Fit Tactical

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What increases my chances of becoming SWAT?

I want to become SWAT after i get a college degree in criminal justice and/or law enforcement. Which degree would be better for me? What is the best college for one or both degrees (I live in California)? Cal State Long Beach sounds like a good one for criminal justice. I already know that becoming an MP in the Army, having a high rank in the police academy, getting recommendations, and getting a degree in law enforcement and/or criminal justice will help me become SWAT. What else increases my chances of getting into SWAT?

-P.S. Does multiple years of Airsoft experience help me get into SWAT? I'm just wondering. I'm also going to be a 10th grader in Highschool, so i have time to plan out my future.

I can tell you this much right off the bat: you can't expect to get on the SWAT team right out of the police academy, because it isn't going to happen. SWAT teams look for the best, most experienced officers, and a new recruit isn't going to make the cut. Not to mention, SWAT teams usually have a maximum size, so you might have to wait years for an opening, and then compete against other well-qualified candidates.

While SWAT teams aren't looking for college grads - they're looking for the tough, fit, tactical experts on the force - I would hope that you intend to advance your law enforcement career in the future to, say, detective, or even a federal agency. If this is the case, then I can give you advice on college courses. I don't know anything about California State - Long Beach, but I can tell you that criminal justice is not the way to go degree-wise. Instead, consider a school that offers courses in sociology, or even pathology. These degrees are excellent qualifications for an strong career, as they allow a student to understand the workings of the human mind and thought process, and thus get into the heads of criminals as an investigator. I would also suggest minoring in a foreign language and really committing to learning as much of it as you can (Spanish and Arabic are some of the best choices today, but it's up to you), and high school is the perfect place to start. These degrees will advance you through the law enforcement world in the blink of an eye.

Don't go around expecting that military experience will get you into any aspect of law enforcement no sweat. It can help, but you need to have a nearly spotless service record spanning at least four years. A good way to keep up military standards and performance while working as a police officer is to join the Reserves (pick a branch, any branch) or National Guard. As I understand it, this will also give you a good idea of work on the federal level, should you decide to push your career in that direction in the future.

Finally, getting on a SWAT team depends on the department you get. If it's a larger agency, you have a better chance. However, not all big-city departments are hiring, so you might end up with a small-city department with no SWAT team, or one that's poorly trained and rarely used.

And no, airsoft experience has nothing to do with SWAT. Bullets move differently than pellets and departments have their own unique firearms training techniques.

Coincidentally, I'm also going to be a sophomore this year. I'm hoping to major in sociology at Texas A&M, with minors in Spanish and Arabic, join the Corps of Cadets, then apply for the Texas Highway Patrol Academy upon graduation. I'm also considering joining the Marine Corps Reserves, and I hope to eventually make FBI. I plan to try for my master's degree in criminology from Texas A&M - Commerce.

Best of luck to you.

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