Becoming a police officer in Texas takes more than pinning on a badge. With a variety of classroom and field training at public school, possibly postsecondary school and a police academy, you'll be well prepared for a career in law enforcement.
Several Texas colleges and police academies offer peace officer training programs that cover topics in penal codes, firearms training and first aid. These officers must earn a license rather than certification. Officer candidates must complete one of these programs before they are eligible to take the state licensing examination for peace officers. A minimum of a high school diploma is required to qualify for training.
|Required Education||High school diploma at minimum|
|Other Requirements||Completion of a training program that is approved by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE)|
|Exam Requirements||Physical fitness tests|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||5% (for all police & sheriff's patrol officers)|
|Mean Annual Salary (May 2018)*||$61,870 (for police & sheriff's patrol officers in Texas)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Overview of Certification Programs for Texas Peace Officers
Aspiring Texas peace officers must complete training programs approved by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE). Training may be offered by a government agency, police academy, community college or university extension service as a certificate program or series of courses.
TCLEOSE requires peace officers to complete 618 hours of training, although some academies and agencies provide longer instructional schedules. Coursework can often be completed in six months of full-time instruction or ten months of part-time instruction.
To enroll in a Texas peace officer training program, applicants will need a high school diploma or GED. Candidates with two or more years of military experience and an honorable discharge can also enroll. They must pass a physical and psychological examination, drug screening and criminal background check as well.
A potential Texas peace officer must also be a U.S. citizen who is legally able to operate a motor vehicle and possess a firearm. Additionally, some agencies and academies require applicants to submit a personal statement and pass an entrance exam on grammar, reading and mathematics.
Training programs provide aspiring peace officers with academic and hands-on instruction. Course topics range from penal codes, field sobriety tests and first aid to firearms training, report writing and tactical driving.
Peace officer candidates also undergo physical conditioning so they can pass physical fitness tests required for graduation. Students are expected to complete such tasks as pushups, sit-ups, sprints and a 1.5 mile run in an allotted time period.
State Licensing Examination
After completing a training program, peace officers must pass the state licensing examination. This written assessment includes questions based on Texas' criminal procedure codes, health and safety codes, transportation codes and penal codes. The test can be taken at police academies, police departments, colleges and universities across the state. To sit for the exam, peace officers must first be granted endorsements by their training program coordinators or registrars.
Career Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and sheriff's patrol officers were projected to see a five percent increase in jobs for all states in 2018-2028. The mean annual wages for police patrol officers working in Texas were $61,870 in May 2018.
You'll need a minimum of a high school diploma to qualify for training as a police officer in Texas. Some jurisdictions and levels require college education. At any rate, you'll also have to complete a police academy course, which can also change between jurisdictions, and sit for a state licensing exam before you can work as a police officer.