What College Classes are Needed to Become a Police Officer?

Updated April 17, 2017

Police officers work for local, state or federal agencies that protect citizens and enforce the law. If you want to become a police officer you may need to take college classes, but requirements vary by agency. Some local agencies do not require applicants to have a college education, while federal agencies require a bachelor's degree. You can take a variety of college classes to prepare for a career as a police officer.

Criminal Justice Associate Degree

If you are planning to apply for a police officer position at a state agency, an associate degree in criminal justice earned at a community college will make your application stand out. Courses for this degree program included general education classes and criminal justice classes like crime scene investigation and introduction to criminal investigations.

Recruit Training Courses

Many local and state police agencies require recruits to complete training courses that are taught at local colleges. For example, Florida Keys Community College offers law enforcement academies with classes including corrections basic recruit academy, which requires a physical fitness exam and 552 hours of class time. Students who pass this class are allowed to take the state corrections officer certification examination which is required of all entry-level police officers.

Criminal Justice Bachelor Degree

If you wish to apply for a police officer position at the federal level, you will need to complete a bachelor's degree in a field like criminal justice. These programs usually require more than 60 semester credits. The program at Florida International University requires a core of 24 units in classes including the courts and criminal justice and the constitution, as well as 12 criminal justice electives and 24 general electives.

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About the Author

Lori Karnac is a librarian, researcher and professor who has done academic research and writing since 1990. Karnac has written for the Key West Arts blog and "Artlurker" in Miami. She has a Master of Arts in library and information sciences from the University of California at Berkeley, and teaches academic research, art and design classes.