Should I Become a Military Police Officer?
Military police officers are members of the U.S. Armed Forces whose main duties include law enforcement, security, crime investigation, and safety. Each branch of the U.S. military has military police officers assigned to bases, ships, and aircraft. Military police officers run risks common to serving in both the military and law enforcement, and entering the field requires military training and a commitment to military service, as well as excellent physical fitness, mental preparedness, and response time. And, those who serve are rewarded with the knowledge that they are helping protect their country.
Rank and years of service determine pay for all military personnel, and base pay is the same for all branches of the military. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, monthly base pay for military police officers ranges from $2,972 to $16,072. But keep in mind that this doesn't include housing and food, special pay, medical, and vacation time, which is added on top of the base pay.
Now let's walk through the steps you can take to become a military police officer.
Step 1: Review Options With a Recruiter
If you want to become military police officer, you may want to discuss their options with a recruiters from each branch of the service. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard recruiters will be able to outline branch-specific enlistment requirements and options. They'll also be able to tell you if their respective branches of service have military police openings and what the qualifications are for these jobs. Recruiters can also answer questions about military life, pay, and veterans' benefits. Keep in mind that prospective military recruits may be asked to take a placement examination to determine the military occupations for which they are best suited.
Step 2: Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
The military requires recruits to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This is a placement test that determines a recruit's suitability for an occupation. Acceptance into a particular military occupation is determined by this Aptitude Battery, personal preferences, and needs of the service and the test scores are used to determine which training program the recruit should be placed in.
It may be best to sit for this aptitude test before making a military commitment. After all, it could place you in a branch of the service that you find undesirable. This test is offered at high schools to allow students to explore military service.
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Step 3: Complete Basic Training
In all branches of service, newly enlisted personnel report for duty for initial basic training. Also known as boot camp, this highly structured rigorous program may last from 8-13 weeks, depending on the branch of service. Enlistees are introduced to military life. They learn military vocabulary, protocol, and procedures. New recruits are assigned to units that allow for team building and cohesiveness, and physical training helps build strength and stamina in new recruits.
Step 4: Seek a Military Police Position
Upon graduation from basic military training, new recruits are next sent to receive their military occupational training. These programs are taught at technical schools and may last 10-20 weeks, or sometimes longer, depending on the occupation. In the U.S. Marine Corps, prospective military police officers attend the Military Police Basic Officers Course. This 9-week program teaches officers all facets of law enforcement. In the Air Force, individuals attend the 65-day Security Forces Specialist technical training program. Upon program completion, new military police officers report to their duty stations to begin fulfilling their commitment of service.
Step 5: Pursue Continuing Education
Military police officers who want to improve their career opportunities may want to pursue an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related major. Technical military training programs may count as college credits toward an associate's degree. Individuals whose term of commitment has been completed may seek jobs as police and corrections officers, as private investigators, or in other law enforcement positions.
To become a military police officer, you must complete the Armed Services Vocation Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), basic training, and occupational training.