How to Know if You'll Make a Good Police Officer

Becoming a police officer means you'll be taking on the most noble of jobs. Police officers are highly respected members of any community who risk their life daily in order to protect citizens. For this reason, becoming a police officer can be risky although very exciting. No two days are ever the same for a police officer out in the field.

In addition, there are many levels and departments that a police officer can work towards. The majority of police officers will progress through the ranks throughout their career, resulting in greater responsibility and a higher salary.

Becoming a police officer involves undergoing a series of tests, exams and study. Budding police officers can prepare by revising English lessons from school. It is advisable to have good writing skills as essays will need to be written. You should also build your physical fitness in order to be able to withstand the demands of police training. Some budding police officers even join the military for several years.

Police recruitment involves a thorough background check so you should have a clean history. You also will need to take the written civil service exam which you can get from your local police department.

A physical exam will need to be undertaken and passed. This test will generally involve aspects of agility, strength and endurance. A vision and hearing medical test will also be required. All of these tests ensure that you are fit and healthy enough to endure the rigors of being a police officer.

Many departments now also require a lie detector test to be taken. A drug test is also performed. Your drug test will need to be totally clear. Random drug tests are also performed throughout the career of a police officer.

The final step to becoming a police officer is an interview with a senior officer. Some offices require a personality test to be taken at this time too. During your interview, you should display a firm, confident personality as police generally do not hire timid, unsure people.

Some personal skills required of a police officer are:
  • Team player

  • Confident

  • Well spoken

  • Well educated

  • Good communication

  • Respect for all races and types of people

  • Sensitivity in difficult situations

  • Can emotionally detach from personal situations

  • These personal skills will ensure you have a long career; one that is filled with many achievements.

    Salary for Police Officers

    Police officers are not considered the highest paid workers in the country, yet they risk their lives everyday to serve people and protect their territory. However, police officers do have a decent average salary compared with many corporate jobs, with $43,000 being the average. A campus police officer can expect to receive $40,000 per year. Of course all police officers who are newly recruited will earn less in the initial stages but are assured of regular pay rises as their rank increases.

    The highest paid police officer is usually the Lateral Police Officer with an average salary of $63,000 per year. A new police cadet on average earns only $25,000. A police academy cadet can expect an average of $51,000 as can an Airport Police Officer.

    Other salaries for various jobs in the police force include:

    Police Recruit: $48,000 Police Officer: $46,000 Police Officer Lateral: $61,000 Police Officer And Dispatcher; $56,000 Supervisory Police Officer: $53,000 Lead Police Officer: $44,000 Supervisor Police Officer: $57,000 Police Cadet:$25,000

    Newly recruited police officers receive full pay and benefits from day one of their employment. This is at the police cadet average salary of $25,000. After 6 months of training in the Police Academy the salary jumps to around $32,000 and every year it increases.

    Once a police officer has been active in the force for 5.5 years their salary has usually increased to around $60,000. Other allowances are also added onto the base salary including holiday pay and uniform allowance.

    There are many options for career advancement when you are a police officer. The NYPD conducts promotional exams every two years for police officers. Once the exams are passed, officers can move on to the Lieutenant rank which pays as much as $100,000 per year. This can be a significantly fast advancement compared with other fields of work.

    After 20 years of police service an officer is entitled to retirement benefits of around $46,000 per year. An officer will also receive medical benefits, deferred compensation plans and an annuity fund. The retirement benefits will depend largely upon the rank of the police officer.

    Being a police officer is a highly rewarding career as you are not just serving yourself, but your entire community. As you can see, there is plenty of room for advancement within this field and it is considered a very secure line of work.

    Jennifer Charleston is a writer for, a site created as a complete resource for gaining information on your next exam. covers college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT tests, professional exams like the NCLEX, and continuing education exams like the GED test. Read free, online articles and download detailed checklists that will help ensure youre prepared for your next exam. Without a doubt, is your test prep source.

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