“Hero” is a term that is commonly used to describe those in law enforcement. It is a title earned by those who risk their lives to help protect and serve their communities. Becoming a police officer will not only launch you into a noble and important career, but also a fast-growing one. Between 2020 and 2030, police officer jobs are expected to grow by an impressive seven percent. Those looking to work in Connecticut may have an even greater desire to pursue law enforcement because of the high salary potential. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean wage of Connecticut police officers is over $75,500 annually.
Clearly, this field is rewarding professionally and personally—police officers can make a difference in others’ lives, while also earning a competitive salary with great benefits. You may be wondering, what is the process to become a police officer? Learn how to become a police officer and start making an impact in the state of Connecticut.
Step 1: Decide if the Career is Right for You.
Do you consider yourself brave, honest, and physically fit? Before beginning your journey to become a police officer, the first step is determining whether you possess the necessary police officer qualities. The work of a police officer is not for everyone. Those that are most suited for this career possess the following qualities:
- Physical fitness
- Devotion to community
- Problem-solving skills
- Critical thinking
- Strong moral character
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
Step 2: Earn Required Education.
Education is a crucial component of the journey to becoming a police officer. The minimum education requirement of a police officer is to earn your high school diploma or GED. However, every department has its own specific requirements and preferences when it comes to education. Many departments now prefer applicants with higher levels of postsecondary education. Higher education will not only make you stand out among the applicants, but in some agencies, it can also help you qualify for better pay and promotion opportunities. Attending a criminal justice school will help you gain the necessary knowledge while also providing you with an advantage in this competitive field. At Goodwin University, the criminal justice professors include law enforcement professionals who can provide you with the relevant information to succeed. Classes are offered days and evenings in a 15-week format. Earning your education has never been easier with flexibility and an exciting curriculum.
Step 3: Meet the Police Officer Requirements.
Every police department has its own set of applicant requirements. The specific requirements may vary depending on each state, however, many of police officer requirements are universal. If you are striving to become a police officer, specifically in the state of Connecticut you will adhere to standards of the Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council. In Connecticut, the standards for local police officers include:
- Be a US Citizen
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be 21 years of age
- Pass a written entry test
- Have no felony convictions, nor have been convicted of any class A or B misdemeanors
- Pass a background check
- Have a valid driver’s license
The POST standards are simply the minimum standards every Connecticut police applicant must meet. Some agencies will have stricter standards depending on their requirements. The standards for becoming a Connecticut State police officer differ slightly and include:
- Be a Connecticut resident
- Have a valid Connecticut driver’s license before graduating from the training academy
- Be at least 20 years of age at the time of application
- Have normal hearing and color vision and meet all vision standards
- Pass the physical exam, psychological test, and physical agility test
- Have normal hearing, color vision and depth perception, and 20/30 vision (with or without corrective lenses)
- Have no tattoos or body modifications, such as piercings, that are visible while in uniform
Applicants must also go through a series of required examinations. These include:
- Written test
- Oral interview
- Background investigation
- Drug test
- Polygraph exam
- Psychological evaluation
- Medical exam
- Physical aptitude testing
Passing these examinations and meeting these standards is required to enter a police academy.
Step 4: Attend training.
If you have reached the step of attending a police academy, congratulations are in order. Being hired by a police department is a requirement for starting a police academy in Connecticut. The Connecticut police academy consists of 818 hours of basic training at a POST Council-approved training academy. During the academy, you will focus on topics including:
- State, local, and constitutional laws
- Crisis intervention
- Patrol procedures
- Human relations
- Criminal investigations
- Crime scene processing
- Police ethics
Every police academy training covers a wide range of police skills including, defensive tactics, firearm use, first-aid, emergency response, traffic control, and other patrol duties. The length of basic training varies for each state, yet the average police academy length is 21 weeks. The goal of every police academy is to prepare you for this strenuous career. A postsecondary law enforcement or criminal justice degree program can prepare you for this training component, and help you stand out amongst other aspiring officers.
Getting Started as a Connecticut Police Officer
It is clear that becoming a police officer is no easy feat. However, this rewarding career is worth the investment of both your time and effort. The Chief of the Fairfield Police Department stated, “Law Enforcement agencies are becoming ever increasingly competitive.” This is a job in high demand.
Properly equipping yourself is the number one way you can stand out in this competitive job market. You can start preparing yourself for this career by pursuing a criminal justice or law enforcement education at Goodwin University. Now is the time to become a police officer and become a hero to your community.
If you are ready to start your journey towards a Criminal Justice degree, reach out to Goodwin University today! For more information call 1-800-889-3282 or visit us online.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.