How to Become a Police Officer or Law Enforcement 

How to Become a Police Officer

How to become a Police Officer

The Basics of Becoming a Police Officer

Are you investigating how to become a Police Officer? It is a Police Officer's responsibility to enforce laws, maintain order, and protect the public. They accomplish these goals in various ways including by patrolling their assigned areas, responding to emergency calls, and issuing traffic tickets or arresting crime violators. But a Police Officer's work doesn’t stop there. They may also investigate suspicious activity, obtain warrants, and sometimes even handle crowd control.

The requirements for becoming a police officer vary state to state. However, all Police Officers must have a high school diploma or GED and graduate from a training academy. Some police departments may require a college degree. O*NET reports that 24% of police officers have an associate’s degree. Other important factors to consider; it is common that you need to be at least 21 years old, have a driver’s license, pass multiple exams including physical, written and drug tests.[ii]

A Police Officer’s Salary Potential

Average Police Officer Salary
[ABOVE] National Salary Averages for a Police Officer[iii]

Top States with the Highest Salary Averages[iv]

States Lowest 10th% Salary Highest 90th% Salary
California $57,690 $114,450
New Jersey $55,540 $117,570
Alaska $52,040 $93,650
Nevada $49,790 $89,730
District of Columbia $49,070 $85,350

How Do Your Skills Stack Up?

day to day life of a Police Officer

As reported by O*NET, these types of tasks are conducted every day in this role – would you feel comfortable performing these tasks as part of the day to day life of a Police Officer?[i]

What Will You Learn with a BA in Law Enforcement Administration?

A bachelor’s degree in law enforcement administration usually covers course work such as:

  • Introduction to Law Enforcement Administration
  • Community Policing
  • Training Management
  • Investigations Management
  • Law Enforcement Personnel Management

Bachelor’s degrees in law enforcement are typically designed to provide students with the expertise to help them manage and lead police law enforcement and other agencies. In addition to general education courses, students typically learn how to analyze criminal behavior; maintain social order; understand race, crime, and social policy; and evaluate guidelines for policing communities. In some programs, students may also be responsible for creating a final project that illustrates their understanding of research, demonstrates their critical thinking skill, and shows their writing capabilities.

Famous Police Officers

When it comes to police officers, famous just doesn’t cut the mustard as history’s most famous police officers are legendary, and have been portrayed over and over again both on the big screen and TV. According to Biography these are a few folks who would fall into the bucket of famous police officer:

  • Wild Bill Hickok, most notably remembered as the sheriff of Hays City and marshal of Abilene
  • Eliot Ness, known for combating Al Capone as a American prohibition agent
  • Wyatt Earp, known law man in the American West and known for the gunfight at the O.K. Corral
  • Joseph Pistone aka Donnie Brasco, famed FBI agent who rose in the ranks of the Bonanno crime family
  • Allan Pinkerton, founder of Pinkerton National Detective Agency, known for his pursuit of train robbers including the famous Jesse James as well as for developing techniques still used today such as ‘shadowing’ and ‘assuming a role’

FAQs About How to Become A Police Officer

What is the average Police Officer salary?

What job titles are similar or the same as Law Enforcement?

What are common types of software I would have to learn as as Law Enforcement?

What types of personalities are a good fit for becoming a Police Officer?

 

Sources: [i] onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm#tab-4 | [iii] bls.gov/oes/current/oes333051.htm | [iv] earnmydegree.com/sites/all/files/public/Top%205%20Salary%20States-police.pdf | Job information sourced from onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3051.01  [v] seattle.gov/policejobs/hiring-process/qualification [vi] wsp.wa.gov/employment/requirements.htm [vii] bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm#tab-6