How To Become A Cop

Police Officer Requirements

Law enforcement candidates, like the police officers they hope to become, are held to a high standard. There is a police officer code of ethics. Not everyone is cut out to be a cop.

Applicants for most civil service jobs might expect to fill out a standard application form, undergo an oral interview, take a drug test, as well as a physical exam.

You will find that police officer requirements go well beyond this typical candidate application process.

First, there are a number of minimum standards that must be met to even be considered.  Most police departments require that the candidate be at least 21 years of age to apply.

There must be no history of felonies or drug use.  Most police departments include a requirement that the candidate be of a high moral standard, a characteristic that can be determined by using a polygraph test along with a thorough background check.

In addition to a physical exam, the prospective recruit will be required to pass a physical fitness test that is similar in length and difficulty to the tests given to military recruits.  The exact fitness requirements vary somewhat from state to state and agency to agency, but will generally include timed sit-ups and push-ups, running speed tests, and endurance tests.

There will also be a written exam.  To see if you would be likely to pass the police exam check out the sample questions at

Once hired, there will be other requirements.  The recruit will be assigned to attend a police academy for approximately six months of classroom and physical training.  Each recruit will be expected to adhere to the highest performance standards during the training and probationary period in order to achieve permanent status in a police department.  All classes must be attended and all tests must be passed satisfactorily.

Following the police academy, a new police officer will be required to report to a field training officer (FTO) for several weeks prior to being left alone to a specific duty as a rookie.  The recruit will be expected to precisely follow all orders of the FTO.

This individual will supervise the new recruit very closely in the initial weeks of “on the job” training.  This is a very beneficial time to gain from the wisdom of a master mentor.  As you can see, there are some very stringent police officer requierments, but being a cop can be a very rewarding career. Getting a good education will catapult your career to the front of the line. Getting a college criminal justice degree can help in moving up the ladder more quickly. If you have your eye on becoming a police chief, or some other area of adminsitration, you may want to pursue a criminal justice masters degree.


How to Become a Cop Becoming a cop is a process. Check out the seven steps to becoming a police officer.

Police officers are responsible for enforcing laws and maintaining peace.  In addition to earning a high school diploma, most police officers complete degree programs in law enforcement or criminal justice and receive training at a police academy.

Criminal Justice Masters Degree  In surveying a broad spectrum of the criminal justice masters programs available today, it is clear that they serve primarily two functions.

Probation Officer Jobs  Parole officers are the equivalent of the prison systems’ probation officers.

Duties of a Police Officer  These duties always include the responsibility to respond to and investigate reported crimes and complaints.