What Is a Police Cadet? - Responsibilities & Training

Explore the career requirements for police cadets. Read on to learn about the basic entry requirements along with salary and job outlook information to determine if this is a suitable career for you. Schools offering Law Enforcement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

Police cadets are trainee police officers or young civilians who are interested in learning about law enforcement careers through working in police departments. A strong desire to learn and follow orders are two very important factors to succeed as a police cadet. Check out the following table for more details.

Degree Required High school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements Vary by state
Key Traits Honor, integrity, respect, trust, and courage
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 7% (for all police and sheriff's patrol officers)*
Average Base Pay (2017) $53,894**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Glassdoor

What is a Police Cadet?

A police cadet is a participant of a specialized police training program aimed at introducing young adults to law enforcement careers. As a police cadet, individuals get to experience the career of a police officer through completing class assignments, receiving professional development workshops and hands-on training. Cadets are required to work under certified police officers in various areas of police departments ranging from communications, fingerprinting, and photo labs, to youth services, traffic, and recruitment training.

What are the Basic Entry Requirements?

The basic entry requirements to become a police cadet include being a U.S. citizen and having no criminal record. In many states, candidates must be over 18 years of age and possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, these requirements vary from state to state. Some states require their cadets to be enrolled in a bachelor's degree program, whereas other states may require them to hold a driver's license.

What are the Training Requirements?

Police cadet academies provide regular rigorous physical training to their cadets. Therefore, applicants are supposed to clear physical training assessment which includes pushups, situps, and running events. During the program, cadets are provided further training to improve their physical agility to prepare them for law enforcement careers. They are also trained in firearm safety, crime scene search, and building raids, among other things. Additional training includes honor guard and water rescue training.

How Much Might I Earn?

Many cadet academies pay their cadets. However, some cadets programs are unpaid and voluntary. In 2017, Glassdoor published $53,894 as the average base pay for police cadets. Academies may pay different salaries to their cadets based on the number of working hours, as well. Some academies also offer additional benefits, such as paid college tuition and medical benefits.

What are the Job Prospects?

Working as a police cadet highly improves an individual's job prospects. When applying for a law enforcement job position, police cadets are often given preference over other candidates. They are also eligible for promotional opportunities and pay grade advancements if they decide to join law enforcement upon graduation from the cadet academy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated growth for police and sheriff's patrol officers is projected at 7% for 2016-2026, which is equal to the average for all occupations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »