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What are the educational/other requirements for these three types of law enforcement?

by tom44 on March 7, 2013

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Question by /M\i/K\E: What are the educational/other requirements for these three types of law enforcement?
Sheriff,PD (cities; San Diego as an example), and California Highway Patrol (CHP)

I know CHP is the hardest but what are the requirements I have a high school diploma and am 19. Dad was a cop.

Best answer:

Answer by drdr
To become a police officer, the standard requirement for most major police agencies seems to be a minimum of 60 undergraduate hours (from a regionally accredited college), although some allow substitution of military service, and a Bachelor’s degree may be preferred (generally required for federal special agent positions). Some agencies (and federal agencies) have a military hiring preference, and being an officer counts more than being an enlisted person. Some agencies have age limits, for federal jobs it is 21 minimum and 37 maximum. Any major is acceptable, but Criminal Justice, Forensics, Computer Science, Sociology, or Psychology may stand you in better stead. Foreign language ability, particularly Spanish, is advantageous. Smaller agencies may have a high school requirement. And GPA may be more important than major. The agency normally provides training, but some states may have private academies (like TX). There are more applicants than there are positions. Those meeting the minimum requirements may not compare well to the best qualified applicants. Many agencies have increased pay levels for higher education, and higher education facilitates promotion.

A Bachelor’s degree is required for federal special agent positions (very few exceptions). As stated above, any major is acceptable. I attended an agency-sponsored Masters program for an MS in management. GPA, work experience, ability to communicate orally and in writing, and graduate degrees are what determine who gets hired for federal positions. And, there are always more applicants than positions. Those meeting the minimum requirements may not compare well to the best qualified applicants. Military service may provide hiring preference, service as an officer is preferred over enlisted service.

The FBI likes lawyers and accountants, but they hire from various backgrounds ( Other federal agency job announcements should be available at; acceptance of applications is cyclical. NCIS’s website: (oversold due to TV).

You must have no felony arrests, and many misdemeanor arrests are also disqualifying, as may be bad credit. And, a domestic violence conviction will be disqualifying. Any prior drug use of any sort may be disqualifying, although exceptions are possible in some agencies. There may be a written exam, medical exam, polygraph test, physical fitness test, drug test, minimum eyesight requirements, psychological evaluation, oral board examination, and full background check. As I said, there are always more applicants than there are positions, so it may take many application submissions to get an acceptable job (at least it did for me). Contact the agency directly or look for their website, which will list their employment qualifications and requirements.

Former crim justice adj professor, retired federal spec agent (NCIS [when it was NIS], Customs, & finally Homeland Sec [ICE]), former tactical team member and firearms instructor, sat on hiring panels for NIS and Customs, formerly USMC Military Police officer & enlisted (to include CID), TX peace officer certification (inactive), TX licensed PI, representative of Project ALERT, a program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

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