Police Academy Education Requirements: Too Much or Too Little?

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Becoming a police officer is a noble and demanding job which requires careful consideration.  Are you willing to put your mind and body to the test with the police academy education requirements, and your body likewise through intensive training for a police academy physical fitness test?  Are you prepared to sacrifice for the greater good of your community? If you’ve honestly answered yes these questions, then you are exactly who police recruiters are looking for. The type of person who can put the greater good above his personal comfort: someone ready and eager to serve.

So what now? How does the process of becoming a police officer begin? As with most jobs today, the first step to becoming a police officer is obtaining adequate education. While the specific educational requirements vary from state to state, below are some general tips:

Get a High School Diploma… Now!

I know that I just told you that every state has different requirements regarding education and joining the police force, but no matter what state you apply to and high school diploma or GED® is a must!  A GED® is a general educational development test equivalent to having a diploma. If you’d like to learn more you can visit the official GED website. While a GED® is minimally required it’s helpful if you have an actual high school diploma. The GED® test displays your general competency but passing 4 years of hard schooling is better than passing one test. The police force is a competitive job market and any edge you can have on fellow applicants is beneficial.

Register Yourself For College Today and Thank Me Tomorrow!

More than 50% of police jobs in the USA require some form of higher education. The most common requirement is a two year degree from an accredited college or university or 60+ associate degree level credits. With that in mind, I need you to hear what I’m about to tell you: Whether or not your local police academy requires a college degree, you want one. Employers are looking to higher applicants who exceed expectations, especially in a field as competitive as police work.  Future goals are something to be considered here as well; are you always going to want to be a police officer or do you hope at some point to more up in the ranks to say a lieutenant or chief of police? If so, you can’t go wrong with expanding your education.

*Most states also have a process by which you can have some credits waived. This is typically if you have been in the military, took another police training course, or have other relevant life work experience. It’s always an advantage to have relevant college credits or previous work experience.

Read 5 Best Majors For Aspiring Officers (It’s Not What You’d Think!) for more information on how to select the best college major for your future as a police officer. Or you’d like to know more about your states exact requirements check out the state list on our homepage.