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.
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Should I Become a Police Officer in North Carolina?
|Education Required||High school education or General Educational Development Test.|
|Training||Complete Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET).|
|Key Skills/Qualities||Physical stamina, Empathy, Quick thinking, etc.|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National||$67,600 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||6% (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) – North Carolina||$47,340 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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|
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.
Police Education and Training
North Carolina requirements for people interested in joining the police force resembles other states. While the applicants must be of 21 years of age, there is a relaxation on the level of education as the minimum requirement is a high school degree. But just like the other states, it’s encouraged to pursue a college degree in criminal justice or public safety to advance further in career and be promoted to senior positions. There are many options to choose from as aspiring police officers can either go for an associate’s degree or bachelor’s in criminal justice or law enforcement. For anyone looking to become a police officer in North Carolina, NC, it’s advisable to go for a higher degree and enhance technical skills as well as develop critical thinking.
Police Officer Training in North Carolina
In North Carolina, NC, the Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission along with Criminal Justice Education & Training Standards Commission set mandatory training requirements. These regulations are for all law enforcement officers, criminal justice officers, and sheriffs’ deputies. The North Carolina Justice Academy has two campuses, one in Edneyville and the other in Salemburg that provide basic training as well as intermediate and advanced programs for law enforcement officers. The commission has mandated 640 hours training course that takes approximately 16 weeks to complete. During the program, candidates learn about community policing, anti-terrorism, firearms, surveillance, traffic crash investigation, and self-defense. The program concludes with a comprehensive written exam, skills testing, and on-field training.
Training Institutions for Police Officers
Under the direction of North Carolina, NC Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission, a Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) curriculum is developed that prepares entry-level recruits with the physical skills and knowledge to work in practical field. Below are some of recognized academies in North Carolina that provide the basic training to the police officers.
- North Carolina Justice Academy
The Justice Academy has two campuses and strives to enhance the career of law enforcement officers through education, research, and training. Both Salemburg and Edneyville campuses have state-of-the-art facilities that include practical exercise areas, fire range, and driving tracks.
- Fayetteville Police Training Academy
The Fayetteville Police Department provides Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) in which the new recruits are required to undergo 25 weeks of intense training. They also have to complete Intensive Physical Fitness Program, followed by 11 weeks of field training. A field training officer evaluates the recruits and assess their on-the-job training.
- Wake County Law Enforcement Training Center
The academy is accredited by North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and the North Carolina Sheriff’s Education and Training Commission. They offer a comprehensive program, maintaining the training records of the new recruits.
- Charlotte Police and Fire Training Academy
It offers 25 weeks training program that includes Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET). Candidates are required to pass academic exams as well as physical fitness test and on-field training.