Dear Officer Friendly, do you need a college degree to move up the ranks in a police department? How young could a lieutenant be? How fast can you move up the ranks? Thanks.
Most departments these days are requiring at least an AA degree in order to apply for work. I always advise young people thinking of a career in law enforcement to obtain a BA in business. First, you can’t get hired in most states unless you are at least 20 1/2 years old. That way you are 21 upon graduation from the academy. Second, law enforcement is no different than any other business when it comes to supervisory positions which are everything above the rank of patrolman. Therefore, if you plan to promote, get some managing skills through a degree.
Okay, let’s say you get hired at 21, do your two years of probation and at least two more of patrol and now you are 25. Next would be a special assignment of no less than two years and now you are 27. You test for Sergeant but because it’s your first time, you don’t score high enough to be considered. Back to patrol for one to two more years when they test again or you pick up another special assignment. At any rate, you are now 29 and very, very good and score high on your written and oral board. Now you need to be a Sergeant for a few of years and run a shift. A special assignment as a Sergeant for a couple of years is also in order and then the testing routing again. Probably get passed over the first go around and have to wait a couple of more years. Let’s see, add the nine and three, carry the one, ummm. Okay, about 36 in most average size departments I would think would be the earliest possible age, and that is for a very fast tracker who’s kept his nose clean and kissed some serious ass.