Home » Police Academy Requirements

Police Academy Requirements

8 December 2008 59 Comments

Police Academies across the nation tend to follow state by state requirements.  Usually there is a governing authority for civil service that will place the standards for the Police Academy on a state by state basis; however as general rule we will give you some of the requirements that are generally accepted nationwide.

Many Police Academies do not allow open enrollment, however some states require you to be certified before applying for a Police Officer position with a municipality.  Some police academies require that you are hired by a police agency and then they will send you to the academy.  Other jurisdictions will offer the police academy as a college course of study, and once completed you would then be able to apply to a police agency for consideration for hiring.  Check your local police academy standards in reference to this.

Education: Usually a Police Academy will require you to hold a High School Diploma or a GED equivalent.  Some police academies do require a 4 year college degree or 3 years of generalized work experience as well.

Physical Fitness: A Police Academy will usually require a physical fitness exam.  Where most police academies differ is what the physical fitness consists of.  Most police academies require a run, whether it is a 1 mile, 1 ½ mile run, or more, under a certain predetermined time, depending on sex and age.

Successful Completion of Course: The police academy will provide many tests or exams.  Successful completion of these exams is required.  There will usually be many written exams, based on law, criminal procedure law, etc.  There will also be the physical fitness test, usually an entrance and exit exam.  There will also be defensive tactics exams to show proficiency in self defense, defensive tactics and arrest techniques.  There may be other exams as well as required by each local academy.

Every Police Academy is different so that it is important to check the standards and requirements with each local police academy.

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  • Jake said:

    It was brief but definitely meets the requirements of a police academy. I just don’t like the college education part. Law school would be very helpful though.

  • Benjamin said:

    Thank you this helped me a lot!

  • Alexey DemyanenkoA said:

    Hello!//////Many years i dream to be an police officer…and now when I’m 27 i began to gather the documents to came to USA ……please tell me more about exams in police academy in NY…..I will wait for an answer. P.S. Sorry for mistakes.

  • Corey C said:

    I was just wondering, how old do you have to be to go to the Academy? 18 or 21?

  • admin said:

    It would depend what state. Different states have different age requirements. I would suggest that you contact the local police academy or the police academy that you are interested in attending and simply ask them for their requirements.

  • Soraya said:

    Is a permanent resident (green card holder) eligible?

  • alisha said:

    hey im 18 and always wanted to be a police officer i was wondering how long do you have to be in the police academy?

  • Shelby R. said:

    i live in corona california and i was wondering what a good close academy would be for me to apply for and how i would go about applying?

  • admin said:

    Usually a green card is no issue. Check with the individual state to be sure, but most positions just require citizenship.

  • Al-DUD said:

    Shelby R- I live in the same area… RCC has an Academy starting in the summer & Fullerton C.C. also has an Academy. You’d have to pay your way through it & it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a job, but with the economy being what it is, it might be the best way. I was hired by LAPD only to have my class canceled due to budget cuts. You might want to try S.B. county sheriff or L.A. County Sheriffs… Most city P.D. are going through such tight budget cuts right now, they are laying off recruits in the Academy or they have zero idea when they’ll have the finances to start hiring again. CHP (although I’d never want to EVER have that job) is usually always hiring, but their Academy is Sacramento, you have to live there for 6 months & I’ve heard its one of the toughest in the nation. -Best of luck

  • relly said:

    I am 20 years old and completed high school 3 years ago but when i was in high school, i use to smoke weed alot. do that mean i am not eligible to join he police academy?..please help me find out my answer

  • mone said:

    well there has to be an easy way to reach into becomeing a cop faster then 2-3 years in college. this does not give you a full and resionable way but its okay at least it gives u and example . but if you guys know an easyr way just post it ..

  • matt weithenauer said:

    hello i am attending the ocean county police academy in new jersey and my department sent me through after working one summer, there is a few tests you have to pass during the academy and its 9 months long

  • Nick coalson said:

    can u tell me more

  • andy f said:

    cory c y ou have to be 18 to join the academy and have a high school diploma. most academy’s would also perfer a college degree as well.

  • Zack said:

    I am transferring to my hometown college in the fall and getting my bachelors degree in criminal justice and hoping to become a police officer and then SWAT eventually after the three year period and seeing an opening. But, I was wondering, I only have two tickets but they equal 9 points on my license. Speeding and traffic violation. Will this keep me from being able to become a Police Officer?

  • juan said:

    i wanna be a police

  • jimmy said:

    what test di you take in the Academy?

