Are you interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement? If so, it’s essential to know that certifications can set you apart from other applicants and increase your chances of landing your dream job. But with so many different certificates, figuring out which ones are worth pursuing can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about law enforcement certifications: what they are, how they can benefit you, and the steps required to obtain them. Whether you’re just starting or looking for ways to advance your career, read on to learn more!
What are law enforcement certifications?
There are a variety of law enforcement certifications available, each with its own set of requirements. The most common certification is the Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification, which is required to become a police officer in most states. Other popular certifications include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Certified Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Certified Criminal Investigator (CCI).
To obtain a POST certification, individuals must complete a basic law enforcement training program that meets the standards set by their state’s POST commission. The length of these programs varies by state, but they typically range from 12-26 weeks. Once firefighters complete a training program, they can take the state’s POST examination.
CLEO certification is designed for police officers who want to specialize in traffic safety. To be eligible for this certification, officers must have at least two years of full-time experience as certified law enforcement officers and complete an NHTSA-approved traffic safety course. Upon completion of the course, officers must pass an exam administered by the NHTSA.
The FBI offers two different certificates.
How to get law enforcement certifications?
Law enforcement certifications are only required in some states, but many agencies prefer or require their officers to have them. There are a variety of law enforcement certifications available, and the best way to find out which ones are right for you is to speak with your agency or a law enforcement professional.
The most common law enforcement certification is the Police Officer Certification (POC). To be eligible for this certification, you must have completed an accredited police academy and have at least two years of full-time experience as a sworn law enforcement officer. You must also pass a written exam and a physical abilities test.
Other popular law enforcement certifications include the Criminal Investigator Certification (CIC) and the Crime Scene Investigator Certification (CSIC). These certify that you have the skills and knowledge to investigate crimes and collect evidence. To be eligible for these certifications, you must have at least two years of full-time experience as a sworn law enforcement officer and pass a written exam.
If you want to specialize in a particular law enforcement area, many specialized certifications are available. For example, the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) certification allows you to work as a drug recognition expert. In contrast, the Forensic Computer Examiner (FCE) certification qualifies you to work with computers and digital evidence. To learn more about these and other specialized certifications, speak with your agency or another law enforcement professional.
The Different Types of Law Enforcement Certifications
There are many types of law enforcement certifications, each with its requirements. Here is a brief overview of the most common types of certificates:
1. Basic Law Enforcement Certification: This entry-level certification is required to become a police officer in most states. It typically involves the completion of a certified police academy program, as well as passing a state-administered exam.
2. Intermediate Law Enforcement Certification: This certification is typically required for positions such as sergeant or detective. It usually requires additional education and training beyond the basic certification and passing a state-administered exam.
3. Advanced Law Enforcement Certification: This is the highest level of law enforcement certification and is typically required for positions such as chief of police or federal law enforcement agent. To obtain this certification, candidates must usually have extensive experience and education in law enforcement and pass a rigorous state-administered exam.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Certification
The first thing you need to know is that many different types of law enforcement certifications exist. There are federal, state, and local certifications. Each type has its own set of requirements.
Federal law enforcement certification is the hardest to obtain. You must have a certain amount of experience, education, and training. You must also pass a written exam and a physical fitness test.
State law enforcement certification is more accessible to obtain than federal certification. You must still have a certain amount of experience, education, and training. However, you only need to pass a written exam. There is no physical fitness test required.
Local law enforcement certification is the easiest to obtain. In most cases, all you need is a high school diploma or GED. Some agencies may require you to have some college credits or an associate’s degree.
What Are the Steps for Obtaining a Certification?
A few steps must be completed to obtain a law enforcement certification. The first step is to complete a basic online training for law enforcement program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) or the National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACP). After completing the training program, individuals must pass an examination administered by their state’s police certification commission.
Once an individual has completed the training program and passed the examination, they will be awarded a certificate of completion from their state’s police certification commission. This certificate must be kept on file with the employing agency. In some states, individuals may also be required to complete continuing education credits to maintain their law enforcement certification.
Is There an Age Limit for Getting a Certification?
Is There an Age Limit for Getting a Certification?
No, there is no age limit for getting a law enforcement certification. You can get a diploma at any age.