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Brian Humenuk | Author | COPJOT
Updated on October 20, 2023
4 minute read

Minimum and Maximum Police Officer age requirements

Becoming a police officer is a courageous decision and a challenging career path that attracts individuals from all walks of life. However, one of the fundamental criteria for pursuing a career in law enforcement is meeting certain age requirements.

These requirements exist to ensure that candidates possess the necessary maturity, physical fitness, and life experience to effectively serve and protect their communities. They also exist to ensure that the physical demands of the job can be met without risk to the community as well as the police officer.

Age requirements for becoming a police officer are put in place to ensure that candidates have the necessary attributes to carry out their duties effectively.

While the minimum age requirement is usually 18, maximum age requirements can vary significantly. These requirements are subject to change, reflecting evolving societal values, legal considerations, and the needs of the law enforcement profession.

In this article, we will dive into the minimum and maximum age requirements to become a police officer.

How old to be a Police Officer

Minimum age requirements for becoming a police officer vary from one jurisdiction to another. Generally, candidates must be at least 18 years old to apply for a position in most law enforcement agencies. However, certain agencies or positions within law enforcement may require candidates to be older with that age being 21.

For instance, in Massachusetts, New York and California the minimum age requirement to become a sworn police officer is 21 and in Florida the minimum age requirement is at least 19 years of age.

You will find most age requirement information on the hiring agencies website under employment minimum qualifications.

Here are some key points to consider regarding minimum age requirements:

18 Years Old

The age of 18 is the most common minimum age requirement for aspiring police officers. This age is considered the legal adult age in many countries, and candidates are typically required to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

Higher Minimum Ages

Some agencies may set a higher minimum age, often 21 or 22 years old. This can be influenced by the level of responsibility and authority entrusted to police officers.

The logic behind this is that a few more years of life experience and maturity can help candidates make better judgment calls when dealing with various situations.

Another way to look at this is by increasing the minimum age for hiring from 18 to 21 or 22 years of age police departments can hire candidates who are slightly more mature and who make better decisions ultimately saving the hiring authority time and money for retraining or termination of someone they invested in.

Age Waivers

In certain cases, candidates who do not meet the minimum age requirement may be eligible for age waivers. These waivers are typically considered on a case-by-case basis and are granted for exceptional circumstances.

Maximum Age Requirements

Just as there are minimum age requirements, some law enforcement agencies also set maximum age limits for police officer candidates.

The reasoning behind maximum age requirements is often related to the physical demands and the length of service expected from police officers.

Many police departments have a maximum age limit of 35 years old in order to ensure newly hired police officers can keep up with the physical demands that the police academy throws at them.

The Massachusetts State Police and the Rhode Island State Police have maximum age limits of no older than 34 years of age and both are known for having rigorous recruit training academies.

The LAPD, on the other hand, does not have a maximum age limit and only requires recruits to make it successfully through the police academy.

Here are some key points to consider regarding maximum age requirements:

Age Caps

Maximum age requirements typically range between 35 and 40 years of age, though they can vary by jurisdiction. Some police departments have no maximum age limit, while others may cap the age at 45 or older.


There are exceptions to maximum age limits, especially for candidates with prior law enforcement or military experience. These individuals may be allowed to join the force at an older age, often with certain restrictions or conditions.

Age Discrimination Concerns

Setting maximum age requirements has sometimes raised concerns about age discrimination. In response to these concerns, many agencies have reviewed and adjusted their policies to ensure that they do not exclude highly qualified older candidates who can perform the job effectively.

Do your research first

If you’re considering a career in law enforcement, it’s essential to research the specific age requirements of the agencies you’re interested in. Remember that while age is a factor, many other qualifications, such as education, physical fitness, and character, also play a crucial role in becoming a successful police officer.

Ultimately, a commitment to service, a dedication to upholding the law, and the ability to adapt and grow will be the most critical factors in your success in this challenging and rewarding field.

What is the average age to become a Police Officer?

The average age to become a Police Officer in the United States is between 21-26 years old.

Although many Police Officers become hired after 26 years old, the majority of them fall between 21-26 years old.

The earlier you are able to get hired and are able to successfully complete the police training academy the better your chances are at maximizing your pension at the earliest age possible.

About the Author

Brian Humenuk isn’t just an entrepreneur in eCommerce, he is also an informed leader whose experience provides followers and visitors with a look into current and past police issues making headlines in the United States.

Brian has earned three degrees in Criminal Justice with the last, a Masters of Science in Criminal Justice Administration.

Brian extends his training, education, and experience to the officers just now getting into the field so that they may become more informed police officers and stay clear of police misconduct and corruption.

You can find Brian on Linkedin here.

More Information

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