One of the biggest and oldest municipal police departments in the country, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) reserves and protects approximately 8.5-million people. It is the job of the police officers in the city to enforce law, ensure public safety, manage traffic regulation, and respond to emergency situations. The department recruits technically sound and best trained officers, owing to its population and location of high sensitivity.

To become a New York City Police Officer, it is important to be at least high school graduate but candidates with an associate degree in related field have better chances to be hired and move up the ladder. Once hired, all NY police officers embark on a fulfilling and rewarding career in public service, ensuring safety and prosperity of the city.

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Thousands of people apply to this department every year. If you are one of them wondering how to become a police officer in New York, then continue reading.

Requirements for Becoming a Police Officer in NY
How to Become a Police Officer in NY

Career Requirements

Educational Requirements High school diploma or equivalent
Experience/Training Training from Police Academy, Moderate on-the-job training
Key Skills Courage, Agility, Active Listening, Courage, Teamwork, Physical and Mental Strength, Empath, Emotional Intelligence, Community Awareness, Written and Oral Communication, Public Relations, Problem-Solving Skills, Ability to Gauge Situations, Critical Thinking, Observation.
Annual Mean Salary – New York (2021) $80,590 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)
Job Outlook – New York (2020-2030) 14% (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)

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

Requirements for Becoming a Police Officer in NY

To join the ranks of New York’s Finest, you have to fulfill certain criteria and meet requirements regarding experiences, education and background along with a number of written and physical tests.

  1. Nationality, Age and Education
  • Every applicant must be no less than 21 and no more than 35 years of age at the time of hiring.
  • All candidates must be citizens of the United States
  • Every candidate must have a valid driver’s license at the time of appointment
  • Every applicant must hold a High School Diploma or a GED equivalent
  • 60 college credits with a 2.0 GPA from an accredited college is also a requirement. If not, then 2 years of active full time military service in the US Army
  1. Examinations Required for Becoming a Police Officer in NY

If you meet the criteria set by the department, you could move on to the next step, which involves taking a written Civil Service exam, held under the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). In addition, all applicants must take the Police Officer Written Exam, which takes into account their cognitive ability, mental capabilities and observational skills. Keep in mind though that passing these tests does not mean a guaranteed spot in the force, it is a requirement you must fulfill either way. After clearing the written tests, you will be required to clear a character and background test along with an oral psychological exam, physical strength and medical test.

Medical test will include a vision test. Uncorrected vision of at least 20/100; Corrected vision should be 20/20. Furthermore, color blindness is grounds for immediate disqualification.

The physical strength test, known as the Job Standardized Test (JSP) includes testing the candidate’s ability to perform different types of police assignments. An obstacle course is set with 6 stations that must be completed within 4 minutes and 28 seconds. These stations include a barrier surmount, a physical restraint simulation, stair climb, pursuit run, trigger pull and victim rescue.

  1. Background Check

All aspiring cops in New York will be subject to an extensive background investigation. This will include drug/alcohol screening and ensuring that you do not have a criminal record for offenses such as petit larceny and domestic violence. Character investigation is also carried out where you will need to supply required documents and meet with an investigator.

Police Training Academy

After clearing all the required tests, all NYPD recruits start their career in the NY law enforcement as a Recruit Officer in the Police Academy. This academy training session may take up to 26 weeks, requiring recruits to complete 1,095 hours of training provided by certified staff.

Salary for NYPD Recruits

The salary of a police officer in New York Police Department takes into account different factors like the rank of the officer, additional certifications and trainings, years of service, and special assignments that have been taken up. According to the to 2021 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, the annual mean wage of police and sheriff’s patrol officers in the state of New York is $80,590. The NYPD also offers a variety of incentives and bonuses that can increase an officer’s salary. Additionally, the officer’s salary may be impacted by the city’s budget, cost of living, and other economic factors.

What Benefits do you get working at the NYPD?

Potential candidates for the NYPD are usually concerned with the sort of benefits and work environment their job will entail. Here is an overview:

  • 10 paid vacation days each during the first two years
  • 13 paid vacation days each during the next three years
  • 27 paid vacation days after five years in service
  • Unlimited paid sick leave
  • A choice of paid medical programs
  • Annuity fund
  • Prescription, eyeglass and dental coverage
  • Optional retirement at one half salary after 22 years of service
  • Deferred Compensation Plan, 401K and IRA
  • Annual $12,000 Variable Supplement Fund (upon retirement)
  • A variety of promotional and educational opportunities
  • Military personnel may receive additional benefits

Working in the NYPD may not be as glamorous as television usually depicts it to be. Keep in mind that you will need to be very strong willed and well grounded for this job. You might have to face life threatening situations and deal with gruesome crime scenes. If you can handle yourself well in such situations, then stop waiting and start applying.

Police Officer Career Outlook in New York

The overall employment of Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers is projected to grow by 14% in New York between 2020 and 2030. O*Net Online has also projected 68,680 employees in the field by 2030. As per the information provided by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021), New York is the third state with the highest employment level for police and sheriff’s patrol officers.

Below are the states with the highest employment level in Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers:

State Employment 
California 70,050
Texas 60,440
New York 49,910
Florida 45,360
Illinois 30,640

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)

Frequently Asked Questions:



Q: What are some of the benefits of working with the NYPD?


Ans: The NYPD is one of the most well-known police forces in the world. As a member of the NYPD, some of the benefits that your job would entail include paid sick leaves, paid medical package, paid vacation and an annuity fund. This is not an exhaustive list of benefits; for that, visit the NYPD’s official website.



Q: What are some interesting facts about the NYPD?


Ans: The NYPD happens to be the largest police force in the country with over 34,500 uniformed officers and 51,000 employees. Because this police force is so large and revered, applying to it is also a very competitive process. For more information on how to make yourself stand out from the competition, check our page.


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