The short answer to the question, “How to become a police officer in Texas” is that candidates must be at least 20 years old and must have at least 90 semester hours of college or military experience.
It is important to note that candidates can easily be disqualified if illicit substances are found in their bodies during the physical exam, they have a history of bad moral character and habits or present any traffic and criminal records.
In addition, unlike the vast majority of states, becoming an officer of law in Texas also requires a higher education, meaning that candidates with an associate’s degree have higher chances of being approved.
Minimum Requirements to Become a Police Officer in Texas
- Must be 21 years of age, 18 years of age if the applicant earned an associate’s degree or 60 semester hours of credit from an accredited college or university.
- Must be a US citizen.
- Never been convicted of a family violence offense, or any criminal offense.
- Never been convicted of an offense above the grade of a class b misdemeanor within the last 10 years.
- A high school diploma or equivalent GED.
- Must show no trace of drug dependency.
- Must be free from any medical or physical condition that can affect their performance as a law enforcement officer.
Minimum Enrollment Requirements for training as a Texas Peace Officer (Commission Rule 215.15)
Equating College Hours with Military Experience
While most police departments in Texas require recruits to have successfully completed 90 hours of college, the truth is that finishing college and earning an associate’s degree considerably boosts the chances of approval.
However, this guide would like to highlight that college education can be replaced by consecutive military duty, after previously attaining a GED or high school diploma, as follows:
- 15 hours of college – minimum 36 months of military duty
- 16-30 hours of college – minimum 30 months of military duty
- 31-45 hours of college – minimum 24 months of military duty
- 46-59 hours of college – minimum 18 months of military duty
- 60-74 hours of college – minimum 12 months of military duty
- 75-89 hours of college – minimum 6 months of military duty
Some Clarifications on College Semester Hours Substitution
Candidates interested in equating college hours should know that all their previous experience will be verified. As previously mentioned, the military service is accepted as a substitute for college education only for candidates that have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent.
The military service mandatory for police academy admission involves having served active duty in the armed forces of the United States. Cadets that have served actively in the Reserves or the National Guard are also eligible to apply to police academies.
Both the college hours and the active military duty can be substituted with experience as a law enforcement officer, meaning a full-time paid employee performing a policeman’s duties and responsibilities. The acceptable law enforcement experiences includes holding a position in a government institution and hence, having a license as a Texas peace officer.
Candidates applying from other states must present an equivalent of the aforementioned license valid in their state of residence.
Pre-employment Physical Abilities
All applicants will need to undergo several physical tests in which they need to prove their endurance and agility capabilities. Despite the high scores attained in other areas of the examination, candidates that cannot pass the physical readiness testing will be rejected.
As a side note, applicants that pass the PRT will be re-evaluated at the beginning of the police academy school year.
The physical ability test includes the following:
- The total sum of correct push-ups done in 1 minute
- The total sum of correct sit-ups done in 1 minute
- The time needed to finish 1.5 mile run
Being Healthy and In Shape Matters When You Consider Joining the Police Training in Texas!
In addition to proving their excellent physical condition and great health, applicants will also need to undergo a medical examination to verify that they are healthy. The physical examination is free of charge and performed by a physician designated by the police department where the candidate applied.
Within the state of Texas, there are several standards regarding the vision of candidates; any color blindness or an uncorrectable visual acuity of 20/200 are disqualifiers.
If the candidate can correct his visual issues, then he must present within the application form a statement from a licensed ophthalmologist that he does not present ocular disease.
A Summary of the Application Process on Texas Law Enforcement Training
The first step to becoming a police officer in Texas involves submitting all the necessary forms to the police department the candidate is interested in.
These forms include a waiver for trooper trainee that must be notarized by a public notary or DPS employee, the personnel history statement, a certified copy of the birth certificate, the newest credit report and proof of 90 hours of college or its equivalent.
Once the documents have been received and approved, the candidate will be asked to schedule his physical demands tests and, if successful, his written test.
If the candidate manages to excel at both the physical and written test, the next steps are as follows:
- Passing the polygraph examination
- Background investigation (based on the information questionnaire previously filled)
- The candidates evaluation via an oral board interview
- Receiving a job offer
- Receiving an official letter of invitation to a Texas police academy.
For more information on how to Become a police officer in texas, please visit the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education website or call (512) 936-7700 for more details.
Click here to check out the various police officer jobs in Texas.