The law enforcement direction in which a candidate wants to pursue his or her career will have an important influence on the police officer education requirements.
In essence, the main types of law enforcement careers are:
- Transit police
- Military police
- Campus police
- State police
- Federal police (FBI)
While the police officer education requirements may vary based on the academy of choice and the legislation of the state, the basic guidelines for the aforementioned sectors of activity will be presented shortly.
It is necessary to point out that advancement within the ranks of the law enforcement agencies is done based on achievements in the field and successfully passing written tests, according to the position the candidate aims for.
Moreover, some law enforcement agencies such as campus police require their personnel to continuously update their education and pass tests that accredit their ability to perform their job well.
Police Officer Education Prerequisites for Joining the Academy
The basic education conferred during high school is one of the most important prerequisites of the police academy regardless of the field of work candidates are aiming for.
However, similar education is also acceptable, as long as they are able to present the necessary GED scores to attest it.
Take notice that more often than not working as a law enforcement agent is not possible until the age of 21, even for candidates that have enrolled in the police academy right after the completion of their high school education.
At the same time, a valid driver’s license and a clean permanent record are typically mandatory.
Police Officer Education Requirements Regarding Academy Courses
During the time spent training at the police academy, cadets will typically learn the skills necessary in the field such as the proper use of firearms, hand on hand combat, correct driving techniques in an crisis situation, legal procedures, first aid and resuscitation methods, patrolling an area and so on.
Furthermore, law enforcement agents should become familiar with the proper way to conduct an investigation, repot the nature and the details of a possible crime, the civil rights of the victims and suspects and the basics of criminal psychology.
This knowledge will be conveyed to the aspiring cadets both during class work and via hands-on practice in the field.
Let’s take an in depth look at what each of the police officer education requirements for the fields mentioned at the start of the article are.
Transit Police Officer Education Requirements
The job of a transit law enforcement agent is to supervise mass transit systems and investigate any incidents that occur along his or her route.
In order to start an education as a transit police office, the high school diploma is mandatory.
While for the less busy areas of the United States companies hiring transit cops have police officer education requirements of at least one hundred hours spent in training, overcrowded metropolitan zones need at least one thousand hours of training.
Military Police Officer Education Requirements
The requirements for achieving a military police education are similar to the ones of the transit police, the only exception being that candidates will need to enlist before becoming eligible and will be required to take a drug test.
Typically, a job as an MP requires twenty weeks of training, but in certain branches the eight week course is followed by technical courses.
Take notice that during the service, the MPs can graduate from Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree courses, which can significantly boost their career once they retire from the military.
Campus Police Officer Education Requirements
A position in the personnel of the campus police entails that in addition to graduating the normal academy courses, the applicant should be familiar with the resuscitation procedures and first aid.
However, advancing through the ranks of the campus police will be substantially easier for candidates with at least a Bachelor’s Degree.
Becoming the chief of the campus law enforcement agency will require the aforementioned degree but also a minimum ten-year experience in the field.
State Police Officer Education Requirements
The standards for this line of work vary as well, given that while some of the states will allow candidates to enroll in the academy and later on become part of the force only based on the GED and the five month courses, other states request a Bachelor’s or Associate’s Degree.
In these situations, cadets can opt for following courses in the administration or criminal justice fields.
Federal police education requirements
A career in the federal police department can be achieved in two ways: via a Bachelor’s Degree education or by working in a field related to the department at which you are applying, be it Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security or any other department. However, having both an education and specialized experience in the field can present significant advantages for the candidate.