual precinct you apply to, you must be 18 or 21 years old to become a cop. You must also be a U.S. citizen with a valid driver’s license. If you don’t yet meet these requirements, you can work to meet them in the future.
However, if you’ve ever committed a felony, you can never become a police officer. Some minor offenses could also bar you from this career path, but felonies are never allowed, so keep that criminal record squeaky clean.
Get the Right Education
As a baseline, all future law officers must either have a high school diploma or a GED. Associate’s or bachelor’s degrees are sometimes preferred and will help your chances, but typically aren’t required.
A college degree of some form is necessary if you want to become something more than a simple officer. To reach detective or work for the government, you need to have a degree in some form of law enforcement to stand a chance.
Pass the Entrance Exam
One thing to note is that pursuing a career in law enforcement isn’t as simple as applying for and getting the job. First, you need to pass the enforcement entrance exam. These tests vary from district to district, so the rules for passing might differ, but once you pass, you have to make it through the police academy.
Graduate From the Academy
The academy is where you’ll receive all of your essential training. From learning about the various criminal statutes to firearm training, you’ll do it all here. This is also when you’ll learn about all the gear every officer needs while on patrol.
Despite all of your hard work up until this point, if you don’t make it through the academy, you won’t become a police officer. Fortunately, you can try again later, but it still won’t be easy, so you’ll need to take the time to dedicate yourself to making it through.