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Career Development Tips

The Best Policeman Training To Get a Job

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Education needed to become a policemanBasic screening questionsBackground checks Exam testsInterviewsHow to apply for a policeman roleHow to use your existing degrees to become a policemanTests you need to pass for a policeman training Should you go for a police academy?Do you have a probation period after the policeman training?How to progress your career after you go through a policeman training Skills needed to become a policeman

Guide Overview

Becoming a policeman

There are many reasons why someone will be looking for a policeman training program. You might believe in social justice, or have had a bad experience and would like to do something for communities in your area. Others are aspiring to join one or another law enforcement organization to make a difference long term for thousands of people. Keeping people on the street and in their homes safe is what policemen do, and it certainly makes them feel good looking in the mirror. Find out more about the best route to becoming a policeman.

Education needed to become a policeman

While there is always a high demand for new people joining the forces, the requirements to get into a policeman training program are high. You might need to jump through a few hoops in order to get accepted, and there is demanding physical and technical training you will need to endure. However, those who are serious and believe in the work the police do can certainly get a high level of job satisfaction and public respect, not to mention the long-term training and development opportunities. As you can enter the police force at different levels, the lowest level of requirement you need to enter a policeman training is a high school diploma. However, with this you will become a low-level police officer, and your career chances will be reduced to a  few promotions. You might decide to go in at a higher level and get a college degree or vocational training that will give you extra credits for your academy or on-the-job program. Most law enforcement agencies prefer taking on applicants who have a college degree already. Of course, once you apply to be a policeman, you will have to apply for the police academy and successfully complete it. You cannot enter the forces before your 21st birthday, though.

Basic screening questions

There is a simple test that the police use to help them decide whether or not you are the right candidate before they would invest time and effort into training you. These questions are usually related to why you would like to join the police and what your main achievements are. Your future career goals will be covered, too. You should also go through another test that checks your driving record and citizenship or immigration status, collects references, and validates your existing qualifications. While this process can take a while, you will need to be patient. There is a reason every policeman is screened: to protect the public.

Background checks 

Police forces like making sure that they protect the public, and you can’t blame them for carrying out extensive background checks. Once you apply, you will have to go through pre-screening that will include your criminal and your credit history. When you fill out the application form, it is always better to tell the police about previous troubles than to keep quiet and let them find out themselves. Some law enforcement agencies might decide to ask for both professional and character references, so you might want to get in touch with people who might be considered credible to provide you with a recommendation.

Exam tests

Once you have passed the basic and background tests, you will need to complete an entry exam. This is a written test that will be focused on law enforcement and your interpersonal, problem-solving, communication, and basic skills. If you are unsure what is included in the entrance test, or it has been a while since you took an exam, you might be able to get preparation support from various states to improve your learning and comprehension.


You will only get an interview once you have passed the exam and the background and personality tests. During the interview, you will be asked questions that are related to law enforcement, and may need to provide reflection in different scenarios and situations you might encounter once you have passed your policeman training and are working in the field. Interview questions vary from one state and law enforcement organization to another, so it might be a good idea to ask previous applicants.

How to apply for a policeman role

The hiring process of police forces is quite lengthy and thorough. You can’t simply drop off your CV at the local police departments. However, you can ask what the current requirements are and whether there are vacancies available. You will need to start either online or at a local career office. Sometimes police recruitment representatives are present at community centers, and there are posters at schools or doctors’ offices pointing you in the right direction. You can always get in touch with your local recruitment office for a brochure or prospectus to help you find the right role and training.

How to use your existing degrees to become a policeman

Of course, the higher your existing qualification is the better job you will get after graduating from the police academy. You can transfer your existing Bachelor’s degree or college certificate to the academy and even get extra credits. This will not only help you get a higher-level job and secure promotions faster, but also dial up your pay scale. You can also earn extra credit for speaking another language. If you have written skills, or are bilingual, you might have a competitive edge over other applicants.

Tests you need to pass for a policeman training 

There are two main tests you will have to pass to qualify for the policeman training academy. The first one is all about your mental abilities. This is a part of the written test, and you will be tested on your learning and cognitive skills, your writing and math, problem-solving, logic, and comprehension. Sometimes police forces also decide to test your memory so they can help you find the right path. The second test is all about physical fitness and strength. You might be required to swim or run for a distance, or take on an endurance test before you can enroll in the police academy. If you have any preexisting conditions, it might be a good time to disclose them.

Should you go for a police academy?

In every case, a police academy is the right path. The length of the training, however, depends on your existing qualification and the level of job you are applying for. Every state has different rules for policeman training, too. If you opt for the basic academy program, you will have to stay for 21 weeks where you will be introduced to firearms, take advanced and avoidance driving skills, and go through the legal and administrative aspects of the job. This basic training can be extended if you would like to take on additional skills. The most important thing, however, is that you get at least 70 percent on your physical test by the time you finish the academy.

Do you have a probation period after the policeman training?

You cannot be handed power and a gun immediately after you get out of policeman training. You will enter a probation period that will last for around a year, depending on the state. You are not likely to work independently, and you might be answering local calls or carry out traffic accident responses. Alternatively, you might be assigned to work alongside other first responders.

How to progress your career after you go through a policeman training 

Once you have entered the police force, you will need to keep your eyes open for opportunities; both promotion and learning. The best way to progress your career is to volunteer for different pilot schemes that might help you demonstrate your skills. For example, if your local police department is planning a community outreach program, you might opt to support the department in planning the materials and organizing the venue. This will not go unnoticed, and you may soon find promotion opportunities start appearing. There are loads of internal training opportunities advertised locally, and by enrolling you will improve your chances for promotion.

Skills needed to become a policeman

Education and physical abilities, however, are not the only important factors when the police decide who can have a job. There are a few soft skills that will help you not only become a policeman, but also build a career in law enforcement. Interpersonal, communication, and negotiation skills are on the top of the list when it comes to preferred candidates. Written communication skills will help you summarize situations and write effective reports. Finally, problem-solving and critical thinking will assist you in your everyday work. You might also want to pick up new skills to advance your career, such as computer applications, project management, or community project management. Are you ready to enter policeman training? Consider your options below to start a new career in law enforcement. Want to know how much policemen earn? Check out our site for more information.

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