How To Become a Police Officer in Arizona

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Are you interested in learning how to become a police officer in Arizona?

If so, it’s an intense process that can open the door to many exciting and insightful opportunities.

As a peace officer, you can give back to your community with lawful policing to protect and serve citizens.

What Are the Requirements To Become a Police Officer in AZ?

When looking at the requirements for becoming a peace officer in Arizona, they’re relatively standard.

Every prospective applicant will have to meet minimum standards to be accepted into the academy.

If you cannot meet these specifications, it’s your law enforcement agency application will be denied.

Citizenship and Age

As with the majority of law enforcement agencies, applicants will need to prove their citizenship and age.

You’ll have to be a citizen of the United States and be at least 21 years old when you graduate from the academy.

These minimum requirements differ from other jurisdictions, as other states require applicants to be 21 years old when they initially apply.

Another important document you’ll need before applying is a valid driver’s license from the state of Arizona.

You will be required to provide proof of this documentation upon application.


There are fundamental education requirements for law enforcement professionals in this state.

However, it can be incredibly beneficial to also have post-secondary schooling in your portfolio.

Not only will you be likely to receive a higher starting salary, but you can also receive more specialized placements.

Average qualified applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent when applying.

More schooling is considered an added benefit for potential candidates.

Felony Convictions

The state of Arizona makes it quite clear that all police applicants must not have a felony conviction.

During the screening process, you will undergo a background investigation to determine the validity of your record.

With that said, you must be honest with the background investigator, or you could be denied.

Do You Need a Degree To Be a Cop in Arizona?

As mentioned, having a post-secondary degree isn’t mandatory for police officers in Arizona.

The only degree you’ll be required to have is one from high school or a GED.

With that said, a two or four-year degree from a college or university can be a significant benefit.

It will help your application stand out from others, especially if you major in criminal justice.

You’ll also find that your criminal justice education can help you excel during your time in the academy.

As an added benefit, you could be considered for higher pay rates if you have a solid educational background.

What Disqualifies You From Being a Police Officer?

Several things could potentially disqualify you from learning how to become a cop in AZ.

With that said, the majority of misdemeanor offenses will be considered on a discretionary basis.

However, if you have major criminal convictions, you might not meet the Arizona Police Academy requirements.

Some of the most common reasons your application could be denied include:

  • Chargeable incidents on your criminal record
  • Numerous recent driving offenses
  • Possessing a canceled, revoked, or suspended license
  • Failing Arizona POST drug usage standards
  • Inability to show personal integrity and good moral character
  • Failure to produce a high school diploma or GED
  • History of improper conduct in your employment history
  • Felony convictions
  • Dishonorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces
  • Inability to prove United States citizenship
  • Failure of AZ POST medical examination standards

Arizona Police Academy Program Selection Process

After applying to attend the academy, there are several steps to the selection process you’ll have to undergo.

Every prospective officer will need to pass every step before moving on to the next, aside from physical fitness.

If you fail the physical fitness test, it won’t prevent you from continuing onto other process steps.

Written Examination

Every applicant will be required to go through a written test containing a 100-multiple choice question exam.

To pass, you will be required to obtain a score of at least 75%.

Physical Fitness Test

One of the most strenuous aspects of the testing cycle is that prospective officers go through a physical fitness test.

This testing cycle consists of four events, including sit-ups, push-ups, a 1.5-mile run, and a 300-meter run.

Each part of the testing is scored individually, and you’ll receive separate failing or passing marks.

Polygraph Exam

As with most police departments, applicants will undergo a polygraph examination.

During this examination, you’ll be asked questions about violent crime, your background, interpersonal questions, and more.

To progress, you must complete this portion successfully and not provide a false statement.

Background Inspection

A background investigation is an essential part of being a police officer to ensure you discharge your duties faithfully.

Your driving history, civil record, financial history, criminal record, and employment history will be considered.

Also, there is a strong emphasis on inspecting every individual for illegal substance use.

Psychological Evaluation

Another important tenet of joining police officer jobs is to pass a psychological evaluation.

While working with a trained psychologist, you’ll need to complete a two-portion evaluation.

Applicants will complete a psychologist-led interview with background questions as well as a written examination.

Medical Examination

Your physical health is equally as important as your mental health to become a lawful officer.

Every individual will need to complete a medical exam before gaining employment with a department.

These tests will include background questions about your medical history or any medical concerns.

Drug Screening

As expected with most employment industries in the United States, you will be required to take a test for illegal drugs.

Depending on department policies, you could also be subjected to randomized testing throughout your employment.

Any evidence of drug usage could result in your application being denied.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Police Officer in Arizona?

Learning how to become a cop in AZ has one of the longest programs in the United States.

In total, your academy training consists of 720 hours of mandated training, taking approximately nine months to complete.

Academy training on weekday evenings and weekends allows you to complete the program within nine months.

How Much Money Do Police Officers Make in Arizona?

The pay for police officers varies significantly in Arizona, depending on the years of experience you have.

In the basic training academy, you can expect to earn approximately $55,754.40 annually.

Once you’ve graduated and acquired academy experience, a patrol officer will earn approximately $56,854.72 annually.

As you gather more skills and on-the-job experience, officers can progress through the ranks to earn more.

At the high-end of salary expectations for multiple years of experience, you could earn up to $79,653.60/year.

How To Become a Police Officer in Arizona

When learning how to become a police officer in Arizona, you have to be prepared for several months of training.

You’ll undergo plenty of classroom instruction as well as physical training to ensure you’re adequately prepared for police officer jobs.

After graduation, you can earn a competitive salary that makes your time investment well worth the effort.

See also

Don’t forget to check out our articles about how to become a police officer in the following states:

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