  • colton said:

    I am wanting to join the police force and eventually going to SWAT. I’m in peak physical condition so other than that, what all do I need to do to get into it?

  • Sheena said:

    Does credit has anything to do with getting in the Academy??

  • Jon Adams said:


    To become a police officer you have too first graduate from Highschool with a 2.0 GPA or higher.(in most places.) It would help to go to college with a major in Criminology. You then have to go to the police academy. If you have any kind of record even miss deminor things like possesion of narcotics or Public intoxication. If your name is in the computer than you have no chance. After a Backround test then you start your training.

  • tricia said:

    hi has anyone been called in for their final physical for the zone five academy starting in july 2010?

  • brad said:

    Hi i am a 20 year old male with out a license i wanted to know if i could go to the academy it would take two months to get my license back?

  • Cogill10 said:

    Look… First of all, I have noticed almost every person that has posted a response or question; has been unable to spell properly!!!! What gives? Secondly, the person requesting information on an easier way?! Seriously??? Would you like to be helped by a police officer that did maybe 6 mos. of online college and possibly some physical fitness to become the one person who will more than likely be your lifeline at some point and time??? I think not! Anything worth having is to be worked hard for.. It is not going to be handed to you.. Ok, now that I got that off my chest; I actually do have a question myself. To become S.W.A.T. how much more education and/or training is required? Thanks a bunch.

  • admin said:

    Haha! I appreciate your response. Actually this question gets asked quite a bit.

    In order to become a member of SWAT, Special Services, ESU, etc… You have to become a Police Officer first. Almost think of it as a promotion. You will be required to pass the entrance exam once you have met the minimum qualifications, as set by the particular agency. You will then usually be required to attend some type of advanced course for Special Ops. The reason I keep the answer slightly vague is that every agency handles their team differently, however I hope that answers some of the basic questions.

  • admin said:

    Usually the Police Academy requires you to have a license. I would check with the specific academy or agency that you are applying for.

  • Megan said:

    Just out of curiousity, what are the requirements to become a Police Detective? I know you have to serve 3 years as a Patrol Officer, but do you have to have a 4 year degree in Criminal Justice/Criminology to be considered for that role?

  • admin said:


    The best answer I can provide is that every agency is different. In most agencies you would get promoted to detective, and other agencies you would be required to take an exam. Usually in smaller size departments it will take years, as the idea of supply and demand is present. If there is no position available you could be on patrol for 20 years. Larger departments usually have more opportunities for a detective position. It would really depend on where you would find employment as to how the selection process would work.

  • paul said:

    Is there an age limit to entering the police academy?

  • Rena said:

    I have a question and being honest, I am asking on behalf of someone else. We heard that if you become a police offier you can not be living with a felon. Is this true. She is takeing the course now but wondered if this would be a problem.

  • admin said:

    I cannot speak for the whole country, however, in New York, a Police Officer is not allowed to associate with known Felons. This is a person who has been convicted of a felony, not just have been charged with a felony.

  • MARIO said:

    I am in high school and graduating in a couple of months do you no if i would have to go to college and take a law enforcement class first or sign up for the police academy first I am interested in joining the CHP, but I have no idea how to join if any one could help it would be really appreciated thanks.

  • admin said:

    The minimum requirements for the California Highway Patrol is:

    High school diploma, GED, or California High School Proficiency Examination.
    Highly desirable: possession of a degree, Associate of Arts or higher, from an accredited college; also, additional course work or advanced skills in the following areas: English, including grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary and composition; reading and comprehension; mathematics (used for traffic accident calculations); typing and computer skills (many officers use computers for reports, and most patrol vehicles currently have or will have computers); bilingual; physical fitness; other helpful courses may be social sciences such as sociology and psychology.

    You can see all of the qualifications here: http://www.chp.ca.gov/recruiting/oqualifications.html

  • Will said:

    Admin, i have been a wanting to become a cop for a long time. But just now was i able to become legal in this country. I have my green card now. And I would like to become a police officer. I live in NJ but i’m also thinking about moving to FL.
    So could you please tell me what are the requirements to qualify for the police academy and to be a police officer in both states? Or direct me to the website where i can find out? Thank You.

  • bola said:

    i want to be a police officer and am recently in college.what or how can i move further in making it a reality?. what steps do i need to take?

