How to Become a Sheriff's Officer in Texas


To become a sheriff's officer in Texas, you will need to meet the requirements of the county Sheriff’s Office where you intend to apply. In addition, you must meet requirements of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE). Although requirements differ among the different Texas counties, there are a few commonalities you will encounter in pursuits of your goal.

Things You'll Need

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Valid drivers license
  • Contact the county or counties where you would like to work to ascertain the minimum requirements to be considered for employment, including age, education and experience required.

  • Apply for and obtain a driver's license through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

  • Go to college or enlist in the military to meet the education and experience requirements as set forth by the counties you intend on working for. You must have a least a high school diploma or GED. You may also need some college, experience or some combination thereof. For example, in Midland County Texas, 60 college credits require no prior experience. Anything less than 60 credits will require up to three years experience in conjunction with college credits, adjusted on a sliding scale with the minimum college credits required being 15. The credits can be in any subject, but preferably a criminal justice orientation. Experience in lieu of education that a Sheriff's Office looks for is military service. Aside from military service, college education will be required.

  • Pass the county Sheriff's Office’s physical examination and physical fitness test. To be a sheriff’s officer, you must be healthy and in good physical condition. Your mental health may also be assessed as part of this process. Be prepared to meet height and weight standards, in addition to vision and hearing. To meet height and weight standards, your height and weight must be proportional. The physical fitness test will vary from county to county, but be prepared to pass a test similar to military requirements, being able to run 2-miles in less than 15-minutes, doing a minimum of 42 push-ups in two minutes and at least 40 sit-ups in two minutes. You will be expected to exhibit no major health issues, have excellent hearing and vision correctable to 20/20.

  • Take and pass the written tests as required by the county Sheriff’s office. If you do not or cannot pass the written test, you will not be considered for employment. You will be tested on areas of reading, writing, judgment and observation. Texas does not have a Civil Service exam, therefore each police department and Sheriff's Office will administer its own tests specific to what the office deems crucial for a candidate. Preparing for such tests can be a challenge given that testing varies widely between departments. However, there are some limited study guides available on the market for purchase (see Resource).

  • Pass a background check and do not fail the administered drug test. All agencies will conduct background checks for criminal issues and the check may also include a review of your credit history. You cannot have any convictions resulting in a felony or any Class A misdemeanors. Likewise, if you show you have an issue with drugs or alcohol, no Sheriff's Office will consider you as a trusted officer. You will also need to be prepared to submit to a lie detector test in some counties.

  • Get your TCLEOSE police officer license. This process will involve 40 hours of coursework and require you to pass a comprehensive examination to obtain a basic police officer license. In addition, throughout your career, you will be required to take continuing education courses culminating in other advanced police officer certifications. Some county Sheriff's Offices will hire and train you before completing such requirements; contingent upon you meeting such requirements in a specified timeframe. The TCLEOSE website provides detailed information regarding different types of course you may take, where you can arrange to take classes and examination sites (see Resources).

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