Specific qualifications will vary by agency, but typically include being a U.S. citizen, at least 21 years old, and having no felony convictions. Misdemeanors are handled on a case-by-case basis, and many departments also require applicants to be financially responsible. To become a law enforcement officer, you will also have to meet physical fitness, medical, vision, and hearing requirements. Testing for these are part of the hiring process, as well as interviews, a background check, written exam, drug test, written exam, and psychological evaluation. You will also have to meet the educational and training requirements.
Education & Training
Each agency will have their own educational requirements. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some agencies require only a high school diploma, while others require some college coursework or a college degree. Many agencies encourage their officers to take law enforcement-related college courses throughout their careers. Earning an associate degree in criminal justice will usually allow you to meet the educational requirements and provide you with knowledge of the law, criminal justice system, criminal behavior, and more, which will benefit you in this career. Each agency will have training requirements that must be met as well. The majority of agencies will have a training academy, while smaller agencies may have you complete your training at a local college, university, or through a nearby, larger agency’s…