  • bola- bolaatjimoh@ymail.com said:

    could i get response yhrough my email address, i will be grateful

  • cynthia said:

    i am going to start school to become a CSI and everything i have read says the best way to get on at a PD is to go through the academy would it benefit me to go through both at the same time for my masters or wait till collage if finished

  • Chad said:

    I have always had an interest in becoming a police officer. Although it was kinda of a money situation for me. I had a job making very good money for the last 13 years and was married now I no longer work there and would like to pursue becoming a police officer but am afraid my age(37) is going to be possibly too old. Is this true ? Can I maybe be too old to chase down This new career ? And if its not, should I try enrolling on my own at an academy or should i wait to be hired on first? Thanks for your help.

  • Solis said:

    I’ve wanted to become a Police officer for as long as I can remember, but I have a question.
    My Brothers are Convicted Felons, Will this make a difference? Some people told me that I couldn’t become a police officer because of this.

  • Jay said:

    Being a police officer is my goal right now. Currently I am in my 1st year of college and I was curious in how many years I would need in the college to join the police academy?

  • Tyler said:

    If you only have one eye can you still join?

  • Jessi said:

    Hey I live in South Africa. But the system here is not Ideal for a white female to enter the force. But its my dream to be a detective. I had some chats with people here that was in the force and was advised against it- hence the “not ideal” statement. The only way I see to pursue the dream is to enroll in another continent… Is it possible for me to do so, and if so how do I go about it? What is the requirements to do so? any advice would be much appreciated.

  • Aron said:

    I recently applied for a police office in Burbank, California. The problem is I’m a
    Permanent resident( green card holder), can I go through with just a green card
    Or do I have to be a citizen? I will qualify to apply for my citizenship next
    Year July 2012 Please help.

  • admin said:


    It depends. Some law enforcement jobs require a 2 year degree, some a 4 year degree, some Military Experience will allow you to not have the educational degree. I would check the requirements of the exact jobs that you are seeking.

  • admin said:


    Most agencies to require a medical exam. The fact that a person has only one eye may be an issue. I would check with the specific agency that you are seeking employment with.

  • admin said:


    There are laws that you can not consort with known felons if you are a Police Officer, but your brother’s actions cannot be held against you.

    I think you will be ok.

  • Roxanna said:

    Hi i have a question.. I’m a petite girl and im wondering in the academy will become a problem . I have one more year to go in order for me to go to the academy. Should i start getting a application near where i live?..

  • Patricia said:

    I have a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Investigations I am also 41 and female and can’t run that fast I am 5’2 135lbs and don’t want to be a street officer but want to be a crime scene tech. Any advice??? Email me at elebereth_69@yahoo.com. I am also member and President of an American Criminal Justice Association chapter.

  • admin said:

    Size does not matter. If you are able to meet the physical requirements than you would be fine.

    Yes you should start by contacting the agency that you are looking to seek employment with to get started.

  • Sean F said:

    I’m 37, male, Marine Corps sergeant (prior service, discharged 2000). My military occupational specialty was not provost marshal or police oriented. Am I too old to join? I’m 6’2″ tall and 190lb. I’m height/weight appropriate and can still run a 7 min mile. I’ve slowed down a little, but I qualified expert with every weapon I touched.

    Sean F

  • Bry said:

    I’m transgendered and will be starting treatment as soon as I turn 18. Are transsexuals allowed in the police force? Also, what is the maximum age that someone can apply to the police academy? Thanks

  • Jessica Williamson said:

    I’m in grade nine in high school and i want to be a police officer i think its the right thing for me to do and its an extremly honorable profession. :) thanks for all the info

  • Deeh said:

    Hey i was just wondering is it hard? i mean the training course that are done in the police force?


    I’ve wanted so long to be an officer since i was 18 i am now 27 and i really wanna do this, but i have no diploma or G.E.D

  • Serena said:

    While in the academy do you train for the physical fitness test or is it suppose to be a one time test? Also do you know the maximum miles that has been required for any in the state of Texas.I want to start training myself to be ready and want to know a goal I should be striving for. Thank you.

  • zackery said:

    I am wondering if i have an accident which caused one ticket careless driving and one for seat belt in state of Florida will that disqualify me from police academy

  • Garrett said:

    I live in Texas. Can I enroll in the police academy at age 20 if I will be 21 by the date of graduation?

  • jake said:

    I’m looking to get a masters in criminal justice. what would be the best college to do so?

  • admin said:

    It would depend on the academy. I know that New York City or NYPD will accpet you as long as you will be 21 by the time of graduation.

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