How Long Does the Police Recruitment Process Take?

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A career in law enforcement is time-consuming, dangerous, but rewarding to those who seek to do good for society. The process of becoming a police officer varies in its length.

1 Education

To become a police officer, you must have at least a high school education. Some departments require a Bachelor's degree in law enforcement, criminal justice or a similar field. Bachelor's degrees typically take 4 years to obtain.

2 Application

Once you have your degree, you can go to the local police department and seek openings. The turnover rate for police officers is high, so you'll likely find an opening. You should get two copies of the application in case you make mistakes. Filling it out should take a day.

3 Civil Service Exam

To qualify to be a police officer, you have to take and pass a civil service examination. Police departments allow you to make appointments for these since they last all day, or they hold them at regular intervals.

4 Physical Fitness

You will have to take a physical fitness exam as well. This will include strength and endurance. If you're not in good physical shape, some departments, such as the Los Angeles Police Department, offer a training program that lasts 4 months.

5 Police Academy

If you pass all tests and a background check, you can go to a police academy. Background checks take up to a month to process. Police academy programs run anywhere from 3 months to 1 year, depending on the specialization of your study.

6 Entire Recruitment Process Length

The recruitment process of becoming a police officer can last for 2 years, excluding university education.

Michael Smathers studies history at the University of West Georgia. He has written freelance online for three years, and has been a Demand Studios writer since April 2009. Michael has written content on health, fitness, the physical sciences and martial arts. He has also written product reviews and help articles for video games on BrightHub, and martial arts-related articles on Associated Content.