How to Become a Police Officer in MA

For those applying for most police work in Massachusetts, they will first need to ensure that they are eligible to apply and then must take and achieve a passing score on the civil service exam. The Police Officer Civil Service exam in Massachusetts is only offered every two years, so if you are considering becoming a police officer in Massachusetts, it is important to sign up and prepare well in advance. If you fail the test, it will then be necessary to re-take it again in two years if you wish to continue trying to accomplish your goal of becoming an officer. If you do pass the test you will be placed on a list of other candidates who are eligible to pursue employment with a department. This does not guarantee you will be hired, however. After being placed on this list you can follow the application process similar to that on the homepage of this site, with a specific police department. If you are chosen by a particular police department, you will then be able to attend a Massachusetts police academy for your training.

Training to be a Police Officer in MA

The basic requirements you must meet in Massachusetts to be eligible to take the Civil Service Exam are that you are 21 years old, have a valid Massachusetts state driver’s license, are a legal citizen of the US, and have graduated with a high school diploma or achieved an equivalent level of education or served in the US armed forces for at least 3 years. Also, you will be subjected to a criminal background check and need to have lived where you want to apply for at least a year prior to taking the Civil Service Exam. As stated above, in order to apply for police work, one must pass the Civil Service Exam prior to applying. This exam includes a written ability test, a life experience survey and a work style questionnaire. How you do on this exam will dictate if you will be permitted to continue in the process of applying for police jobs in Massachusetts.

Salaries for Police Officers in MA

The average Massachusetts patrol officer makes around 56,000 a year. This amount varies based on the city or area they work, their education level, and their years of experience. As with most jobs, there is room for growth and advancement. The average salary for detectives in Massachusetts is 65,000 per year and the supervisor’s average is 85,000 per year. As you can see there is opportunity for advancement. Education is another factor that influences pay. Below is a list of schools which offer criminal justice programs or other fields which may pertain to a career in law enforcement. If a candidate has time while waiting to pass the Civil Service exam, it may be advisable to pursue a higher education in a related law enforcement program.

Police Officer Schooling Programs in Massachusetts

In most of Massachusetts the only required schooling is graduation from high school or a GED equivalent. Some will even take you if you don’t possess this schooling and have simply served in the US armed forces for a minimum of 3 years. However, some smaller police departments may want to see a higher level of education reached. In this case, having a degree in an area such as criminal justice or a different degree which may relate to law enforcement, may give applicants a leg up against other applying candidates. It also would ensure a higher starting rate of pay, as education does factor into how much an officer of the law is compensated. The below list contains some of the schools in Massachusetts which have programs related to criminal justice or other law related degree programs. It is not a comprehensive list, however it should give people looking for criminal justice programs in Massachusetts a starting point in their search.

  • American International College

1000 State Street, Springfield, MA 01109


  • Bay Path University

588 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA 01106


  • Bay State College

122 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02116


  • Becker College

61 Sever Street, Worcester, MA 01609


  • Berkshire Community College

1350 West Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201


  • Bristol Community College

777 Elsbree Street, Fall River, MA 02720


  • Bunker Hill Community College

250 New Rutherford Ave, Boston, MA 02129


  • Cape Cod Community College

2240 Iyannough Road, West Barnstable, MA 02668


  • Curry College

1071 Blue Hill Ave, Milton, MA 02186


  • Dean College

99 Main Street, Franklin, MA 02038


  • Eastern Nazarene College

23 East Elm Avenue, Quincy, MA 02170


  • Fitchburg State College

160 Pearl Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420


  • Greenfield Community College

One College Drive, Greenfield, MA 01301


  • Massasoit Community College

1 Massasoit Boulevard, Brockton, MA 02302


  • Middlesex Community College

33 Kearney Square, Lowell, MA 01852


  • Mount Ida College

777 Dedham Street, Newton, MA 02459


  • Mount Wachusett Community College

444 Green Street, Gardner, MA 01440


  • Northeastern University

360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115


  • Northern Essex Community College

100 Elliott Street, Haverhill, MA 01830


  • Quincy College

1250 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA 02169


  • Roxbury Community College

1234 Columbus Ave, Roxbury Crossing, MA 02120


  • Salem State University

352 Lafayette Street, Salem, MA 01970


  • Springfield College

263 Alden Street, Springfield, MA 01109


  • Springfield Technical Community College

1 Armory Square, Springfield, MA 01105


  • University of Massachusetts-Boston

100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125


  • University of Massachusetts-Lowell

1 University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854


  • Westfield State University

577 Western Avenue, Westfield, MA 01086


  • Worcester State University

486 Chandler Street, Worcester, MA 01602