Advice For Teens Who Want to become a cop

Why Serve?

3 Reasons to Become a Cop

Not Boring

Being a police officer is far from an office job. everyday is something different and you can't predict what will happen from day to day. there is no other career that is as exciting as Policing.

Sense of Accomplishment

There is no better feeling than catching or stopping a criminal from victimizing the public. This can provide a real sense of accomplishment & pride.

Career Options

When you become a police officer you'll have opportunities to move on to more specialized units like the drug unit, k9, detectives, SWAT and more.

Learn About The Different Types
of Law Enforcement

Minimum Qualifications

Here are some of the basic requirements to become a police officer in the US. Note some agencies may have additional requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must Be at least 21 years old
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license
  • You must have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Honorable discharge from the military
  • Successfully complete a background check
  • Must be able to read & write the english language
  • No felony or serious misdemeanor convictions

Advice for Applicants Who Aren’t Yet Old Enough to Be a Police Officer


Are you 16 years old, or maybe you are 17, 18 or even 19 or 20 years old and you are dead set on joining the force when you are 21. Here are 12 tips to help you prepare:

  • Consider joining a Junior Police Program for Youth: You must contact your local agency to see if its available in your area because not every agency offer it.
  • Take some foreign language classes (Spanish) as this will give you competitive edge over other applicants in some places (especially in Florida, California and Texas).
  • Before you become a cop, find a job that’s related with law enforcement like security work or loss prevention officer for the local supermarket(it looks good on your application)
  • Continue Your Education – After graduating high school pursue a college degree (e.i. AA. BA, MA) because more and more agencies are requiring at least an associate degree. an advanced education expands understanding and develops critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  • Get Certified in CPR or other life saving programs – learn CPR, first aid, life-saving. computer programming, or other skills that demonstrate initiative and are applicable to public service.
  • Pursue community service Endeavors – volunteering with youth or civic groups shows a commitment to public service.
  • Be a dependable worker & don’t job hop – Work history is very important when applying to become a police officer.  A consistent work history with no constant change of employers is a very good sign so try to limit the number of times you change jobs.
  • Avoid criminal activity or poor moral character – The worst thing you can do as a teenage is get arrested because law enforcement agencies can be very unforgiving (e.i. Thefts, drug use, and other illegal acts) may exclude you from the hiring process.
  • Display a good Driving History – a history of motor vehicle accidents and/or violations may compromise a candidate’s eligibility for employment.
  • Avoid drugs & illicit activities like the plague – Unlawful behavior and using illegal drugs are contrary to the good moral character that agencies are looking for so keep far away from them and the people that do them.
  • Make Fitness a Priority – Your physical fitness condition is very important. One of the very first test that you’ll have to successfully complete during the police hiring process is the physical fitness test.

More Tips for teens:

  • Contact your local agency and inquire about a ride along.
  • I Know this was mentioned before, but it’s so important that its worth mentioning a second time: Give community service to show your appreciation towards the community.

More on The Fitness Test

Most local and state departments require you to pass a physical agility test which involves situps, pushups, and running. can be difficult or impossible if you have not been training before the test.

If you  lack upper body strength, try doing some bodyweight exercises at home.  You can do this by doing as many push-ups as you can in 1 minute. Do this 3 times a week for 2-3 months straight and you’ll increase your pushups over 35%.

You will also have to do 35-40 situps in 1 minute and complete a 1.5 mile run in anywhere from 10:45 to 12:25. The application for the department you are applying for should detail the exact standards that are used for their particular department.

Some department’s physical agility testing, such as the NYPD, you are required to run a course set up as if you were on the streets. This course is timed, and you must meet or exceed this time in order to continue to the next step.

There is usually a sand dummy used (weighing up to 200+ lbs at times) at the end of the course which you must drag or carry a certain distance while wearing a weighted gun belt.

Practice running a full-on active course (walls, fences, steps, tires, etc.) and then at the end, try to move a dead weight jointed sand dummy more than 15 feet. You’ll be amazed at how difficult it is. So practice! Wear a weighted belt as you practice to get used to the extra bulk and weight – usually about 20 lbs will do for a realistic feel.

The police  written test is mainly focused on how well you can remember details (as well as how good your written English skills are). They want to know that when you give a description of a person (i.e. suspect, victim, etc.) that it is as accurate as possible. This is very important to your job.

Pay attention to the small details that most people usually forget or never even notice. You can practice this at a park where there are “walkers” (someone who is walking a track, and will pass you several times). Take a pad and writing tool with you, sit on a bench near the track and wait.

When someone passes you on the track, watch the person (don’t stalk him or her, you may get the real police called on you!). After the person has gone out of sight, write down all you remember about him or her. When the person comes back around the track, see how well you did.

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