How do I get the Best Police Officer Education?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 13 January 2019
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Getting the best police officer education depends largely on the individual, and what a particular jurisdiction may require. Getting a two or four-year degree in criminal justice is a step that many take. Spending time in the military, especially with the military police, is another way to go. However, many jurisdictions only require passage of a state-sponsored police academy.

The academy will provide a good basic understanding of police work, and usually fulfills the minimum requirements. In the academy, new recruits and hopefuls will learn basic investigative, surveillance, and arrest techniques, as well as get a brief overview of the state's criminal law. The academy will also include weapons training, and possibly driver's education training as it relates to police work.

Choosing a good academy for police officer education is usually not too difficult. The important thing is to choose an academy within the state, in which you wish to serve. Those who do not, may find their academy certificate is not valid in another state. Those who do wish to serve in other states should research, and verify if those states have any sort of reciprocal agreement for police officer education. This likely will not completely replace training for police officers in a different state, but may reduce some of the basic requirements.


Many prospective officers, before attending a law enforcement academy, may decide to get a two or four-year degree, in hopes of gaining an edge over other academy graduates. Those with a police officer education that includes a college degree could advance more quickly than those without, but there is no guarantee. In most cases, job performance will be the key determining factor, not a degree.

Serving in the military police offers another avenue for gaining experience, especially for those who also want a college degree. Some law enforcement academies may offer a contracted schedule for those with military police experience, since many of the main focuses of the academy, such as arrest techniques and weapons training, have already been completed. Therefore, the program at the academy can focus more on the details of state law and particular requirements.

In the end, the type of police officer education an individual receives depends on how much he or she want a college degree, or how quickly they want to start serving as an officer. There is no one correct path to receiving the best police officer education. Those who wish to serve in such a capacity should look at all the options, and choose the one that fits their life circumstances.



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Post 1

I have been a police officer for four years now. I attained a degree in Criminal Justice and went through the academy, as well. However, the best training I got was on-the-job experience. Before I was assigned to my own patrol, I rode with a partner. During that time, I learned more than I ever did at the academy.

Don’t get me wrong. The academy definitely gets you ready for police work but actually getting out there with a partner shows you what it’s really like.

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