Every police station across the country wants to employ the best group of police officers. But being a police officer isn’t easy; yes, it’s a noble job, but it takes a toll both physically and emotionally.
A job as taxing as a police officer’s needs to be rewarded with good pay. Back in 2014, police and sheriff patrol officers were getting paid around $63,380 every year. And in some police precincts, officers also receive overtime.
Other than a decent salary, police officers also get health insurance, decent retirement packages, and special benefits that even major corporations can’t give to their employees.
Police officers are also given plenty of opportunities to grow professionally. Once they’ve gathered enough experience, police officers can apply for higher positions—detectives, sheriffs, and criminal investigators—all of which come with more pay and benefits.
If you want to devote your life to protecting fellow citizens and making the streets safer, here’s what you have to do.
Get a High School Diploma
Getting a high school diploma is the first step toward becoming a police officer. Some academies may demand a Bachelor’s degree, but most people just require a high school diploma.
A College Degree
Having a 4-year college degree isn’t a requirement to become a cop, but it does help. Most police academies usually ask for at least 60 college credit hours for applicants to qualify.
Police academies aren’t concerned about grades as much as they are about discipline; college credit hours show that an applicant can handle the instructions and paperwork that come with the job.
Aspiring police officers can benefit from obtaining a degree in criminal justice; although it isn’t required, it does provide them with an educational background that comes in handy when they’re on the job.
Check Your Local Agencies’ Criminal Background Requirements
The criminal background requirements for local police academies vary from district to district. Most police academies require applicants not to have any criminal record, while others have certain exceptions.
Some agencies may dismiss minor offenses like misdemeanors, a history with drugs, and speeding tickets, but others won’t. Any major conviction—like domestic abuse, drug-related charges, and felonies—will instantly disqualify you.
Completing and Passing the Civil Service Exam
You’re going to have to pass a civil service exam to be accepted into local police academies. A civil service exam for law enforcement professionals consists of reading comprehension, math, grammar, and writing sections. These exams are designed to test an applicant’s critical thinking abilities and problem-solving skills.
A lot of the questions are based on topics that are typically covered in courses for Bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, so obtaining a degree helps.
Enroll in the Police Academy
Your performance in the police academy will determine where you end up in the police department later on. In the academy, you will learn police strategies, weapon usage, community partnership, and mental awareness.
Police academies function similarly to colleges; participants are expected to take tests and undergo performance reviews. Participants are also expected to go through physical training, which includes wall climbing, obstacle courses, and strength building exercises.
Finding a Career Path
Once your training is complete, your experience and skills open up a variety of opportunities where you’ll get to apply your knowledge and skills. Your interests, experience, and educational background may help you get into specialized divisions, like drug units, SWAT team, etc.
After advancing to higher levels, police officers can advance to better positions in The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, immigration, and even the Secret Service.
Law enforcement has a variety of divisions that you can go for, you just need to know where your interests lie.
A career in law enforcement comes with many perks, but it has two benefits that 9 to 5 jobs don’t typically offer:
A Chance to Make a Difference
There are few jobs as fulfilling as being a police officer. It gives you plenty of opportunities to save lives and make a difference in your community. Police officers are usually the first to respond to house fires, accidents, fights, and any kind of emergency—including unexpected childbirths!
Police officers know how to administer first aid, they can pull people out of burning cars, provide life support to someone who’s been shot, save an innocent civilian from a robbery, etc.
Even when they aren’t providing immediate assistance to someone, police officers make sure that community members are upholding the law. Every time an officer hands out a ticket, they’re making roads safer, every time they break up a fight, they’re preventing further damage.
You’ll Love Your Job
Not many people can say that they love their jobs, but police officers can. Not only are police officers paid handsome salaries for their services, but they also have a sense of purpose—something not many people can say.
Police officers are some of the most respected members of the community; people around them look up to them and appreciate their sacrifice.
Other than love from community members, police officers also develop a kinship with fellow officers. They’re loyal to each other, they support each other, and have each other’s backs during tough times.
If you want to become a devoted member police officer and become cherished member of the community, start preparing for the academy today.
After getting your high school diploma and completing your college credit hours, you’ll have to make sure you nail the civil service exam.
By signing-up for preparation courses, you’ll get an idea of what to expect from the exam and how to answer the questions in them.
At Civil Service Success we prepare applicants for civil service exams for jobs such as NYS court officer, Suffolk County Police, and NYC Sanitation Worker. Our courses train applicants for all sections of civil service exams and teach students how to answer questions related to experiences in work, school, and personality traits.
Get in touch with us for more information.