SWAT is an extremely trained paramilitary unit that is called to facilitate the police in situations that go beyond the police’s control. They are asked to support the police when the situation gets too dangerous for the police force and the public.

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Should I Become a SWAT Officer?

If you are not afraid of putting your life on the line to protect the public and even fellow policemen, then you might want to consider a career as a SWAT officer.




High school diploma or GED in most cases.

Major RequirementLaw enforcement, Criminology, etc. in the case of college degrees.
License/CertificationRequired in some states
Key SkillsExcellent Physical Condition, Quick-thinking, Marksmanship, etc.
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National$67,600 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)
Job Outlook (2019 – 2029)6% (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)


Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

As per the information provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers will enjoy a 6% job growth between 2019 and 2029. This rate is higher than the average employment growth rate of all other occupations.

Steps to Become a SWAT Officer

Earn a High School Diploma or GED

Candidates will need to complete high school education or obtain a GED certificate as the minimum education to start their careers as SWAT officers.

Consider Higher Education

Competition for jobs is high, so getting an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree can give you an edge in the job market. Most candidates get a degree in criminal justice or a related field.

Complete Police Academy Training

Since all SWAT officers have to be policemen first, they have to get a police force job and complete training at the police academy. The duration of the training lasts for 15 to 30 weeks and covers training in police procedures, law, and firearms use, etc. The candidates also have to go through rigorous physical training to pass the academy.

Complete Field Training

After passing the police academy training, most police officers have to complete field training too.

Work for a Few Years in Law Enforcement

Candidates will also have to work as part of law enforcement for three years minimum to become eligible to apply for a SWAT officer position.

Clear the Exam

Candidates have to pass an open examination that includes an interview, psychological and physical exams, skill evaluation, etc. Candidates who clear these stages move on to the next stage.

Return to the Police Academy

Selected SWAT officers go back to the police academy to train for specialized SWAT training.

Complete State Requirements

Some states might require SWAT officers to complete certification exams after completing their fundamental training.

How Long Does It Take to Become a SWAT Officer?

The time it takes to become a SWAT officer depends on different factors like the education you get, the training period, and state certification requirements.

What Are the Requirements to Become a SWAT Officer?

  • Complete high school education or obtain a GED.
  • Consider higher education.
  • Pass training at a police academy.
  • Complete field training.
  • Complete law enforcement experience.
  • Clear the exam for SWAT.
  • Complete SWAT training.
  • Get state certifications, if applicable.

How Much Does a SWAT Officer Earn in the US?

Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers earned $67,600 as mean annual income in the US in 2019. This information has been obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.