How to Prepare for a Career in Law Enforcement

Law enforcement is one of the most exciting, important, and demanding fields. A lot of young people see the glamor of a law enforcement career, but fail to understand the amount of preparation that is needed. They may spend their time looking through a catalog promoting the Blackhawk tactical gear and the amazing Surefire flashlights, and dream of James Bond type adventures. There is nothing wrong with this kind of dreaming, and Blackhawk gear is certainly the best you can find once you become a law enforcement officer. The problem is becoming one.

There are three levels of law enforcement type jobs. They are local, State, and Federal. The local level consists of City and Country police officers. The requirements are, usually, an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice, a physical fitness test, and a complete background investigation. The State level requirements are mostly the same, but you also must be willing to relocate anywhere within the State. The Federal level consists of several agencies including the FBI, and the DEA, or Drug Enforcement Agency. A Federal Law enforcement position will require a four year Bachelor's degree. Many four year colleges offer a degree in Criminal Justice. Each level also has academies where specific training is given.

If you are serious about a career in Law Enforcement, there are several things that you can do to prepare. The first, and perhaps the most important, is to remember that to a law enforcement officer requires that your own personal life be of the highest standard. It is impossible to enforce laws without you abide by them yourself. Remember that a background investigation is part of each level's requirements. You need to be aware that any type of criminal background in your record is going to disqualify you. It is important to consider even your financial matters. A very bad credit history can also harm your chances.

It is important to pay attention to your education, and your school record. It is a very wrong stereotype to think of police officers as uneducated dummies. A modern law enforcement officer needs to be highly educated. Most positions will require an associate degree, and many will be looking for a bachelor's degree. It is never too early to investigate the requirements for a degree in Criminal Justice, and schedule the necessary courses to make sure you qualify.

If you are serious about this career choice, you should be aware of the physical fitness demands of almost every law enforcement position. Live healthy, stay fit, keep out of trouble, and work hard in school are all preparations for law enforcement professionals. If this does not seem too demanding, you might be the kind of person who will be able to prosper in this demanding career field.