If you keep up with the local crime reports in the area, and have been wondering how to get into a career in law enforcement in your part of the Oxford and North Mississippi region, then here we are going to be explaining the requirements to apply for police jobs in Mississippi.
In addition, we’ll be looking at some study options you can do at home, which may help you raise your employability and future prospects in law enforcement, as well as give you the knowledge and capability that will help you become the kind of police officer your community deserves.
Then, we’ll take a look at why policing can be a good career choice, if it is something that appeals to you.
What Are the Minimum Requirements to Be a Cop in Mississippi?
The state requires several things before you can apply to become a police officer. The first, and easiest is that you must be over 21. If you’re not, then it can be a good idea to use the time between school and reaching the minimum age to study for a related degree, such as taking on an online BA in policing, and we will go into more detail about your study options later in this article.
You also need to be a US citizen, and have your physical and mental condition verified as suitable for the work required by a physician. There will also be a background check, and you will need to be someone who has never been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to a charge, been fined for an offense, or have similar records against your character. If you are considering joining the police after serving in the military, you will need to have left with honorable discharge conditions.
Aside from your age, physical and mental condition, and a good record when it comes to your character, there are also minimum requirements for education. The minimal requirement in Mississippi is that you must have a high school diploma.
If you don’t have a GED diploma, you can either obtain one from one of the accredited schools or associations, or take a GED test from the American Council on Education, achieving a score that is equivalent. You can also provide ACT standardized test scores of over 16 in reading, English and math instead of a GED diploma, so there are plenty of options to pass this requirement.
That said, these are only the minimum requirements to apply, and so there are things you can do that will help prepare you both for having a good chance when you do apply, and for actually doing the work that will be expected of you once you become a police officer. We’ll look at those now.
Higher Education and Other Preparation
As previously mentioned, it is possible to gain a bachelor’s degree in policing, which can give you a lot of useful knowledge you will be able to apply as a police officer, as well as make you a stand out candidate for a career in the police department if you also meet the other requirements.
As with most degree paths, this is a degree that you can now do online, and there are plenty of reputable colleges that offer a police studies degree as an online study program, such as Wilfrid Laurier University. This makes getting the degree more convenient, flexible and affordable than attending college the traditional way, as you won’t need to relocate or commute, and can fit studying for your BA in policing around part-time work or family commitments.
If you are below the age of 21 and have graduated high school, working towards achieving your BA in policing can be a good way to begin preparing for your chosen career, but it can also be a good choice for people considering changing careers into police work from something else.
As well as enrolling in college courses aimed at people who want to work in the police sector, you may also consider working on your fitness as you plan towards applying to become a police officer. Improving your stamina and general physical fitness will not only ensure you pass the physical – assuming you have no underlying health problems – but will also make it easier on you when you begin training and working as a law enforcement officer.
How you choose to boost your fitness will depend on what you enjoy, but whether you go for working with a personal trainer, running, or taking up a sport, having a good fitness regime will certainly be a plus.
Why a Police Career Can be a Good Choice
Police work certainly isn’t for everyone, but if it is something you are interested in, then there are plenty of reasons why it can be a good choice. It is a secure job with clear career progression, and it is a type of work that will always be needed. Police officers with integrity are essential to communities, and the work of helping protect people and helping victims of crime can be rewarding.
Police work does require you to be someone who can handle stressful situations, and who can mentally and physically cope with demanding and sometimes distressing incidents, as well as dealing with intimidating people. However, you will receive a lot of training and support in the early stages of your career, which will help equip you with the skills you need.
A career in policing can also allow you to move into different specialist fields of police work, or move into leadership positions as your career advances, so there is plenty of scopes there if you are ambitious about where you’d like to be in the future.
As you can see, the requirements for applying for a police career in Mississippi are made very clear and are not excessively demanding; however, you can also improve your chances of getting the career you want by preparing with some college level study before you apply.