For as long as you can remember, you have wanted to work in law enforcement. When you were a kid, you loved playing cops and robbers with your friends. Now, the time has come for you to fulfill your career goal and get into law enforcement. Here’s how to transform your dream into reality.
Be as Physically Fit as Possible
You’ve probably seen some chunky police officers on TV, but to be hired initially, police departments have pretty strict fitness standards. As The Balance Careers notes, police departments use one of two tests: a physical abilities test or a physical fitness assessment.
To boost your chances of passing, start building up your physical strength and also increase your cardio. Check with your physician ahead of time to make sure you are in good shape to start your exercise program, and then get busy working out and getting stronger.
Get the Proper Education
While most law enforcement departments in the United States do not require a college degree, they do ask that applicants have either a high school diploma or GED. Training at the police academy is also required, and you must pass an exam to get in — usually an Asset, Compass or Law Enforcement Examination.
When applying, ask which test will be administered so you will know how to properly prepare. The Police Academy will be a challenging time, but you will learn a lot and it will cement your desire to get into law enforcement.
Be Ethical and Honest, Always
As Go Law Enforcement notes, as you get into law enforcement, remember that your great attitude and solid sense of integrity and ethics will be your most valuable assets. This means doing the right thing all of the time in both your personal and professional life, even when you think no one is watching.
As a side note to this, since virtually everything in law enforcement is recorded, never say or do anything that you would not want everyone in the world to be able to hear or see. This goes for social media posts that you make on your own as well; if you wouldn’t want your grandma to see it, then don’t say or do it.
Know Your Career Options
In addition to becoming a police officer, there are a number of other law enforcement careers that you may want to consider, many of which pay well and also require additional education and degrees. For example, FBI agents typically require at least a bachelor’s degree, but salaries can go as high as $118,000 a year.
Other great-paying options for people with criminal justice degrees include secret service agents, a DEA agent, working as a private investigator, or becoming a forensic analyst.
You Can Do It
There is something incredibly rewarding about achieving a career goal that you have had for as long as you can remember. Now that you know a bit more about what it takes to get into law enforcement, you will be one step closer to doing your dream job.