This is a complex question as the time it takes to become a police officer varies greatly from department to department. The requirements to become a police officer are 19 years of age or older and a GED or high school diploma. Then there are specific requirements and screenings for each department, which once again vary from department to department. Lastly, you have to complete the academy which usually takes 2 to 4 months but can take up to 6 or 9 months. Upon completion of the academy you will be eligible to get hired.
Each state has different guidelines. Some states leave these requirements up to individual cities or counties. Most require a high school diploma, and many places only recruit applicants with a college degree. Though a degree is not required, it often helps learn about the profession, while also helping understand different positions with the law enforcement career field.
Finally, most states require you to successfully attend and complete a basic police academy. Some states require this within a certain time frame, while others require the academy completion before being eligible to be licensed. This basic academy is going to require 4-6 months, minimum, to complete. Once finished, a law enforcement agency is then going to send you through a 12-18 week field training program. All of this will happen before you are released to work on your own. So, 8-12 months gets you in the door and working on your own. Then the real learning happens!
Nick recommends the following next steps:
Sounds like you are considering a great career. Do you want to be an officer or a detective? I listed some websites below which I hope will help you get your answer. I included police officer and detective qualifications.
Usually you have to have a high school degree, but a college degree in Criminal Justice or Law Enforcement would be very beneficial because of the possibility of a higher salary and a chance of promotions.
The website on “How to become a Police Officer” has a lot of information which I believe will be very helpful to you Kryston. It is straight forward with some very good information. It also talks about colleges and Law Enforcement programs which you may or may not be interested in, but the information about qualifications will hopefully be helpful.
I wish you the best of everything in your school and career endeavors, Kryston, you are looking at a great future.
Christine recommends the following next steps: