how to become a police officer in alabama

Table of Contents

3 Red Flags That will Likely Cause an
Agency to pause on hiring you

No (or poor) references

Listing Poor or non-existent reference checks suggest that a police recruit is unable to build rapport with co-workers, succeed in their assigned role, or positively contribute to their former employer.

Job hopping

Any employer will tell you that a string of short term employments on your work history is a big turnoff. If you have one or two short-term jobs, that's normal. But if most of them are less than (6) months, sirens start going off

Alcohol & Drugs Photos

Posting pictures of yourself getting drunk and using drugs on social media is one way to get eliminated from the hiring process. Agencies are looking for recruits with good characters, and posting tasteless photos aren't a good sign.

WATCH: The Pros and Cons of Being a Cop

Alabama Police Requirements:

Minimum Qualifications

Disqualification factors to be aware of:


Police Training Academy Courses


  • Introduction to Law Enforcement
  • General Topics
  • Equipment
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Criminal Procedures and Laws of Evidence
  • Juvenile Procedures
  • Courts
  • Patrol Techniques
  • Traffic Operations
  • Offensive and Defensive Tactics
  • Community/News Media Relations
  • Firearms Training
  • Examinations
  • Taser
  • First Aid
  • DUI/OWI Enforcement
  • Traffic Enforcement
  • Criminal Law
  • Traffic Law
  • search and seizure
  • ethical issues
  • use of force;
  • firearms
  • defensive tactics
  • drug investigations

Specialized Units in Alabama

Airport Unit
Air Support Unit
Communications (Dispatch)
Community Engagement
Crime Prevention
Elder Abuse
Crime Scene Specialists
Criminal Investigations
Cold Cases
Document & Financial Crimes
Special Victims Unit
Crisis Intervention Team
Diversity Team
Evidence Section
Field Training Officer Program
Forensic Services
Fusion Center
Gang Unit
Work Release
Self Surrender
Information Technology
Internship Positions
Media Relations
Family Violence Unit
Sex Trafficking
Sex Offender Notification
Enforcement & Tracking
Victim Services
Missing Persons
Municipal Security
Off Duty Employment
Organized Crime
Photo Safety Program
Red Light Cameras
School Zone Safety Cameras
Policy & Procedures
Professional Standards (Internal Affairs)
School Resource Officers
Volunteer Program

According to U.S. labor of bureau statistics (2018) the average salary for a police officer in Alabama is...

$ 1 *
Average Salary
$ 1 /HR*

* The base pay above does not Include holiday pay, longevity pay, education level, uniform allowance, shift differential and overtime. Cops can potentially earn more than the figure above suggest.

Average Pay Percentile Breakdown

The percentile wage estimate below is the value of a wage below which  certain percent of workers fall. Data collected from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018)

10th Percentile
25th Perentile
50th percentile
75th percentile
90th percentile

Find Best Police Jobs in Alabama

Click below to search for police jobs near me in AL. Browse jobs by city/county or zip code

How To Become a Police Officer In Alabama

The first step to becoming a police officer in Alabama is to meet age (21), education (high school diploma or GED) and physical qualifications (clearance from a doctor that you are physically able to do the job).

You must also be a U.S. citizen and not dishonorably discharged from the armed services. There are other prohibitions.

Things That Can Disqualify You From Becoming a Police Officer In Alabama

No person who has a felony conviction (not including juvenile convictions) or a pardon for a felony conviction can become a police officer in Alabama. A not guilty or no-contest plea to a felony count or conviction in another state that would be equivalent to a felony conviction in Alabama also is a disqualifier.

Misdemeanor convictions related to domestic violence may, but not necessarily, may rule out a person from becoming a police officer. A person also must have no prohibitions from possessing firearms.

Police Academy Requirement in AL

 Once those hurdles are passed, candidates must then find an actual job with a police agency. Being hired as a cadet first, before any undergoing any training, is a requirement in Alabama because the state does not allow non-sworn trainees into any of it many police academies.

Each city posts its available cadet positions, so candidates will have to spend time researching open positions city by city. Once you are hired as a cadet, your agency will help arrange for police academy training in one of Alabama’s 10 police academies.

 All of them are certified by the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (APOSTC), which sets the standards for graduation and which will administer a psychological examination that you will have to pass.

Some of the academies are regional institutions, others are academies run by larger departments such as Huntsville, Mobile and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

 Although you have to be 21 to become a police officer in the state, you may enter an academy before that, on the date closest to your 21st birthday. The application process, which your agency will help you through, includes submitting a copy of your high school diploma or GED and a medical release form from a licensed doctor that you are in good health and physically capable of working as a police officer.

 Once enrolled, here are the requirements APOSTC says you will have to meet in order to graduate:

  1. Complete 480 hours of basic training at the academy and attend 95 percent of all training hours.
  2. Receive an overall score of 70 percent on all written exams.
  3. Pass the physical agility test that includes timed push-ups, timed sit-ups, pushing a patrol car, climbing a fence, running and entering through a window. You’ll also have to complete a balance test, drag a heavy weight and complete a timed 1 1/2 mile run.
  4. Pass 43 hours of firearms training and qualify two of three times on the firearms course with a minimum score of 70

Average Salary & Pay Scale Of a Police Officer In Alabama

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018), the average police officer makes around per year. That figure does not take into account overtime pay or special detail pay. You must also remember that the pay scale provided by BLS is base pay focused only.

The figure does not include promotions like swat team, detectives or other special unit squads which you can make you a lot more.

Is a Trooper’s Job the Right Job for Me?

Not everyone has the ability or temperament to successfully undertake a long-term career in police work. If you can honestly answer yes to the following questions, you may possess the character and qualities the Alabama Department of Public Safety is seeking:

  • Do I sincerely desire to serve the state of Alabama?
  • Am I conscientious, motivated, responsible and eager to learn?
  • Am I concerned about my community and fellow Alabamians?
  • Can I perform my duties without prejudice involving another’s race, creed, gender or nationality?
  • Can I be trusted to work alone with minimal supervision?
  • Can I and my family live with the inherent dangers of the job, separation from home and irregular work hours?
  • Am I prepared to make life-or-death decisions involving the use of deadly force?
  • Am I responsible and self-sufficient enough to enforce traffic and criminal laws working alone in isolated, rural areas of the state?
  • Can I exhibit honesty and integrity in all my dealings with the public, court officials and supervisors?
  • Can I take command and make responsible decisions when confronted with emergencies or personal danger?
  • Can I follow orders?
  • Can I successfully undertake the regimented and strenuous physical and mental training at the trooper academy?
  • Submit

Minimum Qualifications

  • High school diploma or a GED certificate: Must be 21 or older to be hired as a trooper in training 
  • Must be willing to accept assignment anywhere in the state of Alabama
  • Current Alabama driver license at time of appointment
  • Must meet requirements of Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission

The Selection Process

You first must pass a written examination for your name to be included on a register of prospective troopers. If you are selected for further consideration, you must successfully complete the following prior to appointment:

Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission Physical Ability/Agility Test
Vision test
Personal interview
In-depth background investigation, including polygraph examination and drug screening
Medical examination


All new troopers-in-training undergo at least 800 hours of intensive training at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center in Selma. Trooper training is similar to military basic training in its regimentation, discipline and physical requirements.

Courses include first aid, constitutional law, criminal and traffic law, accident investigation, criminal procedure, pursuit driving, firearms, public speaking, defensive tactics and other courses designed to give troopers a firm foundation on which to build their careers. Trainees intraining engage in rigorous physical conditioning, which includes mandatory physical training and running.

While assigned to the training center, troopers and cadets live in the training center dormitory and eat at the dining hall.

Duties and Responsibilities

All new troopers are assigned to the Highway Patrol Division their first three years. Each new trooper works with a trooper field training officer for eight weeks to strengthen his or her skills and knowledge on the job, before he/she is assigned a patrol car and allowed to work on his own. A trooper’s duties include:

  • Enforcing state law, especially traffic law;
  • Responding to and investigating traffic wrecks;
  • Patrolling roadways and assisting motorists;
  • Apprehending and arresting suspects; and Testifying in court.


Your assigned location will be for the benefit of the department and you will not be assigned to your home county.

Uniforms and Equipment.

Public Safety supplies all uniforms and equipment.

Assignments and Work Schedules

Following the mandatory three years in Highway Patrol, a trooper may be eligible to request assignment to another division. Assignments are dependent upon departmental staffing needs.

Troopers are scheduled to work a 40-hour week and receive the equivalent of two days off each week on a rotating schedule. Working hours, however, may vary with assignment and emergencies. Overtime hours are compensated by compensatory time off or overtime pay.

Troopers must respond when called to duty at any hour of the day or night and, for this reason, second or part-time jobs are not encouraged and must be authorized by the department.


