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A career in law enforcement is challenging and rewarding and offers many opportunities for advancement. The majority of police jobs require officers to spend a certain number of years working on the street before advancing to positions such as detective. In order to obtain an entry-level police officer position, recruits must meet specific requirements.

Attend college. Most departments require a certain number of completed credit hours to be eligible for an entry-level law enforcement position. Some agencies require a four-year degree, while others accept a two-year associates degree. A degree in law enforcement, criminology, sociology or psychology is helpful.

Exercise several times a week. Police officers must pass a physical fitness test before beginning their field training. The better shape you're in before entering the police academy, the more you'll get out of training.

Schedule an eye doctor's appointment. You need to have 20/20 corrected vision. Some conditions, such as color blindness, could affect your eligibility.

Stay out of trouble. Most agencies won't consider you if you've been convicted of driving under the influence, assault, illegal drug use and other felonies. You'll be required to pass a drug test before being offered a position. Be sure to drive safely, as several moving violations could also disqualify you.

Study for your peace officer standards and training (POST) examination. This exam includes mathematics, grammar, report writing and reading. Most agencies require at least a 70 percent in each area.

Practice your interviewing skills. You'll likely be interviewed by a panel of police and city employees. Have your friends ask you practice questions that are likely to come up in an interview, such as how you handle conflict, what you would do if you suspected a co-worker of breaking the law and why you're interested in police work.

Answer interview questions honestly, even if the answers make you look bad. You'll be required to take a polygraph examination after your panel interview, and your answers must match.



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