Rhode Island | The Road to Becoming a Police Officer

In Rhode Island a person must meet the minimum requirements for the police department in which they wish to apply. Each police department in Rhode Island has slightly different minimum requirements. It is important to check with the police department to ensure you meet these. All of them require you to be of moral character with a clean criminal record, a legal US citizen, and have a valid driver’s license. After applying with a specific police department they may have you come in for a physical fitness test followed by a written exam. If both these are passed the police department would do an extensive background check on you. Following this is an oral interview typical in front of several officers. If you are selected to continue in the applications process you would then finish all of the testing required (see the homepage of this site for further explanation of tests required of most candidates). If offered a position, the police department then sends new hires to basic training at a police training academy. There they learn the basic skills needed to perform the job of police officer. Following basic training comes field training. Field training needs to be completed successfully before a cadet becomes a full-fledged officer of the law.

Requirements for Police Officer Candidates in Rhode Island

Between cities in Rhode Island, minimum police officer requirements can differ drastically. Some cities require applicants to be 21 in order to apply (which is true of most cities and states in the US) while a few cities in Rhode Island only require a candidate to be 20 years old to apply. It is extremely important to know what the requirements are of the police department in which you want to apply. Some cities in Rhode Island only require a high school diploma or GED, while other cities expect candidates to have a certain number of college credits earned, or even an associate’s degree. Knowing the requirements is a very important part of the application process. If you don’t meet the requirements than it is not worth applying because you will not even be considered to continue in the lengthy application process.

Average Salary in Rhode Island for Police Officers

The average Rhode Island patrol officer salary is 53,700 a year. This is comparable to the national average. With Rhode Island being so small there isn’t as much variation in salary between cities. However, some officers in areas make closer to 50,000 a year. Years of experience, level of education, and promotional rank all influence pay as well. Rhode Island detectives and criminal investigators make an average salary of 68,000 thousand a year.

Schools in Rhode Island with Criminal Justice Degrees

Most cities in Rhode Island require some college credits. There are many criminal justice degree programs these days through online accredited schools. This may be the way to go for those wishing to achieve a degree. However, Rhode Island also has some schools which offer criminal justice programs. Having such a degree would not only fulfill minimum requirements, but it would also set a candidate apart from others, making a person more marketable and desirable in the law enforcement hiring process. Also, those with a degree can start out at a higher salary in the police force than those without a degree.

  • Johnson & Wales University

8 Abbott Park Place, Providence, RI 02903


  • Lincoln Technical Institute

622 George Washington Hwy., Lincoln, RI 02885


  • Rhode Island College

600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908


  • Roger Williams University

One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809


  • Salve Regina University

100 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, RI 02840