Police Officer Qualifications
The educational qualifications for police officers range from a high school diploma or equivalent to a college degree. Many agencies require the completion of at least some college coursework and some may require officers to have earned a college degree. College education is encouraged by any police agency. Many colleges offer programs related to criminal justice and law enforcement. Unless you have closely related professional experience, you will also have to go through a police academy training program. The training will include instruction in constitutional law, civil rights, state laws, local ordinances, and police ethics along with supervised experience in patrolling, traffic control, firearms, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response.
Police officers must meet rigorous physical and personal qualifications. You may have to pass vision and hearing exams as well as physical tests of strength and agility. Police officers need to have strong ethics and sound judgment, free of personal bias. You should have a willingness to help your fellow man and empathy for people of a wide variety of backgrounds. The most successful police officers are able to take on a number of demanding tasks within a day's work and display leadership and confidence when dealing with others. Communication skills are also very important. Officers must be able to speak easily with all different types people from a range of economic and social circumstances. Good perception is another valuable quality in a police officer. Urban and federal agencies often look for candidates with knowledge of a foreign language.
Much of the skills you'll use as a police officer can be learned through on-the-job training. Previous legal, criminal justice, security, or military experience is often viewed as an asset to hiring agencies.
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