Adam Quirk | Steps to Becoming a Police Officer
If you’ve ever dreamed of working in law enforcement as a police officer, Adam Quirk, FBI special agent and founder of Stealth Advise, LLC, suggests that you stay in school. Education is still an important factor that could get your foot in the door. And just like with any other job, you will have to start at the bottom and slowly make your way up.
Adam Quirk shares below the four basic steps to starting your career as a police officer. These are just the basic steps; to rise from the ranks, you will have to put in the work. Here are what you need to do to help get you started:
1. Get the right education
Some state police departments only require a high school diploma from applicants, while others require finishing only two years of college education. Federal law enforcement agencies generally require a bachelor’s degree. As you can see, the education requirement depends on where you will be applying, says Adam Quirk, FBI. If you’re determined to become a police officer, it would be to your advantage to get a bachelor’s degree for more options. Consider a degree in criminal justice or criminology, suggests Adam.
2. Complete your training at a police academy
When you become an official recruit, you will need to undergo mandatory training at the police academy in the state you applied. The program and hours that you need to complete will differ from state to state. In general, you will have to complete 800 hours of training before you can get your certification and graduate. You may also be required to take one test per week while training is ongoing and you need to get the required passing score with each test, reminds Adam Quirk. Again, the passing score will depend on which state you’re applying to become a police officer.
3. Complete the mandatory Field Training Officer Program
Once you’ve graduated from the police academy, you will then be trained on the field. This is where you will need to apply all the lessons you learned at the academy. The Field Training Officer (FTO) program can take anywhere from eight to 12 weeks, says Adam Quirk, FBI. If you think that the written tests at the academy are difficult, they are nothing compared to being tested and evaluated on the field. You may even feel like giving up on some days, but you’ve got to hang in there if you really want the job, encourages Adam Quirk.
4. Police Officer: The first year
After you have completed all the required training, you officially become a police officer. Your first year on the job will probably be the most challenging in your career because this is the time when you will need to prove what you’re made of to the higher-ups, says Adam Quirk, FBI. There will often be situations where you will need to make a quick decision and whatever the result, you have to know that you alone will be held accountable.
As difficult as it looks now, Adam Quirk hopes that you stick it out if it is really your dream.