Prior to beginning your education, you want to look at the jobs available after you finish your degree, and as a criminal justice major, you’ll encounter some criminal justice career requirements. While federal law prohibits rejecting someone for an open position based on some criteria, the same doesn’t hold true of law enforcement jobs. Though you don’t need to meet any age, height or gender requirements to work as a social worker, a probation officer or in other fields, you do need to meet some requirements before becoming a police officer.
While the law prohibits criminal justice career requirements in the form of height, age or gender, employers can legally require that you take a physical fitness test. This test ensures that you are strong enough and fast enough to handle the duties of working as a law enforcement officer. The test usually requires that you run one mile within a set period of time, which can range from 10 to 20 minutes. Other tests ask that applicants complete a specific number of pull ups, push ups and sit ups, and some tests also require that applicants complete a long jump and vertical jump.
Hearing, Vision and Medical Tests
Prior to working as a police officer, sheriff, deputy or in other areas of law enforcement, applicants must take and successfully pass hearing, vision and medical tests. Though officers can wear glasses or contacts, they must pass a vision test that proves they can see both close up and further away. The hearing test ensures that you can hear possible criminals, voices over the radio and other sounds that you’ll hear on the job. The last required test is a physical or medical examination. A doctor must complete a form that shows you are in good physical health.
Police Academy Training
Most major cities across the country have a police academy, and many of these academies are part of local community colleges. The police academy is similar to boot camp or basic training and requires that you live on-site for a period of time and go through intensive training. You’ll learn how to aim and fire a gun, how to properly stop a criminal and what to do in a number of different situations. Though not all cities require that police officers complete training through an academy, some cities will only hire officers who completed the training.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately one out of every 10 police officers in the country is from Latino or Hispanic heritage and out of every eight officers, one of those officers is female. Those statistics prove that gender is not one of the criminal justice career requirements. State and local law enforcement agencies and federal investigation organizations and departments cannot stop someone from working in law enforcement based on age, gender or heritage. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation typically requires that applicants be 35 years old or younger.
Criminal justice is a field that includes peace officers, professors, social workers and those working in dozens of other areas. Federal law prohibits criminal justice career options relating to gender or height, but you may need to meet some other requirements before applying.