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Jeff L
11-07-04, 06:59 PM
I've heard a lot of talk recently about putting oneself through an academy. Could someone please explain this process? Every department i've looked at (mostly in Virginia and Georgia) have thier own academies they send you to.

Is sending yourself to an academy simply something that is done in states where they choose not to run their own within each department or is it something that people choose to do regardless to become more competitive? Assuming the latter, is it really much of an edge?

Best regards, Jeff

11-07-04, 07:25 PM
Well, look at it this way. You can apply to dept. after dept. until one picks you up. The whole process could take 6-12 months. If they don't hire you, then you have to keep trying elsewhere. Finally, when you get hired, they will sponsor you through an academy. It may be their own, or it may be another depts. Then after another 5-6 months in the academy you can start with the dept. The upside to that is a guaranteed job when you graduate, the downside, trying to prove you are better than the hundreds of other potential applicants they could sponsor.

On the other hand, you can test to get into an academy, which is a much EASIER process, and pay your way. Here in CA, the academy can range from $2,000 to $5,000 for the whole thing. Once you graduate and even while your in the academy, you can apply to various agencies. Recruiters will come to the academy too. When the agency looks at your application and sees that you have already done the academy and they don't have to spend $15,000 on paying you and putting you through, they will have a much more favorable outlook on you than the person mentioned in the first paragraph. The depts. liability decreases and they hire you on with little or no overhead. I did it this way and haven't had a problem. Got my first pic of depts. and have been happy with my choice ever since.

To answer you last question, yes, it can be that much more of an edge to have paid your own way rather than letting the dept. pick and choose. Of course, their are some departments who require you to go to their academy and will pay the way for every recruit. The CHP is like that. If I had to do it all over again, I would have done it the same exact way! Not to mention, it gives you flexibility in choosing where you want to go, rather than applying to every dept. just hoping to get picked up.

Hope that helped!

11-07-04, 08:36 PM
In TN, you have one of two ways to get into the police academy. Either sponsored by a law enforcement agency, or through a school/university. If you are sponsored by a LE agency, they will pay for you to go, plus pay you while you are in the academy. My dept even paid overtime for anything over 40 hrs while I was in.

If you decide to put yourself through by going through the school. You are paying tuition costs, plus another $3k for the academy. People who have the money (and the 10 weeks time to be gone) have done it, but rarely.

It is very hard to do on your own. Number 1, the cost, and number 2, being out for 10 weeks while not gettin paid. Like I said, it can be done, but it will cost a pretty penny. ;)

11-07-04, 10:39 PM
In Florida where Im going to be attending an academy, you can put yourself through an academy, or try and apply to an agency that will send you through theirs. I've checked around down here, and please dont quote me on it, but I've only seen a few department here that have their own academy, and its the big departments usually. FHP, Miami, and I think Tampa. I went to the Florida Department of Law enforcements website when I was doing all my "homework" on becoming a cop, and I only saw about 11 departments that will sponsor a recruit through an academy. However, many (if not most) departments offer tuituion reimburstment programs that once your hired after you complete the academy, they will reimburst you for whatever you paid for tuition. And i've also found that most departments put on their "requirements" information, on the applications that you all ready have your state certification. And from what i've been seeing on this board, its A LOT easier to sponsor yourself than go through a department. My application process is simple. take the CJBAT test, fill out the application to the community college, and then one to the academy. complete the application, get a phsyical, and then submit the application after you pay the fee. They'll run your background and you'll get a response back pretty quick saying whether or not your eligable for the academy. No interview required. I was told soon after they get the application as long as there is nothing wrong with your criminal history and your application, your assigned to a class. At least thats what I was told by the community college im going to be attending at. And I've also learned that when you start the academy most departments down here allow you to apply with them while your attending. and from what i can tell based on their time *estimates* if you start applying soon after you start the academy, you should be hired within a couple months of graduating.

Jeff L
11-07-04, 11:00 PM
Does anyone know about Virginia specifically (or what academies are available here for that matter)?


11-08-04, 05:35 PM
There is probably a more comprehensive list somewhere, but a quick web search revealed the following:


11-08-04, 05:56 PM
Hi Jeff,

I inquired about this also in my area (same as yours). The contact at the deparment I am looking at said the only academy in Virginia that accepts tuition enrollment for non LEO's is in Northern Virginia. http://www.cardinalacademy.org/

Quote from site:

"Pre-Employment Training Now Available

Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy is proud to announce the opportunity for students who have not yet been employed by a criminal justice agency to attend the academy on a tuition basis. The academy's pre-employment program is open to anyone who desires to train to be a law enforcement officer, a jailor/court services officer or a police/fire dispatcher. Pre-employment students receive the same high quality training that the academy provides to our member agency personnel. Enroll now and begin building your career as criminal justice officer.

