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Becoming a Police Officer

March 27, 2012
Policeman beside a squad car

Every day more than 59,000 police officers around the state work to ensure residents’ safety. To join their ranks, you need to be a U.S. citizen who’s at least 18 years old, and you must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. While your record may show minor traffic infractions, it should be clean of felonies or repeated misdemeanors.

Although the police academy you choose to attend may require more of you, these are the general steps you’ll take to certify as a police officer:

  1. Find the academy that’s best for you, and check program registration deadlines. The Georgia Public Safety Training Center offers an intensive 11-week certification course, and you can also take classes at other regional academies. Locate your nearest academy.
  2. Fill out the Entrance Examination Access Form, and register for either the paper-based ASSET or computer-based COMPASS test at your nearby technical college.
  3. Complete a background investigation, which includes a drug test, and pay the $245 associated fee.
  4. Fill out the Pre-Service Application for Certification. This includes gathering copies of your fingerprints and records of your most recent physical exam. If you need help understanding the application, call academy staff.
  5. After you complete the application, submit it and the $150 application fee to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST)