How to Become a S.W.A.T Team Member – Advice on Requirements and Salary

How to Become a S.W.A.T Team Member – Information on Requirements and  Salary Outlook

swat team, swat members

If you want to become a swat team member  for your respective police department there are some things you must know. First, you must know SWAT team officers are in excellent physical shape so if you’re out of shape, you won’t make it through the selection process.

If you didn’t already know this, SWAT team officers are some of the best trained officers on any given department. They train several times a month, sharp-tuning their techniques for potential high risk situations.

SWAT team member are usually on call 24/7,  if you want to become SWAT (especially in big agencies like Chicago Police DEPT, NYPD, LAPD) be prepared to give up some of your free time. The great thing about being on the SWAT team is you’ll get special unit pay and you’ll get fantastic training to put on your resume if you decide to move on to the federal level later on in your career.

Watch The Video Below For Information On How To Join The SWAT Team:

Here are just some of the requirements, qualifications, and a salary outlook for a SWAT team member. Remember, this may differ from department to department.

Job Description

SWAT Operators are trained specialists who resolve high-risk tactical situations. A SWAT member’s special training and flexibility allow the SWAT team to tackle hostage situations, high-risk warrant service operations, search and rescue
operations, tactical waterborne operations, covert and undercover tactical operations, special circumstances such as crowd control and rural searches, and many other high-risk circumstances. The SWAT team is often comprised of some of the most highly trained unit of a police department.

Median Salary


Education Requirements

Generally, SWAT operators must have three years minimum experience in their respective department. It is not necessary for a SWAT operators to have a college degree. SWAT operators also are involved in advanced training which includes everything from sniper/counter-sniper operations to helicopter insertion techniques.

Job Outlook

SWAT job outlook differs from department to department. There is a national projected need for 243,000 more police officers, including SWAT operators, ending in the year 2016.

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62 Comments on How to Become a S.W.A.T Team Member – Advice on Requirements and Salary

  1. you must get hired and be on patrol for at least a year before you can apply for the SWAT team

  2. are there any waivers available for combat veterans with Long range marksmanship, air assault, and room clearing experience in the SWAT field?

  3. no you will have to go through the process like everyone else. However your experience will definitely help

  4. Do we need a degree to get in S.W.A.T? I have my high school diploma and I feel college isn’t for me.

  5. I thought you had to have a degree to join the police force? So wouldnt that mean you had to have a degree to join swat? That’s what I was thinking.

  6. It all depends on the PD but usually you don’t need a college degree to be in SWAT. However you need at least 1-2 years of service before you can apply. Some departments require at least 60 college credits to be a cop, but the overwhelming majority don’t. I recommend contacting the recruiting department of the PD you are interested in for more info

  7. i already made up my mined on joining swat after highschool but i will only be 17-18 yrs old could i still get in the academy?

  8. I am almost finished with a bachelors degree in criminal justice and aiming to go the route of border patrol, if i serve 3 years under the border patrol agency can i apply for a s.w.a.t. job or do i have to serve on a police force?

  9. I am almost finished with a bachelors degree in criminal justice and aiming to go the route of border patrol, if i serve 3 years under the border patrol agency can i apply for a s.w.a.t. \

  10. Can women join a S.W.A.T. team? Somebody told me that only men could be on a S.W.A.T. team.

  11. Is there a height requierement? Im still in high school but if you want to work in another state could you still become a SWAT officer or would u recomend staying in the native state and applying for a SWAT after being a cop? I’m also a wrestler at my high school and many people have told me that it might come in handy if i want to be in any branch of the law inforcement would it?

  12. Im a 16 female ever sence i was 7 i wanted to join SWAT my family keeps saying i cant do it. Ive always been a risk taker and im very athletic. When i get out of high school what all do i have to do to join SWAT? Collage? How many years? People say you have to be a cop before you can join SWAT do you? if so how many years?

  13. You must spend at least 1-2 years on the street as a patrol officer before you can become a swat team officer. As far as if you can do it, of course you can do it.

  14. i want to be a swat member ,but i live in mexico and i am taiwanese,i speak mandarin, spanish and inglish,i have 13 years old and if i can be a swat member?

  15. I am a marine, does my time in service in this branch cover for the S.W.A.T. Entry requirements or would I still need time in service as a police officer?

