Let’s start this discussion by firstly acknowledging that the strictness level of the police academy requirements for enrolling in these learning programs has been gradually reduced over the last few years.

The constant need for personnel in the various law enforcement fields allows candidates with less impressive physical and intellectual standards to take a stab, so to speak.

In certain situations, even candidates who had been using drugs in the past are allowed to join the training. The motivation behind the lower police academy requirements comes from the unstable geo-political climate and the overwhelming number of terrorist attacks.

However, a few guidelines are still in place, as readers are about to find out.

Police Academy Requirements Regarding Age

Initially, candidates for the police academy were required to be at least 21 years of age before enrolling. The age police academy requirements were related to education, as the common candidate would have graduated from high-school at the age of 18, which gave him an extra two or three years to complete an associate’s degree as well.

However, the age at which most police academies allow recruits to join has been downgraded twice in recent times; first to 20 and then to 18.

It is worth noting that while certain learning institutions will only require the high school diploma or GED, others will still select only candidates with an associate’s degree.

Furthermore, highly acclaimed academies favor students who have completed the bachelor’s degree. In essence, although the age may not constitute an issue for enrollment, the level of education will.

Police Academy Requirements Regarding Citizenship

The US citizenship is probably one of the most critical issues and it is valid across the board, regardless of the police academy of choice.

The applicant will be required to provide proof that he or she is an American citizen, but that is not all; there are situations in which a police agency will demand that the potential recruit resides in the same city and graduates from the local police academy.

Basically, these issues arise from the affiliations between the law enforcement agency and the local police academy.

Police Academy Requirements Regarding the Driver’s License

The potential recruit will not only need to present a driver’s license or proof of its possession, but the license will need to be valid within the limits of the state in which the police academy is located.

Given that the courses will also include knowledge regarding various driving styles, such as, defensive driving, high-speed chases and so on, recruits are required to familiarize themselves with the basic legislation regarding the means of handling an automobile and integrating it in the state’s legislation.

Police Academy Requirements Regarding Whether Candidates Meet Medical and Psychological Criteria

These verifications are rather intense and will aim to test the visual and hearing acuity of the candidates, the ability to pass fitness tests and whether or not he is responsible enough to represent the law enforcement agency.

For these purposes, a battery of tests will be administered and, according to the state legislation, the candidates will be required to attain at least the minimal accepted score.

Visual acuity, for instance, is measured both on uncorrected and corrected sight, meaning with or without glasses or contact lens.

Police Academy Requirements Regarding the Past Records of the Candidate

Although, as mentioned at the start of this article, a selection commission in need of fresh blood may overlook some minor felonies such as substance abuse in the distant past, others will not.

The search is extensive and B-grade criminal offenses will disqualify candidates right from the start.

A Quick Recap on the Requirements

As a quick summary, to join the police academy, candidates will need to:

  • Be of the legal age and possess the required education
  • Be US citizens
  • Have a driver’s license
  • Meet the psychological and medical criteria
  • Not have a criminal record

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Police Academy Requirements in Your State