Police officers, or officers of the law, are entrusted with the task of ensuring that society is safe. This includes catching criminals, taking steps to deter crime, and upholding law and order in their communities. In order to be sworn in as a police officer, candidates must undergo thorough physical and mental testing, as well as extensive academy training.

The job itself is tough and the hours are not fixed; one day on duty may look completely different than the next. As a police officer, you need to be able to respond to threats and emergencies quickly and efficiently.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement as a police officer in North Carolina, here are the requirements you need to satisfy.

Becoming a Police Officer in North Carolina
How to Become a Police Officer in North Carolina

Minimum Requirements for Prospective Police Officers in North Carolina

If you’re seeking to become a police officer in North Carolina, you need to ensure that you meet the following basic requirements. Prospective candidates must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Hold U.S. citizenship
  • Have a clear criminal record (fingerprints are usually taken to confirm that you have no record anywhere)
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a valid North Carolina driver’s license
  • Not have been dishonorably charged from the armed forces
  • Have a good moral disposition

Becoming a Police Officer in North Carolina

The process involved in becoming a police officer has multiple steps. Each candidate must successfully make it through each round of steps and make it to the next set of requirements. After satisfying the minimum requirements for becoming a police officer, candidates must pass a series of exams.
These include:

  • Physical examination– This thorough exam is carried out by a physician to ensure that candidates are physically capable of dealing with the job.
  • Drug screening– A comprehensive drug test will be carried out to check for any illegal substance use.
  • Psychological evaluation– Conducted by a clinical psychologist, this test is essential to determine whether candidates are mentally sound.
  • Polygraph examination– All candidates must submit to a polygraph test to test their moral character.

If a candidate clears all of these examinations, they will advance to the academy training step.

Academy Training

All trainee police officers go through a period of 25 weeks of academy training. Academy training is largely divided into two components: physical and theoretical training.

The physical aspect of the training involves:

  • Driver training
  • Firearms training
  • Introduction to defensive tactics
  • Law enforcement techniques
  • Agility and endurance training
  • First aid training

The theoretical aspect of the training will involve an introduction to areas like law, human relations and rights, procedural protocols, etc.

As you near the end of your academy training, you’ll be required to pass the Police Officers’ Physical Agility Test to ensure that you’re physically capable of taking on the demands of the job. In addition, all prospective officers must pass a firearms test.

Field Training

Once you successfully complete your academy training, you’ll be sworn in as a police officer. This is immediately followed by 12 weeks of field training. During this time, new recruits will shadow a seasoned police officer and will receive training in the field in actual emergencies and day-to-day occurrences that officers have to deal with.

Job Outlook and Salary

Listed below are five of the largest cities in North Carolina and the annual average salaries of the police and sheriff patrol officers working there.

City Average Annual Salary
  • Charlotte
  • Raleigh
  • Winston Salem
  • Greensboro
  • Durham
  • $45,200
  • $45,250
  • $36,890
  • $44,890
  • $45,930

According to statistics from O*NET Online, the projected growth for this profession between 2014 and 2024 is 8% in North Carolina. This rate of growth is average and suggests that North Carolina will have a decent amount of job openings in the coming years.