  16. What are you expected of for the training. Im not the fittest person but I’m pretty wellrounded. Im just an average person waiting to be more. I have always wanted to be on swat since I was ten.

  17. heloo my name is mary and my dream is to one day become a swat team member!do i need a hs diploma?or is the ged en of? is it harder for woman to be a swat team member?????

  18. am about to get my high school diploma
    but im thinking go to the marines or go to
    air force what should i do which is the best way
    to go or which is the short way to became a swat team

  19. People, SWAT is an abbreviation of (Special Weapons and Tactics), in some jurisdictions it’s known as ERT ( Emergency Response Team) and SRT ( Special Response Team). In order to be apart of any of the aforementioned you must be a police officer, with atleast 1-2 years of patrol experience. After having the 1-2 year pre-requisite, then you’ll be eligible to apply to specialty assignments including SWAT. Just like applying to a police department, you must take a series of tests. Depending on how you test, you’ll be placed on a list of eligibility. With time you can be the runner up. What I mentioned is for medium to larger sized departments, some smaller departments have a mutual aid agreement with neighboring towns, who pool their resources for budget reasons. Many officer’s still function as a full-time patrol officer while working as a member of a SWAT team on an as required basis. Military experience alone will not qualify you to become a member of the SWAT team; however, the experience you recieve will go into account when making a decision, also the training may be familiar, but never the same.
    As far as being gay and on the SWAT team, all departments are EOE, so any form of discrimation isn’t tolerated. That doesn’t mean you will feel accepted amongst your team, but with time you’ll earn the trust with your comrades.

  20. I’m 18 years old right now and am training to be a Navy MA (Master-at-Arms) which is basiclly a Navy Police Officer. After my military contract could I use my MA experience to apply for my local SWAT team right away, or would I still need to be on the Police Force for the 1-2 years?

  21. I’m currently 18 years old and training to be a Navy MA (Master-at-Arms). Which is basiclly a Navy Police Officer. I was wondering if the MA experience I would obtain during my military contract would allow me to instantly apply SWAT or if I would still have to wait the 1-2 years in the Police Force.

  22. How old do you have to be to go to the police acadamy, How long would i have to attened the police accadimy, and is there a spesific age requierment to become a S.W.A.T team memeber?

  23. hi!i am a twelve year old boy and want to become a you need to go to the criminal justice college so you can apply?why do you need to become a police officer for 1 or 2 years?when you finish college do you get to pick what police department you want to apply for or does the police department has to pick you

  24. Hello. I am a 15 year old guy. I’ve read the whole article and every comment, something that most other people seem to have not done, so you can say I come “well-equipped.” To me, it seems as though SWAT is branch of the military almost. I decided I wanted to join SWAT because I want to serve; my country and/or it’s citizens, and SWAT seems the closest thing to serving in the military, no? But anyway… This is what I’ve picked up from the article and the comments:

    1. SWAT is a part of the police force, and to join you need at least 1-2 years on the force.
    2. SWAT is a non-discriminating service. They don’t care if your male, female, gay, bi-, what have you…
    3. SWAT is, essentially, almost the civilian equivalent of the US military’s Special Operations (Navy SeALS, Army’s Green Berets, Marines RECON, Air Force Snipers, etc. etc..)
    4. There are no exceptions from joining SWAT. You MUST be a police officer for at least 1-2 years.
    5. Training is similar is the US Military style training.
    6. SWAT may and will conduct sniper/counter-sniper, high-risk operations, hostage rescue, crowd control, so on and so forth..
    7. SWAT team members are some of the highest trained and most highly skilled in the world…

    And about the comments…
    1. Repeats are very annoying..
    2. Repeatedly asked questions put into different wording is also annoying.

    And I am done. I hope that sums most stuff up… I hope I’ve done well in answering peoples questions that they have already asked… I hope the people answering questions that haven’t been asked, i.e. offcerforestal and KNOWLEDGE, are proud of me and yeah… God bless America and god bless the men and women who are currently serving overseas and the men and women who who work the home-front. Keeping the streets safe.

  25. nice info mickey but do you get to pick the department you want to join or the department can pick you.when you are finish serving a police officer and then you want to join the swat,is there any paper work you have to signed or you have to pay to join.plese answear these questions because i want to keep my country protected also keep people childrens a good life.again please answer these question.