For more information, contact Cindy Sarver at 540.375.3095 to enroll in the free on-line orientation program."

Hope this helps. Didn't help me much - don't want to travel that far at this point! or pay the $3,200.00 tuition. :(

11-08-04, 06:16 PM
Sound like a lot of the states are similar to mine. You can sponsor yourself, which I did and IMHO shows commitment and dedication, and makes you look more attractive to departments, but also costs quite a bit of money. You also then usually get to start working right away after being hired. Or, you can wait to be hired and get it paid for by the department if you are competitive enough to be selected without the certification.

11-09-04, 02:34 AM
wow, i must be getting a pretty decent rate.. $2000 for tuition and $500 for books and uniforms and any equipment. two words for me.. "Student Loan" :D

11-09-04, 03:52 AM
I am self sponsored in an academy right now in Los Angeles Co. I am in what is known as extended academy that means I am in academy about 15-20 hours a week depending on course load. My classes cover all the same topics as a normal basic POST academy, with the excpetion of high speed driving and somefireamrs, for that I must transfer to another academy to complete the process.

It will take approx. a year for me to recieve my basic post certificate, but in that time I can work my regular job as well as apply for positions as a reserve officer (I will be reserved qualified in 1 month).

One of the greatest benefits is that when you sit for the orals and they ask what you have done to prepare you can say "...well I just finished Academy".

You can show you are motivated, and prepared. Also many smaller agencies will jump at the chance to hire a prequalified officer for the cost savings alone,

Jeff L
11-09-04, 08:24 AM
$3200 isn't too bad really, I might have to see about asking Uncle Sam about that when I get out of the Army. ;)

Thanks all!

11-09-04, 12:40 PM
I'm also putting myself through the academy. I figure I will have an edge when I apply locally as I will already have passed TCLEOSE (TX state licensing) over an applicant that the PD will have to spend $$ on to put through the academy. Very few departments around here will sponser you.

11-09-04, 04:30 PM
I am putting myself through the Butte College Post Academy in Northern California. Its $1750.00 I think plus uniforms. I start in Jan, anyone else going by chance?


11-09-04, 04:51 PM
DCJS regulates all Virginia LE Academies.
Just use the "Search By Agency Type:" and click "Training Academies".

Jeff L
11-17-04, 05:33 PM
Any opinions on the Sacramento County Sheriff's Training Academy? I lived in Sacramento County for nine years and have a handful of friends and family there so the idea appeals to me.

They claim that upon graduation you are issued a POST certificate which is valid for lateral transfer to any (most any?) department in California. Is this a valid statement? Also:

-Any idea on the likelyhood of being hired by the county upon graduation?
-How frequently and in what volume do they hire?
-How competitive are they in terms of academy acceptance and in terms of post academy hiring?
-Given the above average drug culture in California; Do I hold a considerable advantage having never been in contact with any illegal substance (never ever ;) ) or should I expect more of a "uh yeah good for you" reception? For the sake of this argument, I will have completed my BBA degree from a highly competitive university by that time and most likely will have completed four years of military service (have not been to MEPS *yet* so thats still in the air).

I know most people here won't know this offhand, but i'm hoping there are a couple Sacto's floating around here ;)

11-22-04, 04:59 PM
It sounds like with your qualifications, you have a good chance of being hired by a department and having them sponsor you through an academy. My husband is currently in an academy where about half of the cadets are putting themselves through. There are people who have put out all of the money $3500+, time, effort and gone without an income for six months who have no chance of being hired because they keep getting hung up on stuff in their background. Graduating from an academy doesn't guarantee that you are employable unfortunately. There are so many departments hiring and sponsoring, especially if you're looking at California, that you might as well try applying some places before sponsoring yourself.

11-23-04, 08:15 AM
I am putting myself through the Butte College Post Academy in Northern California. Its $1750.00 I think plus uniforms. I start in Jan, anyone else going by chance?

I went to Butte for a couple of years back in 2000, Great college and great town. I will return to finish college (Chico State) as soon as I get out of the Corps. Hope to see you around. Take care.


11-23-04, 03:36 PM
Anyone in Illinois put themselves through?