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Policeman: Career Profile

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a policeman. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, training and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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Police officers have the responsibility of civic security and well-being on their hands. Policemen do patrol work, direct traffic, arrest lawbreakers, and respond to dispatch. Passing the requisite exams and completing training at a police academy will typically suffice, although certain districts demand relevant college coursework.

Essential Information

Policemen enforce laws and protect people and their properties. All potential officers must have a minimum of a high school education, and many are college graduates. Police officers also attend police training academies and typically complete some on-the-job training.

Required Education High school education or equivalent; police academy training may be required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 4% for police and detectives
Median Salary (2015)* $58,320 for police and sheriff's patrol officers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Profile for Policemen

Job Description

Also called police officers or law enforcement officers, policemen maintain peace within a community. They respond to emergencies and monitor traffic. A policeman's job can be stressful and dangerous, and he or she may have law-enforcing authority even while off duty. In addition, officers must be aware of their legal responsibilities. Detailed record keeping and recollection is mandatory in case officers are called upon to appear in court.

Policemen investigate crimes, issue citations and write incident reports. They may also be called on to resolve disputes in a community, as well as pursue and apprehend criminals. Other duties may include maintaining police records and helping accident victims. They can work for local, state and federal agencies.

Education and Training Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police officers must have a minimum of a high school education and be 21 years of age in order to work in the field (www.bls.gov). All applicants must pass physical, mental, medical and written exams pertaining to the job. In order to be considered, applicants may not have any felony convictions.

Required education for law enforcement positions can include some college education in criminal justice or related subjects. Policemen who work for local and state department typically need to complete a 12-14 week police academy training program before they can start their first assignments. In addition to classroom education, police academy programs include skills training, such as how to use firearms.

Salary and Employment Information

The BLS reported that police and sheriff's patrol officers had a median yearly income of $58,320 in May 2015, with the highest-paid 10% earning $96,110 or more per year (www.bls.gov). From 2014 to 2024, the BLS stated that employment of police officers and detectives was expected to grow at a rate of 4%, which is a slower than average rate. Competition was expected for jobs at state and federal agencies, but local police departments were expected to have favorable hiring conditions for qualified applicants.

The ideal police officer should be cool, calm, and collected. Physical stamina, strength, and rational decision-making are also necessary. The job can be stressful as policemen work on a fluctuating schedule with long shifts.

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