  26. I would think that you get to choose your department. As with paper work, I would believe that you need to fill out an application and some health and insurance papers… I doubt you would have to pay to join, remember SWAT is still part of the police force, but I’m only 15 and hav never been in SWAT before.

  27. thank you mikey.but when you are a swat is there like a position or something and do you think i can do this because i want to invent a new lapd swat truck?please answer.

  28. Well you can invent anything dennis. And yes there are SWAT positions. I dont remember what they are but there are postiions.

  29. when you join the swat do you have to pay for like your gun,bullet proof vest,helment,pouches,your bag for all your eqitments,your gun boxes,or any other equitment you will need

  30. @officer forestal Are you a SWAT officer yourself?
    @Dennis I do not believe you have to buy your own equipment, considering it IS part of the police department and in the police they supply your equipment

  31. My dream to become a s.w.a.t membe.I’m only 15 year old but my mom and my family are too scale scary for me to be in a s.w.a.t team but let’s see go year past by and they change their mind. But my dream is become true because i believe in god on john 14:14 it say if u ask sum thing in my name I’ll do it.

  32. Dennis,
    you can get kicked out of S.W.A.T. just like you can when someone is a regular police officer. It can be from some punishment of sorts because you broke certain rules that you are obliged to follow. As well, each SWAT member MUST continue to pass physical fitness tests each year, and sometimes more than one time a year. Basically if you prove to be bringing down the team and cant pass the PT tests you will be taken out of SWAT. Remember they want the best of the best on their teams because they are the elite forces of the Police Department. And as for the requirements for becoming a SWAT officer, as someone said it takes 1-2 years as a cop at the department before you can join, that is not always correct. Most cities require you to serve at least 3 years. As for LAPD it is 5.

    Physical requirements vary from each department. Some require you to run a mile instead of a mile in a half in a certain amount of time( im sure it would have to be fast, 8 min or less or so). As for push ups and sit ups, im assuming it will be 30-50 reps. pull ups are usually 5-15 reps, and so on. But there are other courses you have to do. Like an obstacle course, shooting, some departments make you tread water for like 15 minutes. Basically it is a military type selection process for a special operations position.

  33. To become SWAT you must become a police officer and serve for at least a year usually more. Many applicants have been on the force for much more than a year. It helps to have a degree and military background with tactical training and close quarter combat. Even when you are SWAT you are usually volunteer and spend most of your time as a regular police officer. If you want to do direct action missions or hostage rescue a better route is the military special warfare community such as SEALs, Rangers, combat controllers, force recon. I went through SEAL training in BUDs class 265 and comparing SWAT to that training is a joke. SWAT is usually just house raids for drug warrants.

  34. thanks for the great information Hannah.Do you know how many years you have to be a police officer to become a swat for the San Diego Police Department?

  35. I want to be a swat team member but I’m not sure what I should do out of high school. Can you give me some advice?

  36. Isaiah,

    First thing first, you must go through the hiring process to become a police officer. If hired, depending on the agency you’ll have to spend at least 1-2 years on the street as a patrolmen before you can apply to become swat officer. Your first course of action right now is to apply to the department you are interested in.

  37. Hello, I’m a Junior in high school. First thing first, at this point of my life I’m not in a good body shape.I’m a little overweight, but I’m looking forward on loosing weight and be physically active to make my dream come true. Anyways i would like know if i could get into the Swat career straight without being a patrol officer. Also I would like to know any good colleges or preferably universities around Chicago,IL.

    Thank You.

  38. I been in the army for 6 years, combat arms infantry / artillery with 3 deployments under my belt. Currently stationed in Fort Carson, CO. How far out can i apply for the CPD? in how long would i be able to join to swat team? i been to air assault school and sometime soon going to airborne, would that help? once i get hired at the CPD, how long would it take me to apply for the swat team?

  39. Hello my name is Jayy.In being hired into your local law enforcement division and spending the number of years how would you go about applying for SWAT?

  40. i would like to know if i should go through my college first and then apply to be a police and then to swat or if i should go straight out of highschool into a police and then swat and skip college

  41. Hey I’m a sophomore in high school and I already know that I defenitly want to be a swat team member. Would it be better for me to go to college for at least a little bit? And would it helpe on to the team faster?

  42. I AM FROM AFGHANISTAN.I am 16 and in 12th class.I want to be a special force in US.I like to be a sniper(sharp shooter).How can I do it.I am ready to go out from Afghanistan.

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