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For those who are contemplating police careers, you may be wondering what experience is necessary to become a law enforcement officer. What follows will help to clarify that question.
To become a law enforcement officer at the entry level with a local police department, you don’t need to have any experience in police work. Most people who enter the law enforcement academy as a recruit don’t have any work history in law enforcement.
Many of them have had some advanced coursework in criminal justice, which definitely helps in getting hired with a police force at the entry level. Some departments even require a certificate or associate’s degree in criminal justice from police recruits, because this shows that they’re serious about a career in law enforcement.
It also gives them a leg up when it comes to completing the course work required in police academy. The bottom line is that if you want to become a law enforcement officer, higher education experience of any kind, but particularly in the field of criminal justice, will help you pursue this career choice.
Military experience will also help you to become a law enforcement officer because it shows potential employers that you have the grit and perseverance to take on a significant challenge, both on the physical and mental level.
Recruiters know that you’ve already obtained some of the skills necessary for police work, such as discipline, chain of command, following protocols, weapons training and obeying orders and this will put you at the top of the list over other recruit candidates.
Police academy training can be compared to military base camp, so if you’ve served in the armed forces, you’ll have a huge advantage over other recruits who haven’t. Perhaps more than any other type of work experience, military service will help you to become a law enforcement officer.
If you’ve worked as a police cadet, this will help you become a law enforcement officer. Cadet programs are specifically set up for people who want to work in police careers, so this is a great asset to getting a job with a police force. Any other work experience in law enforcement will also help you gain entry into a career in police work.
Any work experience that you have that exemplifies your competence and abilities will help you when it comes to achieving your goal to become a law enforcement officer. Police agencies want people who are self-disciplined, task oriented, motivated, ethical and hardworking, so whatever experience you have that demonstrates those qualities will help you when it comes to becoming a law enforcement officer.
How to get your top score:
Practice, practice, practice. Preparation for the Law Enforcement exam is vital for success. Check out police source page for the most current Law Enforcement information on training, education, and field changes.
How do I study for the Police Officer Test?
What does the Police exam entail?
Depending on your state, there could be up to three different types of test: written and oral tests to cover critical competencies needed in the job; training and experience evaluations examine your education, training and experience; and performance tests measure specific skills that may be used in law enforcement.
How early should I start studying?
It all depends on the person and his/her study abilities and knowledge retention. However, a rule of thumb is to allow at least a month to prep for the exam.
What are the possible dates to take the Law Enforcement exam?
Most states offer the test annually. Check your local state agency for more information.
How many times can I take the Law Enforcement test?
Contact your state for more information.
What is a passing score?
A passing score is 70% of correctly answered questions.
Are the tests timed?
Yes, all written tests are timed.
How much does it cost to take the test?
Most departments do not charge to take the police exam. Florida is an exception. They do charge to take the state CJ-BAT test.
If I move from another state, do I need to retake the police exam?
If you move to another state you will have to retake the police exam. Each department has their own test so even within the same state you would have to take each individual departments test.
What is the success rate?
Success rates differ, but on the average 7 out of 10 candidates will fail the police exam.
What exam preparation options do I have?
Sites like Police Prep, and Petersons prep for most state officiated tests. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean all test information will be covered by these exam preps. Check with your local agency for best exam prep practices.