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Becoming a Police Officer
No matter what part of the country you live in, police officers are always needed. This rewarding career provides several paths to explore the vast world of criminal justice. If you have a strong sense of justice and enjoy helping others, this exciting career path is filled with opportunity for you. A police officer is responsible for patrolling a given area and responding to calls. As an officer, expect to direct traffic, investigate crime scenes and help victims of accidents or crimes. Police officers also maintain law and order, collect evidence and conduct investigations. As an officer you must have solid analytical skills because you will be in the field a majority of the time and need to assess situations correctly for your safety and the safety of others.
The prospect of becoming a police officer is quite simple, but requires a lot of dedication and work. To even be considered to be hired, you must meet these requirements
- You must be able to pass physical, psychological, and civil service tests.
- Must be at least 20 years old
- Be a US citizen
- Be a graduate of high school or possess a GED equivalent (more police departments are requiring a two to four year degree in criminal justice)
- Being able to speak another language(s) is very useful and noted highly
Remember! Any applicant who advances their education in criminal justice will have an advantage. Take a look at these accredited universities listed below for more information.
Then, when you think you've met all the prerequisites, do the following:
- Take high school and/or continuing education courses in business math/accounting, computer applications and behavioral sciences.
- Maintain or create a high level of physical fitness.
- Use common sense. There will be a background check, and a career in law enforcement can quickly be short-circuited by "youthful indiscretions."
- Take the written civil service exam for police officers. You can obtain information about the exam through your local police department.
- Pass the physical exam, which typically includes tests of vision, hearing, strength and agility.
- Pass the lie detector test.
- Pass the drug test. In addition, should you become a police officer, you may be subject to continued random drug testing during your employment.
- Have an interview with a senior officer and/or take a personality test to assess your personal characteristics, such as judgment, integrity and responsibility.