Police Jobs & Career Requirements

The things you need to do to become a Police Officer vary depending on where you are trying to get a job.

Most US states now have some form of “Police Officer Standards & Training” criteria. This is commonly abbreviated as POST.

Police Officer Information by State

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Steps To Become a Police Officer

  • Consider joining a Police Explorer post in your area (if you are still a teenager).
  • Take some foreign language classes as this will give you competitive edge over other applicants in some places.
  • Check with local community colleges or state universities to see if they offer some pre-academy related classes. .
  • Try to stay strong and fit to prepare yourself for the pre-employment agility test.
  • Before you become a cop, find a job that’s related with law enforcement like security work or loss prevention officer for the local supermarket(it looks good on your application)
  • Submit an application to the agency to is very important that you complete the application correctly as you will get disqualified if it’s not competed correctly.
  • After submitting your application, you’ll be invited to take the entrance written exam (very important that you score high on the exam as there will be a lot of applicants taking the test along with you and you want to stand out from the pact).
  • If you pass this, you will get called back for a physical agility test. Sometimes both agility test and written test  is done on the same day.  The fitness test usually involves running, sit-ups, pull-ups and other activities that simulate situations you might encounter on the job.
  • If you pass the agility test, the next step will likely be an oral interview and/or polygraph test. After the oral interview, a background check is conducted, and if you pass that, you will be called back for the physical exam, drug testing, etc..
  • If you pass the polygraph test, and oral board interview, your name will be placed on an eligibility list. Your position on the list is determined by a combination of your scores on the written and agility tests, and the scores given by the interview board.

Tips tp improve your chance of getting hired..

  • Go on at least 1-2 police ride-along per month to gain valuable job experience. This also shows the department that you are serious about becoming a cop.
  • Give community service to show your appreciation towards the community.
  • Become an Eagle Scout (or girl scout) if under 18.


Most local and state departments require you to pass a physical agility test which involves situps, pushups, and running. can be difficult or impossible if you have not been training before the test.

If you  lack upper body strength, try doing some bodyweight exercises at home.  You can do this by doing as many push-ups as you can in 1 minute. Do this 3 times a week for 2-3 months straight and you’ll increase your pushups over 35%.

You will also have to do 35-40 situps in 1 minute and complete a 1.5 mile run in anywhere from 10:45 to 12:25. The application for the department you are applying for should detail the exact standards that are used for their particular department.

Some department’s physical agility testing, such as the NYPD, you are required to run a course set up as if you were on the streets. This course is timed, and you must meet or exceed this time in order to continue to the next step.

There is usually a sand dummy used (weighing up to 200+ lbs at times) at the end of the course which you must drag or carry a certain distance while wearing a weighted gun belt.

Practice running a full-on active course (walls, fences, steps, tires, etc.) and then at the end, try to move a dead weight jointed sand dummy more than 15 feet. You’ll be amazed at how difficult it is. So practice! Wear a weighted belt as you practice to get used to the extra bulk and weight – usually about 20 lbs will do for a realistic feel.

The police  written test is mainly focused on how well you can remember details (as well as how good your written English skills are). They want to know that when you give a description of a person (i.e. suspect, victim, etc.) that it is as accurate as possible. This is very important to your job.

Pay attention to the small details that most people usually forget or never even notice. You can practice this at a park where there are “walkers” (someone who is walking a track, and will pass you several times). Take a pad and writing tool with you, sit on a bench near the track and wait.

When someone passes you on the track, watch the person (don’t stalk him or her, you may get the real police called on you!). After the person has gone out of sight, write down all you remember about him or her. When the person comes back around the track, see how well you did.