Florida’s police personnel work tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of its residents. They perform various duties including investigation of crimes and crime scenes, traffic management, apprehending criminals, patrolling neighborhoods and monitoring suspects, etc.

As of 2019, the Sunshine State had more than 39,000 active Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). This number is set to increase in the coming years. So, becoming a police officer is worth considering for Floridians who are passionate about law enforcement. This guide has all the details.

Should I Become a Police Officer in Florida?

  • Education
  • Area of Study/Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-National
  • Job Outlook (2018-28)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-Florida
  • High School Diploma or GED (General Educational Development) Certificate.
  • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, etc.
  • N/A
  • Required
  • Monitoring and Surveillance, Inductive and Deductive Reasoning, Problem Sensitivity, Communication and Coordination, Resource Management
  • $67,600(Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)
  • 5% (Police and Detectives)
  • $60,720 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)

Sources:US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*Net Online

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida has one of the highest employment levels for police personnel in the country. Only California, Texas and New York have bigger police units on their payroll. So, there is no shortage of opportunities for Floridians who hope of becoming police officers. The salaries and benefits are attractive too.

Career Outlook for a Police Officer in Florida

From 2018 to 2028, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a 5% increase in employment opportunities for Police and Detectives. This will be driven by the constantly increasing public safety needs. However, factors like crime rates and the budget of various police departments within Florida will also affect the availability of job opportunities.

Steps to Become a Police Officer in Florida

Following is the procedure to become a police officer in Florida.

Fulfill the Minimum Education Requirements

To join most police departments in Florida, you will need a High School Diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) Certificate at most. However, a few cities might require more education credentials.
For example, the Jacksonville police unit accepts employment applications from individuals having a combination of post-secondary education and military or law enforcement experience. Specifically, you should have an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree along with four years of military/law enforcement experience. You may also apply with 90 semester hours of advanced schooling and 2 years of military service under your belt.
Furthermore,you will need a Bachelor’s degree to become a correctional probation officer. This is according to the Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission (CJSTC) which works under the umbrella of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

Pass the Initial Written Test

This is where the assessment process will begin after your employment application has been accepted.

Physical Ability Exam

After passing the written test, you will undergo the physical fitness exam.

Background Investigation

Once you have proven your physical prowess, the next step will be a thorough background investigation.

Drugs, Polygraph and Medical Exam

These three exams will be the final step in the initial screening process.

Undergo Police Academy Training

You will spend around 6 to 7 months in the police academy. Upon graduation, you will join the force as a probationary officer.

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

It will take you around 1.5 to 2 years. Of these, about 6 to 7 months will be spent in the police academy. The rest of the time will be taken by the initial screening process.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Police Officer in Florida?

To become a police officer in Florida, you need to fulfill the following criteria.

  • Must be at least 19 years old (21 in some cities).
  • Should be a legal American citizen (through birth or naturalization).
  • Should have at least a High School Diploma or a GED Certificate. Higher education may be needed in some cities and for specific law enforcement positions.
  • No dishonorable discharge for candidates having a military background.

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Police Officer in Florida?

In 2019, Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in Florida had an annual mean wage of $60,720. This is as per the data made public by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.