May 03, 2016

Police Academy Requirements: The Basic

Police training programs have specific police academy requirements that applicants must meet before they can be considered. Going through a police academy training program is essential for becoming a police officer. However, unlike a regular school or training program, not everyone who wants to attend police academy can simply sign up and attend these programs.
Though all police academies have entrance requirements, police academy requirements will vary greatly from state to state. Some will have more stringent educational requirements, while others may demand a certain amount of relevant job experience. Furthermore, many police academies will have different requirements for course completion as well. If you want to become a cop, it’s important to find out your state’s specific guidelines. However, there are some general requirements that any aspiring police officer, in any state, can expect to encounter:

Educational Requirements

Good jobs require a degree, and becoming a police officer is no different. Every state requires at least a high school diploma or equivalent, and many have more stringent police academy requirements than that. Applicants should strongly consider getting at least an associate’s degree, but many states require bachelor’s degrees. Those hoping to become higher ranking officers should pursue a master’s degree.
The type of degree matters, as well. An applicant with a four year degree in criminal justice will be more marketable to the police force than an applicant with a four year biology degree. Other relevant degrees include criminology, or psychology.
Some states may not have stringent educational requirements, but will require attendees to have a few years’ worth of relevant work experience. This can be anything related to police work, and does not necessarily have to be a paid position. One can perform a job of a security guard or can also become a counselor. Some people like to choose volunteer work as well. In police academy, the selection of an applicant greatly depends upon education and his past work experiences. Generally, the more education and work experience you have, the better your chances of being selected for the police academy are.


All police academies require a battery of tests. One of the most important tests is the physical fitness test. Being a police officer is physically demanding, so all prospective police officers have to pass a fitness exam to be considered. This helps to rule out applicants who suffer from conditions that would make police work difficult or dangerous for them. In many situations, an officer who isn’t up to the physical rigors of their position doesn’t just put themselves in danger; they put their partner and other officers they’re working with in danger as well. The requirements for this physical fitness exam vary by state and gender of the applicants.
Another important test is a mental health exam. This helps to rule out applicants who aren’t up to the stress of being a police officer. Being a cop is a position of authority, and most officers carry weapons. For this reason, the mental health exam also has to rule out people who may be unstable, and pose a danger to themselves or others.

Written Course Completion Requirements

During the course of the police academy training program, one of the police academy requirements for course completion entails being able to pass several written exams. These will most likely be on a variety of topics, including criminal procedure law, traffic law, and other branches of law that pertain to police activity. Students will have to pass these exams to demonstrate their proficiency with knowledge of what being a police officer entails. Almost all police academies will require these written exams, but specific states may have their own additional exams that students may have to take in addition to general exams about law.

Physical Fitness Course Completion Requirements

Law and police regulations aren’t the only things that attendees learn about at a police academy. They will also learn weapon safety, self defense, how to subdue a suspect, and many other physical aspects of police work. Like the written exams, students will have to pass physical exams and practical exams to demonstrate their grasp of these courses. While the physical fitness test administered as part of the entrance exam is usually just a general indicator of overall fitness, the tests given at the conclusion of police academy training focus specifically on the physical skills needed for police work. Attendees will have to demonstrate their arrest techniques, defensive tactics, and weapon handling.

While attending the academy, prospective officers still have other requirements to fulfill, like passing written and physical exams, before they can be allowed to become full-fledged police officers. This ensures that only the best, most fit applicants make it through to join the police academy and that only the best attendees are able to graduate as police officers. Becoming a police officer is a long journey and meeting the police academy requirements to get in to an officer training program are difficult enough but if you are enthusiastic about this profession then you must prepare yourself according to police academy requirements so that you can able to become a perfect and dedicated police officer.