How Long Does It Take To Become A Cop?

Police officers defend people and property as a service to their communities.

Depending on the position and employer, duties may vary, but law enforcement officers often answer both emergency and non-emergency calls while maintaining thorough event logs. 

Other common tasks include gathering evidence for prosecution and arresting individuals, as well as giving testimony in court.

There are many police officer positions available, such as detective and criminal investigator, fish and wildlife warden, transport and railroad police officer, and more. 

Continue reading to find out more about the responsibilities of law enforcement, how long it takes to become a police officer, police officer training, financial rewards, and career prospects. 

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What is Cop School Like? 

In addition to other subjects, police academies instruct cadets in the use of force, negotiation in stressful situations, de-escalation techniques, and other techniques needed to carry out their tasks correctly and successfully. 

A police academy often has classrooms, driving simulators, shooting ranges, jogging tracks, gyms, and recreational areas, while some may also have dorms, cafeterias, training simulators, police museums, and businesses connected to the police, including eateries and shops.

Police academies are not only used by police cadets; sworn officers, other law enforcement agencies, special units like SWAT, and occasionally even civilians and other non-law enforcement personnel may also regularly use them. 

For instance, the Los Angeles Police Academy’s range was used for the 1932 Summer Olympics. 

Although the prerequisites for joining a police force and enrolling in a police academy differ by jurisdiction, they often include background checks, examinations, for physical, mental, and medical issues, and criminal history checks. 

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Is Attending a Cop School Worth It? 

A particular degree of college education, such as an associate’s or a bachelor’s, is required by many departments. 

Frequently, some time spent serving in the military can be used to replace all or a portion of the college requirement.

In order to stand out among the hundreds or thousands of other job applicants, especially if you lack military experience, having a bachelor’s degree is a huge benefit.

It is probably to your advantage to take the “bird in the hand” and launch your career if you are presented with a work chance before completing your degree. 

The earlier you enter the law enforcement field, the younger you will be when you start to qualify for specialist assignments, gain sufficient experience to choose the shift you like, be promoted, and even retire. Many of those things. 

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What Schooling Do You Need to Be a Cop? 

Most organizations demand that officials have a GED or high school diploma as a minimum. 

A bachelor’s degree or a certain number of college credits are prerequisite for several organizations. 

Others give raises based on academic achievement. No matter what, continuing your education after high school can only benefit your job in law enforcement. 

When looking for a promotion or specialized assignment, having a four-year degree or an advanced degree is beneficial to your career development. 

While a job in law enforcement often requires a degree in criminal justice, there are many other professions that can give you a solid foundation. 

Others that are especially well suited for police work include sociology, psychology, and social work. 

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How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Cop in 2023? 

Having the distinction of being one of the world’s most thoroughly vetted employees comes with being a police officer. 

Even though the work itself is challenging, the entire application and hiring process is challenging. 

To handle the task, you must mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare yourself.

You will endure many types of stress while serving as a police officer. 

Therefore, the six years of training have strengthened them so they can overcome any challenge. 

There are many stages to the qualification procedure.

The education itself will take around four years, the application and recruiting processes will each take about three to four months, the police academy training will take about six months, and the probation period will last between six and a year.

After completing everything, you will start working as a police officer full-time. 

The location you apply to, your performance at each stage, and how seriously you take the entire process will all affect how long it takes.

A police officer must have four years of professional experience.

Although it does not consider the time spent in formal education, that is how long it takes to learn specific police officer skills. 

It takes 7 to 9 years to become a police officer if you factor in the typical academic requirements to get a college degree.

To succeed as a police officer, you need to have a specific set of skills. 

We give a real-world example of how each skill was used on a resume. The following is a list of some of the most popular skills: 

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Police Department –

completed the academy program at the Pentagon Police Department, which emphasized sophisticated defensive tactics, rigorous physical training, and classroom education. 

Federal Laws –

execute arrest orders, conduct surveillance operations, and conduct investigations into people who break criminal, civil, and federal laws.

Public Safety–

Two District Commendations were obtained for their efforts in lowering armed robberies and enhancing public safety programs in high-crime target areas within the relevant jurisdiction.

Law Enforcement

carried out police work in the Tactical Unit, including traffic enforcement, fingerprinting, investigations, narcotics trafficking, and specialized enforcement.


Prepare a variety of standard reports on incidents linked to airport operations, including accidents, suspicious activities, emergency situations, and atypical occurrences.

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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Cop in 2023? 

The National Police Foundation estimates that the real cost of preparing an officer for the job is at least $100,000 in supervised on-the-job training and 18 months of probationary service, although the average cost of police academy training is $6,500. 

Before an officer is deemed adequately trained, it may take two or three years in larger cities. The overall price has been estimated as high as $240,000.

Salary and Job Outlook for Cop after Study 

A police officer makes $51,273 on average per year. The annual salary ranges from $14,000 to $110,000. According to an officer’s rank, experience level, job duties, and geographic location, salaries may vary.

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Who is a Cop? 

Someone who enforces the laws in their community. Police officers look into and respond to reports of crime.

Police personnel patrol neighborhoods on foot, in vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles. People who are acting abnormally or committing crimes may be stopped and questioned.

Since police officers must put an end to crimes as they happen and confront and hold individuals who may be armed, law enforcement may be a dangerous line of work.


Some people who go through all of these stages may end up becoming police officers, while some people may not even acquire the job or make it through the academy or tests. 

So, be careful to take whatever you do seriously; becoming a police officer needs a lot of willpower.

You may always ask someone who currently holds the position for advice if you want to learn more about all of this. 

There are many additional resources that can educate you on the field, the various phases, and the top police academies in your area. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long does it take to be an officer?

Although police academy schools only last for roughly six months, most of them demand at least an associate degree to be accepted.
All things considered, being a police officer takes roughly 2-4 years.

Is becoming a cop hard?

Yes, being a police officer is challenging.
Although the road to becoming a police officer is rather clear, it is a difficult profession to choose and demands a lot of commitment, endurance, and time to succeed in a field that is very competitive.

What qualifications do I need to be a police officer?

You must complete high school or obtain a GED, obtain a bachelor’s degree (optional), and pass the police academy in order to become a police officer. Every state or city may have different specifications.

What does it take to be a cop in Colorado?

By the time of hiring, you must be at least 21 years old. There is no upper age limit. You must not have a criminal conviction on your record. You must not have a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction on your record.

What disqualifies you from being a police officer?

any indictable offenses in which you took part. These crimes—which include murder, sexual assault, and acts of terrorism—are among the most serious ones. You’ve been convicted of a crime that hasn’t been expunged.



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