We fail to realize the importance of a police officer’s job unless we need to contact them in an emergency. Unlike other jobs, a police officer’s job is full of extra-ordinary challenges. You would often find them putting their lives in danger while protecting general public. It is not just their job which is tough, but becoming a police officer is quite demanding as well. However, if you are interested in pursuing this career, you would find that it comes with a number of intangible as well as tangible benefits.

The certification process in the state of Georgia is controlled and directed by the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST).You would need to complete some processes through POST, while other procedures will be completed by Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) regional academy, where you will get your training. Candidates taking the basic training but not yet hired by a law enforcement agency are known as pre-service candidates. Following are the steps you can take in order to get accepted by a police academy and acquire the certification as a Peace Officer in Georgia.

Steps to Become a Police Officer in Georgia
How to Become a Police Officer in Georgia

According to another set of data taken from O*NET OnLine, police officers in Georgia earned a median annual income of $38,430 in 2015. The job growth in this field is expected to take place at the rate of 12% from 2014 to 2024.

Job Title 2015 Median Annual Salary Job Growth (2014-24)
Police Officer $38,430 12%

Steps to Become a Police Officer in Georgia

  1. Meet the minimum requirements

Your first step would be to check if you meet the eligibility requirements for police officers in Georgia. The state requires the following:

  • Minimum age of 18 years
  • Candidate must be US national
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Should not have any criminal record or offences that could result in imprisonment
  1. Apply to a police academy you wish to join

Once you know that you meet the basic requirements of a police officer’s job, you would need to take advice from the staff of your preferred regional academy and follow their instructions. You can find a list of academies along with their locations on the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) website.

  1. Take the entrance exam

For the entrance exam, you would first need to fill out Entrance Examination Access Form, which is available at the GPSTC website. Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST) requires COMPASS or ASSET test from the candidates, which is the official entrance exam for police officers. You would need to find a Technical College site to take the exam. Generally, it would take you two hours to finish the test and you would be able to see your results as soon as you finish it. You would need to attach these test results with your POST application.

  1. Go through the background check

All candidates are required to go through a detailed background check, which also includes drug testing. The academy staff would direct you to contact Professional Screening and Information (PSI). You would need to pay $245.00, which is the cost of PSI background investigation. The cost of the investigation can also be paid online. Once your background investigation is completed, your results will be sent to your academy.

  1. POST application, fingerprints, and physical examination

After your background investigation, you would need to download and complete a POST Pre-Service Application for Certification. You would need to fill out this application very carefully otherwise you can face a delay in your admission to the Basic Training Course. Along with the application, you would be required to have a physical exam and submit fingerprints. You would need to go to the website of Georgia Applicants Processing Service (GAPS) to complete the fingerprinting process. Your physical exam will normally cost $30 and fingerprinting fee would be around $53.

  1. Formal interview

Once all the prerequisites have been met, your selected academy will arrange your interview with the Academy Manager. You would need to dress formally for the interview. The manager will assess your suitability and performance.

  1. Submit POST application

Once recommended, your application will be sent to the POST. Once you get the approval by POST, you will receive a notification about your acceptance to the course. You would need to pay $200 as an application processing fee to the POST. You can only pay this fee in the form of money order or as a check.

  1. Registration, tuition, and fees

After completing the above mentioned steps, you can register to take part in GPSTC’s Basic Law Enforcement Training course. You can find the fee schedule for the course on GPSTC website. Students are given the option to pay with a credit card or they can send a money order to the Training Centre. You would also need to purchase some equipment required by the academy, apart from the tuition cost. In addition, you can seek financial aid to afford the costs of getting the basic training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center.

Career Outlook for Police Officers in Georgia

The career outlook for police officers in Georgia is quite optimistic. According to the figures given by the Georgia Labor Market report, the employment for police officers will grow at a rate of 6.6% between the years 2010 and 2020. Yearly job openings will also be high during the same period, as a large number of experienced police officers are likely to retire in the next five to ten years.