Police Officer Requirements: The First Step
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U.S. Citizenship/Valid Driver's License

Being a U.S. citizen is required to become a police officer in all 50 states. You must also have a valid driver's license.


Applicants must be a U.S. resident. When applying, you do not have to live within the department's jurisdiction. You will need to look into specific departments in order to find out their residency requirement. However, keep in mind, when appointed to a specific department you may have to live within a certain mileage of that department.


Each state has its own age requirement. The average age range is 18-35 years old. If the age requirement is 19 years old, some will allow you to be 18 years and 6 months old when applying so that you will be 19 years old when are sworn in.


A majority of states require you to have at least a high school diploma or some equivalent certification (such as a G.E.D). Some may require: some college credits, but not a degree; a 2-year college degree; or a 4-year college degree.


Applicants must have 20/20 vision uncorrected, or 20/20 vision corrected by glasses or contact lenses or better. Some may require that you do not have color blindness.

Criminal Record

All departments conduct a criminal records check. Most police departments will not hire people that have been convicted of a felony.

Meet all the police officer requirements and ready to take the next step? Find out about the police hiring process.

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