Police departments in Florida operate as multi-cultural communities, offering equal opportunity to everyone. The department recruits talented and skilled individuals who effectively solve crimes. It is the responsibility of serving police officers in the state of Florida to provide safety to the residents, property, and tourists.

To become a police officer in Florida it is important to have great understanding of local, state, and federal laws. While obtaining training in the academy, cadets are taught how to respond to emergency situations, conduct patrolling, and make arrests. There are approximately 373 law enforcement departments in Florida.

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According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there are four steps to becoming a police officer:

  1. Meet the minimum qualification requirements
  2. Complete the required training required for a police officer
  3. Pass the State Officer Certification Exam (SOCE)
  4. Become employed as a sworn officer of a Florida Police Department
What Do Police Officers Do?
How Do You Become a Police Officer in Florida

What Do Police Officers Do?

Typically, a police officer may carry out some, or all, of the following tasks and responsibilities:

  • Investigate crimes and crime scenes
  • Apprehend criminals and offenders
  • Provide emergency assistance to injured parties
  • Obtain evidence and secure interviews from witnesses
  • Patrol certain neighborhoods or parts of the city
  • Educate the community on crime prevention and awareness
  • Testify in court

Requirements To Become a Police Officer in Arizona

Educational Requirements High school diploma or equivalent
Experience/Training Training from Police Academy, Moderate on-the-job training
Key Skills Courage, Agility, Active Listening, Teamwork, Physical and Mental Strength, Empathy, Knowledge of Law, Community Awareness, Public Relations, Problem-Solving Skills, Objectivity, Dependability, Critical Thinking, Observation.
Annual Mean Salary – Florida (2021) $66,320 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)
Job Outlook – Florida (2020-2030) 6% (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) and O*Net Online

Why Become a Police Officer in Florida?

If you’re interested in a career in law enforcement, it is likely that you may be toying with the idea of becoming a police officer. Why should you become a police officer in Florida? The Sunshine State boasts a number of benefits for aspiring police officers. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Florida is the state with the fourth highest employment levels for police officers after New York, Texas, and California. The state also enjoys good weather year round and has a number of different communities with different employment opportunities and challenges.

What Are the Minimum Requirements to Become a Police Officer in Florida?

Although the qualification requirements in Florida are similar to those in other states, Florida is stricter in its certification requirements for police officers. Moreover, listed below are the overall state requirements for applying to become a police officer. These requirements may vary at county levels and so, it is important that you check with the police department you intent to apply to.

The minimum qualifications are established in Florida Statutes 943.13 and are as follows:

Applicants must:

  • Be at least 19 years old
  • Have citizenship of the United States
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a clean criminal record – meaning no conviction of any felony or misdemeanor involving perjury or false statement
  • Give processed fingerprints for the employing agency to keep on file
  • Pass a physical examination
  • Submit to a background investigation in order to prove you are of good moral character
  • Not have received a dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States

How Long Does It Take To Become a Police Officer in Florida?

The time that it takes to become a police officer in Florida will necessarily vary from applicant to applicant, depending upon their individual history. Training times may also vary depending upon their individual performance. To get a clearer idea of the time frame you may be looking at, it is advisable that you contact the particular police department you wish to apply to.

What Are the Steps to Becoming a Police Officer in Florida?

  • Meet all the minimum qualification requirements

These are all listed above and must be satisfied.

  • Complete required training
  • New applicants seeking to become officers or individuals who are embarking on a discipline crossovers are required to complete the Basic Abilities Test (BAT) before entering a basic recruit training program. BAT is available in most schools and the results are valid up to 4 years.
  • The next step is to complete the Basic Recruit Program or a Certified Crossover Training Program. Both of these training programs must be completed in a commission certified training school.
  • Pass the State Officer Certification Examination (SOCE)

Applicants can take this test up to three times in order to get a passing score. You must register for this test online at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website.

  • Become employed as a sworn police officer

After all of the above requirements have been satisfied, candidates must submit to:

  • An interview
  • A background investigation
  • Polygraph test
  • Medical examination, including vision and hearing
  • Psychological evaluation

Once successfully cleared, the applicant is eligible for a “Certificate of Compliance”, which is issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Records Section.

Prospective Salary and Job Outlook

O*Net Online data indicates that the rate of employment growth for police and sheriff’s patrol officers is 6% for the period between 2020 and 2030 in Florida. By 2030, there will be 42,300 employees working as police officers in the state of Florida.

$66,320 is the annual mean salary of police and sheriff’s patrol officers in Florida as per BLS in 2021. Police departments in Florida also offer other perks like differential pay, overtime, and a bilingual language bonus, etc. Below are the top 5 highest paying states for this occupation in the US in 2021.

State Annual Mean Wage 
California $ 102,920
Washington $ 92,390
New Jersey $ 91,690
Alaska $ 87,510
Illinois $ 82,800

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: According to Florida law, what requirements must all applicants satisfy?

Ans: To become a police officer in Florida, all applicants must be at least 19 years old, have US citizenship, hold a high school diploma or GED, and have a clean criminal record. Applicants will also be asked to give their fingerprints, pass a physical examination, submit to a background check, and prove that they haven’t been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.

Q: What are the benefits of becoming a police officer in Florida?

Ans: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida has the fourth highest employment opportunities for prospective police officers in the country. Working in great weather is an added advantage in being a police officer in Florida.