How to Become a Police Officer in South Carolina

The primary steps in how to become a police officer in South Carolina imply attaining a position in one of the law enforcement departments of SC. The aspiring cadet can choose to either seek employment with the local police agency or a state law enforcement department, before they are eligible for training in the police academy facility.

It is necessary to point out that even though the guidelines on how to become a police officer in South Carolina do not specifically include the college course, relevant knowledge acquired during this type of education – sociology, criminal justice, etc. – are viewed as important advantages in being selected by a law enforcement agency and aid promotion later on, in your career.

Demographic Eligibility Criteria to Become a Police Officer in South Carolina

In short, the two most important selection criteria in this chapter include:

  • Legal age of 21 on the time of the employment
  • Having an American citizenship
  • Being in possession of a high school certification diploma/alternative similar form of recognized education
  • Having a driver’s license is mandatory

In South Carolina, the candidate needs to have US citizenship and be of the legal age at the time when he is hired by a law enforcement agency. While other states require the candidates to have the legal age at the time when they are sworn as probationary police officers, things are different in SC. In regards to the driver’s license, the legislation is a bit more flexible, allowing the candidates to apply based on the ability to obtain the license before becoming sworn law enforcement agents.

Additional Requirements and Disqualifiers

Candidates that have been convicted of DUI charges, have left the scene of an accident in which they were responsible, have committed crimes that qualify in involuntary manslaughter or recklessness-caused homicide are not eligible for the position in the South Carolina law enforcement agencies and such candidates will not be allowed to undergo training.

In regards to the DUI charges, the exception rule is that it should not have happened within 5 years of the application.

Convictions of misdemeanor and moral turpitude crimes with sentences exceeding 1 year also constitute an immediate disqualifier. It is necessary to note that some – not all – departments in South Carolina will decline candidates with visible tattoos and piercings. Similar rules apply for felonies, domestic crimes, poor credit histories and student loan defaults.

Application and Training

The application will be filed to the police academy by the South Carolina law enforcement department that has hired the candidate and not by the candidate himself. In this state, the duration of the police academy training is typically 9 weeks.

However, a candidate who is already a certified law enforcement agent in another state with a reciprocity program is allowed to follow only 3 weeks of the training and pass the test to become a registered police officer in South Carolina.

However, the field training lasts for 600 hours and previous experience in the field of law enforcement is not grounds for an abbreviation. The final step in how to become a police officer in South Carolina means after graduating from the academy, you will need to be a probationary law enforcement agent for the duration of 1 year.

For more information on becoming a police officer in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy website.

Click here to check out the various police officer jobs in South Carolina.

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