6 Steps to Become a Cop in Texas
To become a police officer in Texas, you need to meet licensing requirements set by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) and the standards set by the local law enforcement agency with which you are applying. Although the specific requirements vary between local police forces, there are some general rules you should expect to encounter.
Contact the local agency with which you hope to work to find out their minimum age requirements.
Obtain a valid Texas driver’s license through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
Meet the educational requirements. At minimum, you will need to have a high school diploma or GED to become a police officer in Texas. Many local police forces also require 30-60 college credits and/or military experience. The number of required college credit hours varies, and if you have both some college credit hours and military experience, the number of required college credit hours may be less.
Pass the local agency’s physical exams and written exam. These exams will test both your fitness and your overall health. The local group will advise you of the minimum physical standards that must be met, including height, weight, hearing, vision and physical activity. Your mental health will also be evaluated through psychiatric exams.
Pass a background check and drug test. You cannot become a police officer in Texas if you have any felony convictions of Class A misdemeanor convictions. Some local forces will also exclude you if you have excessive traffic violations, as per their standards. A credit check may be included in the background check. You may also be asked to take a lie detector test.
Obtain a TCLEOSE police officer license (a “peace officer” license). You must complete 40 hours of TCLEOSE coursework and pass a TCLEOSE exam to receive a basic police officer license. Over the course of your career, you will be required to complete continuing education classes through which you will receive more advanced police officer licenses. Some local departments will hire you and train you before you complete your TCLEOSE work with the provision that you complete your licensing within an agreed amount of time. The specific courses you have to take via TCLEOSE varies. You can find classes and arrange an exam on the TCLEOSE website. There are exam sites throughout the state.