I want to be a police officer, how do I prepare?

Do you want to be a police officer? What do police do? How much do police get paid?

Let’s take a look at the role of a police officer and how you can best prepare to be a more confident applicant through studying with CLET.

Be a Police Officer

Are you looking for a career change or maybe this is your first full time job, police are paid well from the start and have very attractive conditions.

What are Police Officers required to do?

Policing is very much a team environment and you will work with many exceptionally talented and dedicated people with many and varied personalities. When you start you will be required to:


  • Complete recruit training
  • Ongoing professional development
  • Wear a load-bearing vest and carry a firearm and many other accoutrements such as capsicum spray, taser, baton, handcuffs, radio, torch, body worn camera
  • Wear a uniform (unless in a role that does not require a uniform)
  • Conduct foot patrols
  • Talk and interact with the public, including people from different cultural backgrounds and religious beliefs
  • Attend fights and domestics
  • Watch-house duties, monitoring offenders in custody and taking fingerprints
  • 24 hour shift work
  • Work alongside other Emergency Services
  • Work in specialist areas, generally when you are more experienced, and there are many

Traffic Duties:

  • Drive a police vehicle
  • Detect traffic offences and issue traffic infringement notices
  • Conduct random alcohol and drug testing
  • Direct traffic at intersections, road works and traffic hazards
  • Attend and investigate car crashes (some may have serious injury or be fatal)


  • Investigate crimes
  • Record notes when you attend an incident
  • Look for missing persons
  • Conduct recorded interviews of suspects
  • Interview witnesses and take statements
  • Arrest offenders
  • Identify, protect and secure crime scenes
  • Locate, manage and secure evidence
  • Prepare briefs of evidence
  • Liaise with police prosecutor and at times defence solicitors
  • Attend Court and give evidence


  • Use computers and write many incident reports
  • Perform administration duties and answer public enquiries in station
  • Talk to the public over the phone and offer advice and take incident reports

Policing has its challenges:

  • Policing has a rank structure, so you will be required to follow directions and be respectful
  • Attend incidents where people are violent and affected by drugs and alcohol
  • Manage abusive and disrespectful people
  • Manage and assist people with mental illnesses
  • Work in floods, fire and cyclone areas (if applicable to where you work)
  • Attend incidents where people are emotionally distraught
  • Attend incidents where people have died
  • You may need to tell someone a loved one has died 
  • You will see things others who are not police do not see
  • Attend an autopsy
  • The police culture is unique and does present with it own challenges
  • Be accountable for your actions, on and off duty
  • Live away from family and friends or in remote areas of the country 

If you wish to enter the Australian Federal Police and are stationed in the Australian Capital Territory, the AFP perform the same duties as the State Police and your role will include everything that is listed above, plus more. However, if you work in any other State or Territory with the AFP you will focus more on Commonwealth Offences and investigate and prosecute offences committed against the Commonwealth in areas such as:

  • organised, corporate and computer crime
  • environmental offences
  • drug trafficking
  • fraud
  • counterfeiting and terrorism
  • and people smuggling

This can also include policing airports and attending to family law matters. In addition, the AFP has an active involvement with overseas law enforcement agencies and liaison posts in many countries, providing many opportunities to work overseas as your experience grows.

What are the qualities of a good Police Officer?

Police officers are special people doing a tough job. At CLET we believe that policing is the most important paid job in our society. Without our police there would be anarchy. So what qualities do good police officers have?

Good Police Officers:

  • Put others first
  • Participate in ongoing professional development and eager to learn
  • Self-confident and understanding of their emotional intelligence (ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they're feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.)
  • Present in uniform professionally at all times
  • Know their strengths and work on their weaknesses
  • Have critical thinking and observation skills
  • Have a high level of integrity, are trustworthy and honest
  • Good team members and work well with others
  • Patient and adapt to change
  • Resilient, have an open mind and are non judgemental towards others
  • Are empathetic, especially towards those who struggle in life
  • Are assertive without becoming aggressive
  • Are willing to step up even when exhausted
  • Actively manage stress and seek assistance when things get you down
  • Practice good time management
  • Are willing to follow directions
  • Prepared to manage abuse and disfunction from others 
  • Have a willingness to work 24 hour shift work
  • Complete paperwork daily
  • Pay attention to detail
  • Maintain fitness
  • Are a good role model for others
  • Are willing to use force on others when legally necessary
  • Caution when it is not necessary to prosecute

How much do Australian Police get paid?

The average starting salary of a Police Officer in Australia is around $60 000 - $70 000 per year (depending on the State or Territory) and increases yearly according to your rank at the time. Not bad for a starting wage.

How can CLET help?

CLET has been preparing our students to be the best applicant they can be for over 14 years, where they present for the selection process with more confidence and with a relevant Nationally Recognised Qualification that indicates to recruiting staff they are serious and committed to becoming a police officer and are motivated. To date, more than 400 CLET students have successfully navigated their way through the selection process and entered the police academy in all Australian State and Territory Police jurisdictions after completing one of our suggested courses. 

The goal is to prepare students at a higher level of understanding where they will enter this career with their eyes open to the realities and trauma that can be associated with being a police officer, including being prepared for testing. The CLET Certificate IV in Crime and Justice Studies (10283NAT) provide a strong understanding of the criminal justice system, the relevant criminal law and how laws are made, social issues, expected workplace behaviour and how to complete court documents. Diploma of Crime and Justice Studies (10284NAT) students will also cover victimology, investigations, correctional issues and more. They may also use their Diploma for entry into a relevant university degree if they wish to further their studies.

CLET has received feedback from many of our students who studied our crime and justice courses prior to entering a policing career. They consistently say they were able to hit the ground running in the academy as they already had an good understanding of many of the subjects covered in their training. They go on to say that with this understanding they were confident and settled into academy life quicker.

CLET police preparation courses Include:

Crime and Justice Short Program (for the more experienced)

10283NAT Certificate IV in Crime and Justice Studies

10284NAT Diploma of Crime and Justice Studies

In addition to studying one of the above courses, CLET provides you with an employment preparation area when you finish your studies to prepare for psychometric testing and police interview.

Other Employment Options:

Our Crime and Justice Studies students have also reported they have successfully secured employment in the following areas:

  • Correctional Officer
  • Border Force
  • RSPCA Inspector
  • Legal Support - law firm
  • Government Administration Roles
  • Ranger

Useful links

If you wish to study with CLET to achieve a policing career, always check you satisfy ALL entry requirements before enrolling into a CLET course. These can include: age, citizenship/residency, drivers licence, criminal and traffic history, medical and fitness requirements, plus others.

Australian Federal Police Recruitment

NSW Police Force Recruitment

Victoria Police Recruitment

Queensland Police Recruitment

Western Australia Police Force Recruitment

South Australia Police Recruitment

Tasmania Police Recruitment

Northern Territory Police Recruitment

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