Up next in How to Pick a Career (68 videos)
Not sure what you want to be when you grow up? Take a look at the various jobs in this career video series from Howcast.
You Will Need
- A high school diploma or GED
- A clean record
- Sound values
- Physical stamina
- Writing skills
- Military service (optional) (optional)
Graduate high school
Get a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Ask about requirements at local police departments. Most departments want candidates to be at least 20-years old and American citizens.
Maintain a clean record
Avoid criminal convictions or a dishonorable discharge from the military.
Get hands-on experience
Participate in a "ride-along" program to get hands-on experience and a chance to ask questions. You will witness on-the-job stress and demands.
Pass exams and polygraph
Prepare for the application process with study guides and take the civil service exam. You must also pass polygraph and personality tests.
Develop writing skills
Practice clear writing skills. Aside from fighting crime, a police officer’s most important task is writing clear, objective, and accurate reports.
Interview for the job
Interview with a senior officer, who will be evaluating character. After that, you're ready to protect and serve!