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POLICE OFFICER CAREER PATH

Police officers are responsible for keeping the peace and maintaining law and order in the communities they serve. Working as a police officer can be a rewarding career, both in the sense of personal fulfillment and the comfortable police officer salary many law enforcement officers enjoy. 

WHAT DOES THE POLICE OFFICER CAREER PATH INVOLVE?

When applying to be an entry-level police officer, you will gain on-the-job training at an agency police academy or regional or state academy. Training covers a range of topics, including first aid, firearms training, driving, police ethics and department-specific policies and procedures. 

Specific police officer requirements vary. Generally, police officers must be U.S. citizens at least 21 years of age. They should have a current driver’s license, and they need to pass a background check and meet minimum physical and fitness standards.

As far as education is concerned, some police departments accept new recruits who only have high school diplomas. Other precincts require applicants to have college degrees. A criminal justice degree could greatly benefit a future police officer — even if it is not an entrance requirement for their employer — as it may lead to higher salaries and faster advancement. 

WHAT ARE SOME TYPICAL POLICE OFFICER DUTIES? 

As with entrance requirements, there may be agency-specific differences when it comes to police officer duties. Those serving in rural communities tend to be more generalized, where urban officers may have specific job descriptions and specialties. 

A typical police officer job description includes responding to both routine and emergency calls; patrolling assigned areas; conducting traffic stops; issuing citations when appropriate; arresting suspects; gathering information and evidence from crime scenes; writing reports and documenting incidents; managing assigned cases; and testifying in court.

WHY CONSIDER A CAREER AS A POLICE OFFICER? 

A career as a police officer can be challenging — physically, mentally and emotionally. There may be days that are mundane and routine, other days that are exciting, and still others that are draining. However, many officers report an overall sense of satisfaction knowing they are making a difference in the community and in the lives of friends and neighbors.

As of May 2019, the national median annual police officer salary of $65,170 recognizes the hard work and challenges that these men and women often face in their day-to-day responsibilities. 

MEET POLICE OFFICER REQUIREMENTS AT MACCORMAC COLLEGE 

If you want to become a police officer, MacCormac College’s criminal justice degree program can prepare you well. This two-year course of study teaches students about the U.S. criminal justice framework including constitutional, criminal and procedural law.

Program instructors who have worked in the criminal justice system provide insights into administration and theory, policy formation, ethical pitfalls, and the interconnectivity between corrections, parole and probation. Professors also offer hands-on instruction in subjects such as applied forensic methods and analyzing evidence.

With both on-campus and online accredited program options, MacCormac College is committed to helping you reach your future career goals. To learn more about our program, contact us today. Then, apply online to begin turning your professional dreams into a reality.