In addition to a competitive salary, troopers receive daily subsistence pay for each day on duty. (Troopers in training receive subsistence pay upon promotion to trooper.) Troopers are provided with paid health insurance, and they may purchase dependent health insurance coverage. An employee injury program (workers’ compensation) is provided for employees injured while on duty.

Troopers accrue 13 days of sick leave each year. Annual leave accrued varies from 13 to 29 days, depending upon length of service. In addition, each state employee is authorized 21 days of paid military leave to allow participation in reserve military duty.

Troopers may retire at age 52 with 10 years of credited service, or at any age with 25 years of credited service. A generous retirement program features benefits which vary according to length of service.

Hiring Considerations

Candidates will automatically be disqualified if they:

  • Use an assumed name to conceal their true identity.
  • Use additional social security numbers for fraudulent purposes.
  • Do not meet minimum educational requirements.
  • Were dishonorably discharged from military service.
  • Fail to report all firings and dismissals from past employment.
  • Fired from a previous employer because of a proven theft, drug use, voilent action, or any act which impugns basic honesty.
  • Have a credit history, which indicates fraud, forgery, or theft by deception.
  • Have a DUI conviction within the past five years, or a history involving DUI convictions, or a history of failure to appear in court, or a driver license revocation, or a conviction of leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Do not possess a valid driver license.
  • Have a felony conviction.
  • Have a civil record involving repeated failure to pay child support.
  • Possessed or used illegal drugs after the date they filed application with State Personnel.
  • Sold drugs illegally at any time.
  • Have a history of drug use that tends to establish a pattern above experimental use of drugs.
  • Deliberately withheld serious medical information pertaining to the abilities to perform the duties of a state trooper.
  • Withheld information, misstated or omitted material facts intentionally on their application for employment or applicant questionnaire.
  • Do not meet Peace Officers’ Standards and Training requirements.

What is State Trooper Training Like?

All new troopers in training undergo at least 800 hours of intensive training at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center in Selma. Trooper training is similar to military basic training in its regimentation, discipline and physical requirements.

Courses include first aid, constitutional law, criminal and traffic law, accident investigation, criminal procedure, pursuit driving, firearms, public speaking, defensive tactics and other courses designed to give troopers a firm foundation on which to build their careers.

Troopers in training engage in rigorous physical conditioning, which includes mandatory physical training and running. Required physical conditioning is increasingly demanding as training progresses.

While assigned to the training center, troopers in training live in the training center dormitory and eat at the dining hall. They are granted weekend leave only after the training schedule is well established.

Example of a typical day at the police academy

4:45 a.m …….Wake up
5-6 a.m. ……..Physical training
6-7 a.m. ……..Make bed, clean room for inspection; shower
7-8 a.m. ……..Breakfast
8-9 a.m. ……..Room and personnel inspection
9 a.m.-noon…Academic instruction
noon-1 p.m. ..Lunch
1-4 p.m. ……..Academic instruction
4-5 p.m. ……..Drill and ceremony training
5-6 p.m. ……..Supper
6-7 p.m. ……..Run with staff
7-9 p.m. ……..Mandatory quiet/study period
9-10 p.m. ……Dormitory free time
10 p.m. ………Lights out

Agency Responsibilities per APOSTC

(1) Each law enforcement agency shall have the responsibility of seeing that all required forms and necessary information are properly submitted to the Commission in a timely manner.
(2) Each law enforcement agency shall have the responsibility of assuring that each of its employees who are law enforcement officers, receive the training required by the Code of Alabama 1975, Title 36-21-40 through Title 36-21-52 or by the rules of the Commission.
(3) Each law enforcement agency shall cooperate with the Commission and its Executive Secretary in carrying out the provisions and responsibilities of the Code of Alabama 1975, Title 36-21-40 through Title 36-21-52 and the rules and regulations of the Commission.
(4) It shall be the responsibility of each law enforcement agency to submit an application to the Commission on the day the applicant is employed.
(5) It shall be the responsibility of each law enforcement agency to submit a notice of employment, within 10 days of employment, to the Commission on any law enforcement officer previously certified by the Commission.
(6) Each law enforcement agency shall file, within 10 days of the termination of a law enforcement officer, a notice of termination form with the Commission.
(7) It shall be the sole responsibility of each law enforcement agency to hire and/or terminate persons as law enforcement officers and not the responsibility, duty or obligation of the Commission.
(8) It shall be the responsibility of each law enforcement agency to conduct a thorough background investigation on each applicant.


