California offers some impressive career opportunities to individuals working in law enforcement. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that California was the highest paying state for this profession in 2019. Read this guide to learn how to become a police officer in California.

Should I Become a Police Officer in California?

If you are passionate about fighting crime, then a career as a police officer would suit you.
The education and training requirements for Police and Detectives are mentioned below:

  • Education Required
  • Training
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Key Skills/Qualities
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-National
  • Job Outlook (2018-28)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-California
  • College degree/high school diploma.
  • Individuals have to complete a course atthe training academy.
  • Not mentioned.
  • Physical Strength, Physical Stamina, Leadership Skills, and Empathy.
  • $67,600 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)
  • 5%
  • $105,220 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

The field of law enforcement is predicted to grow significantly between 2018 and 2028. The job opportunities for Police and Detectives will growby 5% during this period, as per data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Steps to Become a Police Officer in California

The steps involved in becoming a police officer in California are listed below:

Obtain Relevant Education

After obtaining a high school degree, you can pursue a 2-year long Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice or a 4-year long Bachelor of Arts or Science in Criminology. The curriculum of these programs covers a variety of modules such as Juvenile Justice, Criminal Investigations, Criminal Law, Corrections, and Law & Ethics.

Get in Touch with Your Local Police Departments

After meeting the educational requirements, you ought to get in touch with a local police department and check with them if they are accepting applications for entry-level police officers. You can also ask them about the basic requirements and qualifications for that position.

Fill in the Application

If the application cycle is open and you are qualified for the position, then you should complete an application form. You will have to visit the department’s website in order to download the form. If the department that you want to apply to does not have a website, you might have to mail them the application packet.

Clear the Screening Process

You will have to pass a background check in order to get shortlisted. The department will contact your family members, colleagues, supervisors, and employers, and check whether the information you have provided is correct. You can inform your references beforehand that they might be contacted by the department for reference verification.

Pass theWritten and Reading Exam and Appear for an Interview

If you pass the screening stage, you will have to appear for a reading and writing exam. Moreover, you will also have to appear for an oral interview, the purpose of which is to gauge yourinterpersonal and problem-solving skills.

Pass More Exams

The next stage involves passing the psychological and medical exams. These tests are taken to see if the candidate has any impairment that could interfere with his/her job performance.

Pass the POST Basic Training Course

After passing the above exams, you will have to enroll in the POST regular basic training. Once this course has been completed, you will be hired as a police officer.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Police Officer in California?

First of all, applicants have to complete a high school diploma. They can also earn a 2-year long Associate’s degree or a 4-year long Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice to learn more about the profession.
Then, they have to apply for the Police Officer position and have to pass the screening stage. They also have to clear a written and reading exam, an oral interview, a psychological exam, and a medical exam. After clearing these stages, the candidates can attend the POST Basic Training Course, which trains them to become Police Officers. Thus, this process is quite long.

This section lists the minimum selection standards set by the State of California.

The candidate should:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be at least 18 years of old;
  • Have a good moral character;
  • Have a high school/GED certificate, or should have obtained a 2-year or a 4-year degree from an accredited educational institution;
  • Not have any felony convictions;
  • Be mentally, emotionally and physically fit.

How Much Do Police Officers Earn in California?

Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers working in California earned a yearly mean wage of $105,220 in 2019.