Law Enforcement Qualifications
Citizenship The majority of the agencies are going to request that you are a citizen of the U.S. This is because if you could not qualify to be a citizen of the United States it is no way that you would be able to enforce the laws of the country. However, some local police departments do not let citizenship play a role in whether or not you get a job in the law enforcement field as long as you have applied for citizenship and have a work visa or either a green card.
Age Usually the age requirements are the same as the states age law on their firearms. However, if you want to work as a federal criminal investigator you will have to be younger than 37. Additionally, you are only allowed to work for 20 years and you cannot work longer than the age of 57. However, if you have relevant experience and are over the age of 37 you may still be considered for the job.
Education If you have a four year college degree you should be able to qualify for majority of the federal, state, and local law enforcement jobs regardless of the field that it is in. However, aside from your degree you will also be expected to have at least three years of work experience if you are trying to work for a federal agency. For instance the Secret Service only considers applicants if they have worked in the criminal investigative field for at least three years. However, if it was as a police officer you still will not qualify. However, the U.S. Marshalls do not care if you have law enforcement experience or not they just want you to have three years’ experience supervising. Overall, college credits are something that you will need to have and a associates or bachelor’s degree can look even better.
Felony Convictions If you have been convicted of a felony you will not be able to work in any law enforcement position that requires you to be sworn in. Additionally, I you have been convicted of domestic violence you will not qualify because you will not be able to possess a firearm.
Written Entrance Test Most positions are going to require you to take the written entrance exam. In order to pass it you are going to have to rank in the 70th percentile. Usually, the test just asks general questions that are not related to the law. Additionally, depending on the position you are applying for some positions may require you to take a video test. The video test will ask information about the laws but it just requires you to use common sense.
Physical Fitness/Agility Test Physical fitness and agility tests will also be given to test your strength and agility. This test will have you do a variety of different physical tests.
Vision Most positions are going to require for you to have 20/20 vision which can be corrected. However, aside from glasses or contacts you need have at least 20/200 or at the very lowest 20/100. But, if you do not you can always have your vision surgically corrected to 20/20.
Drug Usage Each department has different guidelines when it comes what they will tolerate regarding past drug usage. However, no department tolerates hard drugs such as LSD or heroin. But, experimental marijuana use is something that many are willing to look past.