The police force plays a key role in the security of a community, and law enforcement officials must keep up with the changing demands of the profession. In addition, an understanding of the bigger picture is vital to deterring crime and serving in law enforcement.
With over 3 million residents and just over 6,000 sworn officers, as of 2017, the need for law enforcement in Arkansas is rapidly expanding.
Steps and Requirements
Arkansas officials follow the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards & Training (CLEST) guidelines to become a law enforcement agent. Minimum qualifications include:
- U.S. citizen
- At least 21 years old
- High school graduate or GED holder
- Valid driver's license
- No felony convictions
Some police departments may require additional qualifications, such as a bachelor's degree. For those who aspire to work as troopers or in highway patrol, there are extra requirements to fulfill as well.
To become a recruit, one must pass a series of exams, including a medical test and a psychological test. A background check for criminal records and a personal interview are also mandatory.
After successfully completing the steps above, recruits are required to attend an approved police academy training before beginning their work.
Career Prospects Are Improving
Prospects are bright for those seeking employment in Arkansas' police and sheriff's patrol offices, making the state a top choice for aspiring officers. A statewide projection forecasts a growth of 12.4% in openings through 2026. This includes new positions and replacements due to retirement or voluntary leave.
In the state of Arkansas, the median income of a police officer is $52,100 per year, according to Salary.com (May 2020). Top earners make $60,888 or more.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nationwide employment of police and detectives is expected to rise by 5% between 2018 and 2028. Although more positions are projected to open in the area, the growing number of candidates makes for a competitive profession. Those who possess more than the basic qualifications, such as military training or a bachelor's degree, can stand out from the applicant pool for better opportunities.
Why Pursue an Online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology?
Pairing police academy training with a bachelor's degree adds key theoretical knowledge to hands-on experience for those in law enforcement. Arkansas State University's online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology program fits the needs of police officers seeking to enhance their careers.
The program combines the flexibility of online studies with the rigor of a criminal justice degree. Institutional correction, domestic violence, and the ins and outs of the justice system are a few of the topics covered in the coursework. Social factors and trends of delinquent behavior, as well as steps for mitigation, are also covered.
Graduates of the program are equipped with essential skills for success in police department roles and other public service positions at the state and federal levels.
Double majoring in Communication Studies, Political Science or Sociology is also possible.
Learn more about the A-State's online B.A. in Criminology program .
How to Become a Police Officer: How to Become a Police Officer in Arkansas
Salary.com: Police Officer Salary in Arkansas
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook - Police and Detectives
Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards & Training: Standards