How to Become a Police Officer in South Carolina

South Carolina is an ideal place for aspiring police officers. With nearly 12,000 law enforcement personnel employed as police and sheriff’s patrol officers across the state, South Carolina has a strong police presence to uphold the law. If you want information on how to become a police officer in South Carolina, the following information would be of great use to you:

Procedure for Becoming a South Carolina Police Officer

South Carolina has several police departments, each with an application procedure of its own. However, most departments follow a similar hiring process, which is along these lines:

Step 1: Meet the minimum requirements for employment.

Step 2: Fill out the application for employment and file it.

Step 3: Take the defined physical fitness test.

Step 4: Take the written exam.

Step 5: Clear a polygraph exam.

Step 6: Clear an oral interview.

Step 7: Attend a police training academy.

Requirements to Become a South Carolina Police Officer

Before you begin your application process for any of the police departments in South Carolina, you should make sure you meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Be a citizen of the US.
  • Have a clean criminal record.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Have at least a high school diploma or a GED. Some departments in the state might have additional experience requirements. For instance, in Charleston, you would need at least 6 years of law enforcement or military experience, in addition to a high school diploma. Charleston also has other educational options such as a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree with 4 or more years of law enforcement experience.

Duration to Become a South Carolina Police Officer

To become a police officer in South Carolina, you will need to invest some time in getting the right education. This could be a 2-year long associate degree or a four-year long bachelor’s degree. The application process itself may take a few weeks. If selected, you will be required to complete a police training academy course. Once that is cleared, new recruits will need to pass a 12-week long South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Basic Law Enforcement Certification Course. Upon completion of this course, all new sworn officers will complete a mandatory field training and evaluation program of 600 hours.

The Salary of a South Carolina Police Officer

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for police and sheriff’s patrol officers in South Carolina was $42,330 in May 2017. The annual mean wage for the US is $64,490, which is relatively higher than that of South Carolina.