Police Colleges: Schooling Requirements and Degree Program Options

Becoming a police officer requires specialized training programs at a police academy, which may be offered through community colleges, vocational schools and law enforcement organizations. Police officer training may be a standalone certificate program or part of an associate's or bachelor's degree program.

How to Select a Police College

Training at a police academy takes about three months without an additional degree program. An associate's degree with police academy training requires about two years of full-time study. Academy graduates are immediately qualified to start working as police officers, and may eligible for promotion after at least six months of employment.

Further considerations when searching for a school in this field:

  • Look for police institutes that are state-approved.
  • Check into a police school's job placement rate.
  • Consider schools that offer training as part of a 4-year program if wishing to advance.

Degree Program Options

Career goals often guide a student's choice of a police college toward institutes offering degree options that match a student's long-term goals. A police academy certificate qualifies an individual for general field work at the regional or state level. Working as a detective or for the FBI requires a bachelor's degree.


Police academy schooling is available to U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old and do not have a criminal history. Prospective students must also be in good physical shape and hold a high school diploma.

After admittance into police training school, individuals complete physical education and classroom courses in law, interrogation techniques and report writing. Practical application courses include firearms training, defensive tactics, CPR and first aid.

10 Schools with Programs for Police

College/University Institution Type
Arizona State University 4-year, Public
Miami Dade College 4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Houston Community College 2-year, Public
Michigan State University 4-year, Public
University of South Florida - Main Campus 4-year, Public
Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus 4-year, Public
Northern Virginia Community College 2-year, Public
Lone Star College System 4-year, Public
College of Southern Nevada 4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Tarrant County College District 2-year, Public

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