The applicant must successfully complete 480 hours of basic training at an approved academy.

The applicant must satisfactorily complete the law enforcement training course within the time set forth in the statutory requirement of the Code of Alabama, Title 36-21-46.

In order to successfully complete the police training course and be certified by the Commission, the applicant must achieve the following:
An overall score of not less than 70% on written exams,

Pass the first aid exam with a score of not less than 70% (Any retest, if necessary, shall be administered within 72 hours),

Pass the legal issues exam with a score of not less than 70% (Any retest, if necessary, shall be administered within 72 hours),

Pass the physical agility/ability test (Any retest, if necessary, shall be administered within 48 hours to 72 hours),

A score of at least 70% on the firearms course (In the event he/she fails the initial firearms course test, and has successfully completed all other required law enforcement training, the applicant will be allowed one retest of the firearms course at the next available session),

Students shall not be absent more than 5% of the required training hours.

The trainee in addition to complying with the Commission’s rules and regulations shall comply with all rules and regulations promulgated by the approved academy.

The trainee shall comply with all rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission.

Articles You Might Like...

Browse The Best Police Jobs
in Alabama

List of Police Departments in Alabama

Autauga County Sheriff Department
Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department
Barbour County Sheriff Department
Bibb County Sheriff Department
Blount County Sheriff Department
Bullock County Sheriff Department
Butler County Sheriff Department
Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department
Chambers County Sheriff Department
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department
Chilton County Sheriff’s Department
Choctaw County Sheriff’s Department
Clarke County Sheriff Department
Clay County Sheriff Department
Cleburne County Sheriff Department
Coffee County Sheriff Department
Colbert County Sheriff’s Department
Conecuh County Sheriff Department
Coosa County Sheriff Department
Covington County Sheriff Department
Crenshaw County Sheriff Department
Cullman County Sheriff Department
Dale County Sheriff Department
Dallas County Sheriff Department
DeKalb County Sheriff Department
Elmore County Sheriff Department
Escambia County Sheriff’s Department
Etowah County Sheriff Department
Fayette County Sheriff Department
Franklin County Sheriff Department
Geneva County Sheriff Department
Greene County Sheriff Department
Hale County Sheriff Department
Henry County Sheriff Department
Houston County Community Corrections
Houston County Sheriff’s Department
Jackson County Sheriff Department
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department
Lamar County Sheriff Department
Lauderdale County Sheriff Department
Lawrence County Sheriff Department
Lee County Sheriff’s Department
Limestone County Sheriff Department
Lowndes County Sheriff Department
Macon County Sheriff Department
Madison County Sheriff’s Department
Marengo County Sheriff Department
Marion County Sheriff Department
Marshall County Sheriff Department
Mobile County Sheriff’s Department
Monroe County Sheriff Department
Montgomery County Sheriff Department
Morgan County Sheriff Department
Perry County Sheriff Department
Pickens County Sheriff Department
Pike County Sheriff Department
Randolph County Sheriff Department
Russell County Sheriff Department
Saint Clair County Sheriff Department
Shelby County Sheriff’s Department
Sumter County Sheriff Department
Talladega County Sheriff Department
Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department
Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Department
Walker County Sheriff’s Department
Washington County Sheriff’s Department
Wilcox County Sheriff Department
Winston County Sheriff Department
Alabaster PD
Alexander City PD
Altoona PD
Andalusia PD
Atmore PD
Bay Minette PD
Bessemer PD
Birmingham Office of the Inspector General
Birmingham PD
Boaz PD
Bridgeport PD
Calera PD
Cherokee PD
Columbia PD
Chatom PD
Citronelle PD
Cottonwood PD
Dadeville PD
Daphne PD
Decatur PD
Demopolis PD
Dothan PD
Enterprise PD
Eufala PD
Fort Payne PD
Gardendale PD
Guntersville Fire Marshal’s Office
Guntersville PD
Gurley PD
Hanceville PD
Heflin PD
Homewood PD
Hoover PD
Huntsville International Airport PD
Huntsville PD
Jacksonville PD
Kinston PD
Lanett PD
Leeds PD
Lincoln PD
Millbrook PD
Mobile PD
Montgomery PD
Moody PD
Mount Vernon PD
Northport PD
Pelham PD
Pelham Fire Marshal
Pelham School Resource Officers
Pinedale Shores Private Police
Saginaw PD