How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer?

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  • Author Remi Libby
  • Published July 12, 2012
  • Word count 424

Being a part of the police force is one of the most coveted positions in the United States as well as across the globe. A person who becomes a police officer is bound to face a lot of challenges and responsibilities during his course of his/her job. However, there is an intrinsic motivation and pleasure at being able to help the society at large with your services as a police officer.

A Police officer has to undergo an extensive selection process in which he is tested both physically and mentally. Once he is found to be fit in every aspect, he has to undergo a rigorous training procedure at a police academy. A letter of employment then comes with many strings attached rather than a uniform, badge and keys to your police car, as suspected by many of us wanting to become police officers.

Every state in the United States has a different training procedure for police officers. Each state also has a number of training academies which offer law enforcement training to individuals who are selected for the police force. There are around 274 academies on county, regional or state basis, 249 academies on college, university and technical school level and 103 academies at city or municipal level, making a total of 626 law enforcement academies in the United States.

Some states require candidates to get relevant law enforcement training at the local college and then apply for the police force. Whereas there are some states that require individuals to go through the hiring process and then go through the police academy’s in-house training program. There are some other states, which may require completing the internal training apart from having an external academy certificate. However, in each of these scenarios every selected candidate has to undergo a mix of classroom training, along with strenuous physical training.

The average duration of basic training is around 18 weeks in all these academies. However, they might range from four to six weeks considering the differences in each academy. This includes covering topics like firearms skills, first aid, self defense, criminal law, ethics, health and fitness, patrol procedures, problem solving, mediation skills, stress prevention, human relations etc. On the other hand, this excludes the field training component. On average, a trainee has to spend 180 hours or about eight weeks in the field while he is tagged along a training officer on routine patrol as well as various other duties. Some states also require continuous education after you have got your training certificate for further promotion and advancement at your job.

If you're interested in learning How to Become a Police Officer, or more about Police Officer Salary we have information and resources on our website at

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