Steps To Become a Police Officer in South Carolina
Requirements to Become a Cop in South Carolina
All police officers in South Carolina are required to complete a 12-week basic training course at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia, the state’s capitol city.
Enrollment in the academy is open only to persons already employed by a police agency in the state, who are at least 21 years old with a high school diploma or GED. Note, when looking for job in the state, some jurisdictions may require more than just the state-mandated educational minimum requirement.
The Academy, and police agencies around the state, also requires candidates to have a South Carolina driver’s license, with no disqualifying factors on their record, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs, reckless homicide or involuntary manslaughter with a motor vehicle, or leaving the scene of an accident.
The Application/Hiring Process
Once hired, the new recruit has a year to complete the 12-week basic training, which will also include a rigorous physical fitness requirement.
All candidates for police officer positions in the state will have to pass a medical examination. A background check will be conducted to provide evidence that the candidate has not been convicted of a criminal offense that has a sentence of one year or more, or a criminal offense involving moral turpitude.
South Carolina will consider a plea of nolo contendere as the equivalent of a conviction. State law also requires that a credit check be conducted with favorable results.
As part of the background check process, fingerprints will be taken and run through data bases of the FBI and South Carolina Law Enforcement division.
Police Training Academy
Once hired and enrolled in the academy, the student will find a quasi-military atmosphere, with rules, regulations and uniform requirements to be met. The state has published a complete guide to what to expect when attending the academy. The guide can be accessed here: Basic Training Rules and Regulations Handbook
Physical Fitness Test Standards
Physical fitness training will be conducted in an obstacle course setting. Students will have to complete nine individual tasks designed to approximate what an officer may find on the job.
These are running, jumping a low hurdle, climbing stairs, low crawling, broad jumping, climbing a fence, climbing through a window, dragging a weight and changing direction on the run. The course will be timed.
Complete details on the course, a map and a video can be found on this web page: http://www.sccja.sc.gov/5Standards/physical/default.aspx. The page is on the site of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, where you can find much more information about becoming a police officer in South Carolina.
Average Police Officer Salary in SC
According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics (2010), a police officer in the state of South Carolina makes between $27,060 – $38,820 per year. However the data collected by BLS is not very accurate because it does not record overtime pay or off duty work. These two factors, if included in the data, would have increased the average salary of a police officer in SC.
Law Enforcement Jobs in South Carolina
There are several law enforcement job openings in South Carolina. Simply visit our Career Job Opening or go to the official website of the agency you are interested in to complete an application of employment. Below is a list of all the law enforcement agencies in the state of SC.
- Charleston International Airport Police Department
- Greenville Spartanburg International Airport Police Department
- University of South Carolina Police Department
- Winthrop University Police Department