So you’ve decided to look into how to become a police officer. Each state has different police academy requirements and employment requirements so we’ve taken all that information and placed it on one site.
You can check out the police academy requirements by state below or read some of our tips on how to successfully apply. Whatever you’re looking for we hope you find it at Police Academy Hub.
5 Universal Police Academy Requirements
1. Police Academy Requirements for Education
Obtaining a high school diploma or GED equivalent is the minimum police academy requirement for education in most police academies. Many academies encourage a two year college degree from their applicants without making it a requirement. Having a college degree can give applicants an edge on acceptance to the academy. When deciding on a college major, keep in mind that police academies will be looking for relevancy to your future job. Classes focusing on criminology, legal studies, sociology and psychology are all useful for aspiring police officers.
2. Police Academy Training Requirements
Police academy training is both mentally and physically rigorous. Police academies don’t like dropouts so the police academy requirements for physical and mental health are strict. A physical exam is required to enter as well as graduate from any police academy. The initial physical exam evaluates overall health and fitness, whereas the final physical exam evaluates competencies in areas such as: endurance, agility, and knowledge of police skills. An estimated two-thirds of recruits cannot pass the final physical exam upon entering the academy [source: NYPD Police Academy]. Daily physical training is highly recommended, check out this article on police academy training.
In the life of a police officer, academic knowledge is just as important as physical ability. Police academy recruits are required to take a written and oral exam. This exam covers topics such as law, ethics, and law enforcement rules and regulations. In states with larger immigrant populations, the learning of a second language is also required.
3. Driver’s License Requirements
Applicants must have a valid driver’s license registered to the corresponding state in which they attend the police academy. A clear driving record is beneficial, however not always a requirement. Police Academy attendees will be taught extensively on defensive driving.
4. Police Academy Requirements for Age
Most police academies have an age minimum and maximum age limit however the police academy requirements for age vary from state to state. While the majority of states require that applicants be at least 21 years of age, few do allow applicants as young as 18 years old. In regards to the age limit, most police academies prefer that applicants be under the age of 36 years old. This is due to the police departments required retirement age of 56. Those 36 and older may still apply but will most likely only be eligible for part-time positions upon graduation.
*EXCEPTION: Applicants with prior active military duty are given leniency in regards to age.
5. Police Academy Required Criminal Background Check
The goal of the background check is to evaluate whether or not you have the moral, ethical and legal character essential to someone with the honor of carrying a weapon and badge. This means that the background checks given to applicants are extremely thorough. From the time the application is sent in, applicants are being judged. Academies are looking for those who are thorough and responsible; therefore applications should be filled out accurately, completely, and in a timely fashion. Preliminary investigations will look into criminal history as well as: education, residential history, employment history, driving record, credit score. There is a chance that the police academy will question the applicants’ friends, family, past employers, and former teachers to gather information on work ethic and overall character.