Military Police


Education and Training Requirements

High School

A high school diploma or its equivalent is the minimum requirement to join a military branch of the armed forces as enlisted personnel. Classes in math, science, history, government, computers, English, and a foreign language will provide a solid foundation for future military police work. Physical education classes are also critical because enlistees must pass physical and medical tests to apply for service.

Postsecondary Training

There are different options for entering the military. Some enlisted personnel enter the military right after high school, agreeing to an enlistment contract and pledging a specified time of service (usually eight years). Enlisted personnel may spend two to six years in active duty and the remaining years in the reserves, depending on the military branch. They must pass medical and physical tests; they take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam, which determines the vocation that best suits them.

Basic training is next, which is eight to 13 weeks. Enlistees have have classroom study, physical training, and training in military skills and protocol during this time. Enlistees may then be assigned to protective services work after basic training, depending on their skills and performance. For military police occupations, further technical and on-the-job training is usually required, which could last from 10 weeks or more. Most military branches have police basic training schools and programs.

Military workers may pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree while off duty. Some take academic programs in criminal justice. Those who pursue a college education before joining the military may attend one of the four service academies: the U.S. Military Academy (Army), the U.S. Naval Academy (Navy and Marines), the U.S. Air Force Academy, or the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. An excellent academic background, involvement in community activities, and proven leadership qualities are among the requirements for entry to these highly competitive schools. Applicants may also need a nomination from an authorized source, which is usually a member of the U.S. Congress. Graduates receive a bachelor of science degree, and are then required to spend a minimum of five years on active duty, beginning as a junior officer.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The military does not offer certification or licensing for military police occupations.

Other Requirements

All military branches require U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status (green card). To enter the Army, Navy, and Air Force, you must be at least 17 years of age. The maximum age to enter the Army is 35; the Navy, 34; the Air Force and Coast Guard, 39; and the Marine Corps, 29. (The maximum age limit is subject to change depending on such factors as the nature of the military service and the demand for recruitment.) Enlistees cannot have a criminal record. There are also height, weight, and vision standards that vary by military branch.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No experience is required to enlist in the military. An interest in law enforcement and the ability to make quick decisions, stay calm in stressful situations, and interact well with people are skills that are helpful to have as a military police officer. Military police are trained and skilled in the use of firearms and basic warrior techniques. They have knowledge of military and civil laws and jurisdiction. They rely on strong management and leadership skills, particularly when controlling crowds and traffic. They use analytical and organizational skills to investigate crimes and collect evidence. They are also physically fit and able to arrest and restrain suspects.