- Step 1: Graduate high school Get a high school diploma or its equivalent.
- Step 2: Meet requirements Ask about requirements at local police departments. Most departments want candidates to be at least 20-years old and American citizens.
- Step 3: Maintain a clean record Avoid criminal convictions or a dishonorable discharge from the military.
- TIP: Treatment for mental illness, use of drugs or alcohol, traffic violations, or falsifying information can disqualify you.
- Step 4: 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.
- Step 5: 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.
- TIP: Some departments have instituted requirements on body fat percentage, so eat healthy and stay fit.
- Step 6: 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.
- Step 7: Interview for the job Interview with a senior officer, who will be evaluating character. After that, you're ready to protect and serve!
- FACT: Did you know? As of 2009, the median income for a patrol officer was $49,630 a year.
You Will Need
- A high school diploma or GED
- A clean record
- Sound values
- Physical stamina
- Writing skills
- Military service (optional) (optional)