How to Become a Police Officer?

Police officers are an essential part of any community. They take an active role in a wide variety of important fields. Their bravery in fighting crime and selflessness in helping the public make them heroes in the eyes of their community.
That being said, how can someone join the men and women in blue? This guide sets out to answer that question and talk about what’s required to join their ranks.

What Does a Police Officer Do?

A police officer’s tasks can vary significantly. These tasks and how an officer goes about executing them directly affect their community.
Among these tasks are maintaining order, providing security, and acting as first responders. However, the two most vital parts of their job are enforcing the law and engaging in public service.

Enforce the Law

This basically means that officers have to make sure that the law is followed according to the rules and regulations of their county, city, and state.
This is accomplished by specializing in a certain field within the police force. Then, they apply said expertise in the field, reducing the percentage of crime by a great deal.

Public Service

The second half of any police officer’s duties lie in working with the community as a whole. Through this service, they offer a plethora of services to make sure that it’s safe, building trust in the process.
These services can differ in their goals: such as making sure someone is ok by doing a “wellness check.”
They also offer education programs to keep the public informed. In addition, they sponsor various events to raise money for different causes in the community, as well as raise awareness.

Why Consider Becoming a Police Officer?

Each person aspiring to be a police officer has their own personal reason for reaching that goal. Still, there are some common reasons shared by all officers, such as:
  • Wanting to make a difference within the community
  • Saving lives and lowering crime
  • Representing a certain minority in the police force
  • Helping troubled teens and young adults
  • Building a more trusting relationship between police and the community they’re serving

What Are the Pros and Cons of Becoming a Police Officer?

There are always benefits and drawbacks to any job you take. It’s important to know what to expect if you’re seriously considering being a police officer.


Take a look at some common advantages of being a police officer.
  • Pride: officers take pride in their work because they feel that they’re making a difference in people’s lives
  • Unity: the men and women in blue have a strong bond, thanks to what they face together and the teamwork they go through
  • Job Stability and Benefits: the state offers job security, retirement along with health benefits are considered compared with other professions, and the salary isn’t too bad


Unfortunately, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Officers face dangerous situations all the time, which is the main drawback of this profession.
Check out a few other disadvantages below:
  • Personal Risk: there’s an increased risk of coming across different types of danger and personal harm, like injuries, car crashes, and in some cases, death
  • Psychological Risk: the job can take its toll on officers mentally and psychologically if left untreated
  • Boring Tasks and Rotating Working Hours: most police work includes tedious paperwork and reports.
  • Working hours: most departments have rotating shifts, which might lead to a hectic, but manageable workflow.

How to Become a Police Officer?

Becoming a police officer requires several steps. First, there are certain qualifications you have to meet before becoming an officer of the law.
Take a look.

GED/High School Diploma or Bachelor’s Degree

Police officers must have at least a GED or a high school diploma as their minimum formal education before applying to the police academy.
Bachelor's degrees are usually a plus, especially if you’re planning to work on a federal level later on in your career.

Meet the Minimum Requirements

There are certain requirements anyone applying to the police academy must meet.
At the top of the list is that they have to be US citizens. They also must have a clean criminal record, as well as be over the age of 18 or 21, according to your local jurisdiction. Finally, they need to have a valid driving license.

Be in Shape Both Mentally and Physically

Being a police officer takes its toll on you, both physically and mentally. This is why police academies include certain tests for both elements. Through these tests, they can decide on the best candidates based on their fitness and psychological fortitude.

Law Enforcement Entrance Exam

Applicants need to get a passing grade in several examinations taken at the academy. These tests include, but aren’t exclusive to, the Compass, LEE (Law Enforcement Examination), and the Asset exams.

Police Academy

Once accepted into the police academy, candidates will go for their physical training to get them prepared for their new job. They’ll also take classes in procedure and law enforcement methods.
This training period usually lasts between 13 to 19 weeks. Yet, in some academies, it can last up to six months.

Post-Police Academy Requirements

After they graduate, new officers will be assigned to their stations, and they start working right away. From this point forward, it’ll be up to their training officer to decide what to do next.
Officers can choose to move up the ranks or move on to a federal position. Although, this depends on their scores in written examinations, as well as job performance.


Being a police officer is a calling to some. For others, it’s an opportunity to belong to something bigger than themselves. Not only that, but they’ll also be able to see the change they're making in their communities play out right in front of their eyes.
That said, it still remains to be one of the most difficult and challenging jobs anyone can take on. Yet, it’s still one of the most rewarding.
‘How to become a police officer’ is definitely one question that will go through the mind of anyone looking for a job that makes them proud to serve their community.