Police officers have noble careers. They are the source of safety for the general public. With the touch of a button, you can get the assistance you so desperately need. Whether you have been in a car accident or fear someone is breaking into your home, the people you need to protect and serve are your local and state police. So, you think you have what it takes to fill this role?
You might be a big fan of police work. Maybe you watch all of the top investigation series on TV. You might even have family members who are on the force, so you feel that this role is “in your blood.” But it’s not enough to want to become a cop. You must develop the qualities of a great police officer and meet the demands of the job. Just what are these must-have police officer qualifications? Check out this guide as we break down what it takes to land an exciting career as a police officer today.
Police Officer Qualities and Skillsets
Police officers work in a mentally, physically, and emotionally-demanding field. Some of the most important qualities that a police officer must possess include:
- Physical fitness
- Critical thinking
- Problem-solving skills
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Strong moral character
- Devotion to community
Are You Qualified to Become a Police Officer?
Every state in the U.S. has its own set of requirements for those aspiring to become police officers. This is to ensure the right people are on the job, and devoted to their job. Remember – this is an important field where, often, it’s literally a matter of life or death. The State of Connecticut requires applicants meet the following for local police officer roles:
- Be a US citizen
- Be 21+ years of age
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Pass a background check
- Have no felony convictions, nor have been convicted of any class A or B misdemeanors
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Pass a written entry test
These requirements are set by the state’s Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council. While the above is a list of minimum requirements for the state, individual law enforcement agencies can set their own, stricter requirements, as well. More agencies and departments, for example, are starting to seek higher levels of postsecondary education among their applicants.
Currently, in order to be accepted into the police academy, candidates must pass a written test and an in-person interview. The next steps include background and drug tests, and you may also be subject to a polygraph exam as well as a psychological evaluation. If you are interested in joining the Connecticut State Police, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- 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
Becoming a cop in Connecticut is a competitive feat. It’s easy to see why. Officers start with a $63,622 annual salary with excellent benefits. More and more applicants will be seeking out that postsecondary education that employers are seeking, too. A criminal justice school like Goodwin College can help prepare you for your role on the force. Not only will an associate degree equip you with the police officer qualities and skills needed to succeed, it will also help you achieve your career goals on a timeline that works for you. Classes are offered days and nights, in a standard 15-week format. That way, you can complete your law enforcement degree while continuing to work and fulfill other personal obligations.
In addition to a police officer career, the Criminal Justice degree at Goodwin can also help students prepare for other, related careers in areas such as:
- Customs and Border Protection
- Drug Enforcement Agency
- Federal Bureau of Prisons
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Private and Personal Security Agencies
- Transportation Security Administration
Anyone can have the desire to become a police officer, but few can actually fill this role. If you have the drive, determination, and passion to protecting and serving your community, you may be ready to pursue a criminal justice or law enforcement education to help you reach your dreams. The only question now is: Do you have what it takes?
If you’re interested in learning more about the Criminal Justice programs at Goodwin College, call 1-800-889-3282 today.
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.