How to Become a Police Cadet

The prerequisites to be a police cadet vary depending on the area.
i Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Police cadets are police officers in training and some police departments refer to all new police recruits as cadets. However, many departments have a special cadet program that is specifically designed for youths. Young people can learn the ins and outs of law enforcement in such a cadet, or police reserves, program. Depending on the cadet program, the cadet also receives incentives, such as tuition assistance and hourly pay. If you are interested in becoming a youth cadet, there are some standard protocols to follow.

    Step 1

    Look up the minimum age requirements in your area. In some cases, police cadets must be 18 to 20 years of age or older. New York allows 16 year olds to participate in its cadet program. California allows 14 year olds to participate. To determine the age requirement for your city, contact your local police department.

    Step 2

    Establish residence in the city you want to serve in. You must also be a legal United States citizen.

    Step 3

    Meet the minimal educational requirements. Depending upon the city, high school enrollment or a high school diploma may be required. Other cities, such as New York, require enrollment in an accredited college or university with a minimum grade point average of 2.5.

    Step 4

    Complete the police cadet training application. Submit the application, along with all required documentation, such as proof of age and identification.

    Step 5

    Take and pass the written police cadet examination, physical examination and physical fitness test. Consent to and pass a criminal background check.

    Step 6

    Complete and pass the cadet training program. This program can last a few weeks or a few months, depending upon your location. During the training program, you get hands-on experience working as a police officer trainee or reserve officer. You also may participate in local community events, such as parades and rallies.

the nest