I’ve been a police officer for several years now and it still irks me when I see online ads falsely claiming you must sign up for their high priced college courses in order to become a police officer. Don’t buy into this. The truth is you don’t need a college degree in order to become a cop. In fact, if you are at least 21, have high character, a clean record, and good communication skills you can be an effective police officer.
So can a college degree help get the job?
In my opinion no but there are some exceptions. The exception is if you’re written exam and oral exam scores are equal to someone else who does not have a degree than you’ll get the job, but the chances that will happen are slim.
Here’s the key to getting a law enforcement job without a college degree
If you have a college degree, that’s great as it will help you if you have aspirations of becoming Chief of Police one day or you might want to do a lateral move to a federal position. If that’s the case, then you’ll definitely want a college degree. I don’t want to come off as someone who is against a college degree because I’m not.
In fact, I have two degrees myself. My whole point is to counter those ridiculous ads that make it sound like the only way to become a cop is to sign up for their outrageous thousand dollar course. It just isn’t right.
Your performance on the oral board interview is more important than anything. If you have a poor performance on the oral exam, it won’t matter if you have a college degree or not.
The hiring panel puts more emphasis on how well you do on the oral board interview. If you have a bad interview, you’ll most likely get eliminated from the hiring pool. On the other hand, if you impress during the oral interview, you’ll most likely get the job.
The oral exam is vital as it measures your ability to problem solve and make quick decisions in various highly stressful situations. That is why the hiring board puts more stock into the interview to determine who’s the best fit for their department.
How to prepare for the oral exam
The best way to prepare for the oral exam is to practice answering the most commonly asked police interview questions in the mirror. There are some common questions the board members will ask you no matter where you are you live. I mention the mirror because you must understand some of the raters on the board will be police officers and they are master body language readers. So the mirror will help you monitor your non-verbal cues.
In conclusion, instead of paying for those high priced courses, try to focus your attention on preparing for the oral board exam. You can get the top 100 most commonly asked police interview questions here.