How Hard Is It to Become a Metro Transit Cop?

Metro transit cops work the public transportation beat.
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Metro police officers are mobile cops. They ride subways and patrol subway stations in order to keep metro employees and transit riders safe. Some municipalities consider having a metro police presence a reason for leaving your car at home and taking public transportation instead. Metro transit cops must meet some basic age and experience requirements and also pass a battery of tests, a background check and even an oral interview before being offered a job.

Minimum Requirements

    You have to be a U.S. citizen to apply to be a metro transit cop, have a valid driver’s license and be physically fit and able to perform normal police duties. Age requirements vary by municipality or city as well. In Washington, D.C., for example, you have to be at least 20 years and nine months old, while transit cops in Houston have to be at least 21 years old. You may need to meet other basic requirements as well, depending on where you apply. Metro transit cops in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, for example, must also be certified emergency medical technicians or certified first-responders and also currently licensed as a police officer or eligible for licensure in order to be considered.

Education and Experience

    You don’t need to have special training to apply to become a metro transit cop. Most departments want you to have at least a high school diploma or GED, though some always want you to have at least some college. You may be able to get by with less education depending on how many years of related experience you have or if you’ve served in the military.

Application and Testing

    Submitting an application is a test in itself, with some departments folding into the application process a police officer selection test. Expect to spend at least 20 minutes, if not longer, responding to questions in the application, says the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and scoring less than 70 percent automatically ends the hiring process.If you pass this initial application phase, you must also pass a background check and drug test, physical ability test, mental health evaluation and an oral board interview. The hiring process can take anywhere from two to six months.


    If you do not meet one or more of a department’s selection criteria, you may be able to reapply once you can meet it. For example, if you don’t meet the age or education requirements the first time, you can reapply once you do. If you don’t pass the physical fitness portion of the application, once you know you can, then you can reapply. Some disqualifications aren’t correctable. For example, to work as a metro transit cop in Houston, you can’t have a felony or Class A misdemeanor conviction on your record.

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