How to Become a Police Officer in Arizona

In Arizona, those wishing to become police officers can go about doing so through 2 different avenues. One can go through the application process through a particular law enforcement agency (similar to all the steps laid out on the homepage of this site), or an individual can enroll themselves in a police academy training program and become certified that way. If an individual enrolls themselves in an academy program it will be at their own cost, however if they go through the longer process with a particular agency, the training will be paid for through the police department.

Both avenues have their advantages in some ways, for those wishing to ensure that they have a job when they get out of the academy it is wise to go the route through a specific department. For those not sure where they will be working and just want to get into the training portion of the process, they may decide that simply enrolling in an academy is the best start to becoming a police officer in Arizona. No matter which track works for you, it is important to ensure that you meet the Arizona state requirements.

How to Become an Arizona Police Officer

Arizona’s minimum requirements are identical to that of most states in America. People looking to be police officers in Arizona must be at least 21. They must have a valid driver’s license, be legal United States citizens, they need to have a minimum of a GED or high school diploma and should not have used or sold illegal drugs. It is important that applicants have a clean criminal background check and a clear record as far as previous jobs, school, military work etc. Often a police department will look extensively into a person’s background and past to ensure that they will be an officer of integrity and valor.

For those who are going through a police agency to enroll them in training, they will first go through the testing series that most police applicants would be subjected to. Once the written, physical, and psychological tests have been taken and past, the applicant will be enrolled in an Arizona police Academy. The academy training consists of a minimum of 585 hours. This includes all training necessary to be a qualified police officer (less the field training hours). During the academy, cadets are trained in items such as weapons usage, traffic laws, interview tactics, report writing and high-speed traffic pursuit, amongst many other important skills needed of officers.

Some of the distinct Arizona requirements are that Arizona has rather strict medical and physical standards of their police officers. It is important that a candidate be in good shape prior to applying to law enforcement. Also, although a minimum of a GED is required for those seeking to work as cops in Arizona, it is highly recommended to have a minimum of an associate’s degree in something related (such as criminal justice), or even a bachelor’s degree. Candidates with these accreditations are usually treated as much more serious applicants than those who have simply finished high school. Those with degrees will also begin at a much higher pay than those without.

Average Salary for Police Officer Jobs in Arizona

Based on information from Arizona police officer salaries are on the higher end of the national average. The average patrol officer makes approximately 59-60 thousand a year. Even non-metropolitan police officers in Arizona make an average of over 45,000 a year. This is good news if you are looking into Arizona law enforcement. Detectives and criminal investigators in Arizona make an average annual salary of 73,400. Keep in mind that more education can influence pay for the better. And as with most jobs, police officers can earn promotions after a certain number of years for quality service and higher rank means higher pay.

Law Enforcement Schooling programs in Arizona

As far as availability of college programs in related fields, Arizona has the some of the best Criminal Justice Degree programs in the country. One of the best schools to check out for a wide variety of degrees in criminal law or criminal justice is Arizona State University located at 1151 S Forest Avenue in Tempe, AZ. ASU has programs in criminal justice that go all the way up to a PhD in criminal justice. These programs can give you a leg up in the field as you go between high school and applying to work as a cop on the field.

Another school that has criminal justice degree programs is Ottawa University at 9414 N 25th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021.Ottawa University has a wide variety of programs that focus on crime, social behavior, criminal activity etc. They also have online programs available, which can be a nice advantage for those wanting to work and take classes at the same time. Phoenix College is another good option for a 4 year degree, although many local community colleges have 2 year criminal justice degree programs available. You can check with your local college, community college, or technical school to see what program may be a good fit for you.