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Joining the Force: Everything You Need to Know

Joining the Force: Everything You Need to Know


A career as a police officer is like no other. Ask any cop and they’ll tell you that it’s a way of life and they wouldn’t want to do anything else.

But do you really know what it takes to set yourself apart from the other candidates in the exceedingly fierce competition for your coveted law enforcement positions?

PoliceLink has pulled together some of law enforcement’s most well known individuals to provide you with the information you’ll need to set yourself apart from the competition.

10 Steps to Joining the Force
Get the basics on the different types of law enforcement careers, how to best prepare yourself, what to study, who to talk to and when to talk to them. Learn how to get your foot in the door and why an education will set you apart. Access the guide…

Recommended resources: Police Exam Study Guides, FBI & Cooper Standard Workouts

10 Steps to Joining the Force – For Military Service Members
Candidates with military service are highly sought after by law enforcement recruiters. Learn how to take advantage of your time in the military to best position yourself. This exclusive guide includes a special checklist to follow during your last year in the service. Access the guide…

Recommended resources: State Trooper & Highway Patrol Study Exam, Advanced Police Workouts, Military Workouts

LEO Career Profiles
Ever wonder what the different jobs are within police work, their specific requirements, and average salaries? We have put together career profiles on several of the most sought after positions, including: detectives, patrol, crime scene investigators (CSI), FBI agents / federal agents, and SWAT operators.

Recommended resources: Criminal Justice School Finder, PoliceLink Scholarship Finder, Which School is Right For You?

So You Wanna Be a Cop…
Written by a 30+ veteran of both big city and suburban law enforcement, this series will give you a true insider’s view of the pros and cons of a career in law enforcement. With an emphasis on the pre-employment interviews, polygraph, and application process, this series is a must read for everyone interested in a law enforcement career. Access the guide…

Recommended resources: Landing a Career in Law Enforcement

Expert Oral Board Guide
Get expert advice on how to prepare for and ace your oral board exam.

Find a School with a Law Enforcement Degree Program

While reading through the above career guides you’ll notice that all of our law enforcement career experts all stress the same theme: the importance of an education. Most mid to large sized agencies now require at least 60 college credits to even be eligible to apply. Those agencies that don’t have the requirement will almost always choose a candidate with college experience over one that is lacking an education.

Don’t get stuck at the bottom – take the first steps to getting a degree today by using PoliceLink’s School Finder to connect with schools with programs designed to help you become a police officer or federal agent.

  • 2013_police_academy_graduation_beverage_pitcher-rfbcce87685664b4aad274d761cee8c6d_2wnov_8byvr_324_max50


    over 2 years ago


    So much information. Thanks!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    New to this,do not know where to see and or find the answer to my comment.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    Is there a cut off age for joining the police force.?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    Can I get In the police academy without going to school....

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    what's the age limit for being a cop

  • 250px-sugarlandtowncenter_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    What is the advantage of getting a degree in CJ than just graduating from a police academy?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago


    i want to be a cop.. real quick. how do i do it?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    some things you do are and can be forgiven but a D.U.I. in my department is not forgiven. They do not like crimes that you could avoid example d.u.i , bad checks and just being a theif. I think you have to explain everything and if it gets out in pulic after they hire you it's on you.

  • Shadowwarrior_max50


    about 6 years ago


    I know in my state (Indiana) theft is a felony and therefore you cant be a LEO, as far as alcohol/traffic related offenses you can still be hired as an LEO (depending on state or PD your applying for) and as long as there is not a pattern or a long history of alcohol/traffic issues. I know officers that have had a DUI prior and while serving and became and stayed an Officer. If you got integrity issues,theft,domestic violence,drug history then don't waste your time.

  • 4006742807_max600_max600_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Very helpful material!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    so if you had a dwi 10 years ago can u be a cop

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Great article. But, remember, boys and girls, a very helpful part of the LE team can be the DA who leads interference for you in the courtroom.

    Without a conviction that can withstand constitutional scrutiny on appeal, you may well be into the wind...

    ( to tremaine14's question. Frankly, son or daughter, I wouldn't hire ANYONE who has been convicted of any moral turpitude crime, including, from my perspective, the answer is HELL NO...)

    Even if the arrest did not result in a conviction, a shoplifter is a thief. Theft is dishonesty. We do NOT need dishonest people in LE...

  • Picture-007a_max50


    about 6 years ago


    I'll back you up on learning spanish, chief dennis....I"m a carpenter, but it's opened doors in my line of work, I wouldn't otherwise have had.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    I was arrested 20 or more years ago for shoplifting can I still get a job in law enforcement

  • 02-17-07_0940_1__max50


    about 6 years ago


    This is a career that will take you farther than you have ever been. It would hurt to look into a change. Thank you everybody for the support.

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