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How young is too young?

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  • How young is too young?

    I am currently 20 years old but will be turning 21 in september, i will have my associates/60 credits that most places require to get hired. My question is, am i too young? will they pick an older recruit over myself even though i would be just as qualified? Should i wait a couple years to apply or should starting young be beneficial for my career?

  • #2
    Considering most places still have a "length of service" retirement system the younger you start the better.

    Start applying to places now if this is what you want to do. It will also be easier on the family down the road if it's what you've been doing before wife and kids as opposed to having them and starting LE work.

    Get it where you fit in as soon as you can.

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    • #3
      Yep, I happen to agree with what's been posted above. Another applicant can always be chosen over you regardless of age.

      Some agencies (do some research) will actually allow you to begin testing prior to your 21st birthday. You might want to check on this. Your mission currently, is to become the best, most competitive candidate possible.

      You do this by applying and competing in the hiring process. Possibly, you won't make the cut the first time around, or even the first few times around, but you keep trying. The time for you to start is NOW, not two years down the road.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
        Your mission currently, is to become the best, most competitive candidate possible.

        You do this by applying and competing in the hiring process. Possibly, you won't make the cut the first time around, or even the first few times around, but you keep trying. The time for you to start is NOW, not two years down the road.
        I agree with my colleague. I would add that just because the minimum requirements are being 21 and having an associates could get you in, being 23 with a bachelors AND some life experience is much better.

        “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

        Miyamoto Musashi

        “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

        George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

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        • #5
          Personally I would rather not hire anyone under 25---------------but that is a personal thing

          (Full disclosure, I was 20 when I first started in Law Enforcement-----I was WAY too young)
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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          • #6
            It literally depends on the applicant. At a prior agency we hired someone when she was 18 and she did a tremendous job. OTOH we had guys in their 40s and 50s who still acted like idiots.

            Go ahead and apply. If you've got it in you to do the job, the oral panel and BI should spot it.
            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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            • #7
              I am 20 years old turning 21 by the end of the month. Personally I am finishing my double bachelors degree in criminology and spanish, I should be graduating in next May. I am planning to apply within the next 6 months for a couple of agencies I am interested in or should I wait until I have graduated?

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              • #8
                I started my first LE job when I was around your age. In retrospect I would have been better off if I had waited a couple more years. Still I habe not done half bad.
                In God We Trust
                Everyone else we run local and NCIC

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                  Personally I would rather not hire anyone under 25---------------but that is a personal thing

                  (Full disclosure, I was 20 when I first started in Law Enforcement-----I was WAY too young)
                  Same for me. I was sworn in at 20 and my chief said if he had his choice, he wouldn't hire anyone under 26. At the time I thought he was full of crap. Now I see the wisdom of his words.

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                  • #10
                    I recommend you move on it if you feel you're ready. Life experience and maturity will come.

                    PS.
                    There are a quadrillion pieces of advice but I'll pass along just two that I learned the hard way. 1) Don't be so smart you think you can reinvent the wheel. 2) Apply the law, don't lecture your elders.

                    Good luck.
                    Harry S. Truman, (1884-1972)
                    “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.”

                    Capt. E.J. Land USMC,
                    “Just remember – life is hard. But it’s one hell of a lot harder if you’re stupid.

                    George Washington, (1732-1799)
                    "I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."

                    Originally posted by Country_Jim
                    ... Thus far, I am rooting for the zombies.

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                    • #11
                      There are a lot of life lessons and stupid mistakes you make in your 20s.

                      You will possibly be learning those lessons, and making those mistakes, with a gun and a badge.

                      Can you do it? Sure. Plenty do. Is it optimal? No, probably not.

                      I would suggest getting some military time and/or more college under your belt... possibly with a "campus security aid" type job or something similar... but you certainly don't have to.

                      IMO you'll be a bit behind the power curve. Just know that going in.
                      "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                      "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by alexac9 View Post
                        I am 20 years old turning 21 by the end of the month. Personally I am finishing my double bachelors degree in criminology and spanish, I should be graduating in next May. I am planning to apply within the next 6 months for a couple of agencies I am interested in or should I wait until I have graduated?
                        I would suggest applying to as many places as possible as soon as possible. When I was getting close to graduation a professor put it this way for us. You dont want the first time you are applying to be for your dream job. The application process is very competitive and it can take some time to get comfortable with filling out 30 page applications, how to prepare for PFIT and written tests, interviews with command staff, psychological testing, medical evaluations, ranking high on a list only to be bumped because they only accept military preference points not education.

                        Also, the application process can take anywhere from 3 months to 2-3 years so starting early is always a plus. I applied with an agency in oct 2012 tested in jan of 2013 and in jan of 2014 got moved along to the background phase. I just received a conditional offer of employment so the whole process has taken roughly 19 months. And my luck would have it I've tested so many places I received 2 conditional offers on the same day so that is an added bonus to applying everywhere you can think of.

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                        • #13
                          You meet their age requirement, go for it. I would have loved to had been hired at 21. I got hired at 25 and left at 45. If looking at it from the outside I would say 25-30 is a better age, but your playing by their rules so get hired when you can

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