How to Become a SWAT Team Member

When you become a SWAT team member, you will work to provide a timely and effective response to emergency situations.

Nearly all police departments have SWAT teams, and they respond to the most dangerous and hostile situations, such as hostage scenarios, rescue operations, counter-terrorism operations, and raids on highly dangerous criminals.

SWAT stands for special weapons and tactics.

SWAT officers are trained in firearms, tactics, and response to a much more involved level than a regular police officer since they face far more dangerous situations.

The first SWAT team was established in Los Angeles in 1968.

Since then, law enforcement departments around America and Canada have set up their own SWAT teams to handle to most extreme law enforcement situations.

Education Requirements to Become a SWAT Team Member

To become a SWAT team member, you’ll need to first become a police officer within a law enforcement department.

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Entry into most departments requires a high school diploma.

If you are looking towards promotion, then the best opportunity will be found as a college graduate.

An ideal qualification is a four year law enforcement or criminal justice degree since federal branches of law enforcement require a four year degree as a minimum.

To work in law enforcement you must be 18 years of age in most places, sometimes older.

You must have a clean criminal history, and be in excellent physical condition.

When a part of a SWAT team, some departments require that their officers don’t drink or smoke.

You’ll need to complete at least three years of experience working as a police officer before you will be able to be considered for a role of SWAT team member.

If you’re considered for the role, you will need to pass stringent physical fitness and medical tests.

You’ll also need to pass psychological screening.

You’ll need to have a very thorough knowledge of firearms to become a SWAT team member.

Although you’ll receive a good deal of training, you’ll need to pass some weapons accuracy tests before you are accepted.

A final review board will make the decision as to whether you are accepted into the SWAT team.

SWAT Job Description

When you become a SWAT team member, your role is to respond to various emergency situations.

These are the scenarios that regular police officers are not considered to have the expertise to deal with.

Raid, hostage scenarios, difficult search and rescues, and other similar types of situations are handles by the SWAT team.

A SWAT officer may also conduct a search of a property or arrest a suspect when the suspect in question is known to be violent or in possession of dangerous weapons.

When you join the SWAT team you will be trained in a variety of skills to deal with these scenarios.

Negotiation, firearms training, and rescue operations are all part of the training of the SWAT team.

Typical members of the team have the ability to think on their feet, and also are able to remain calm under pressure.

Here are some of the tasks and situations a SWAT team member might be face with:

  • Responding to a kidnapping
  • Responding to a hostage situation
  • Responding to an armed robbery
  • Responding to a situation that is violent or involved firearms
  • Conducting raids
  • Serving warrants
  • Completing paperwork and reports

SWAT Team Salary and Career Path

Before you become a SWAT team member, you will need to have some experience within a police department.

Many in the SWAT team go on to more specialized roles, supervise other officers, or coordinate operations.

Some move into different areas of law enforcement.

The average salary of a SWAT team member is $60,000 a year.

Those working in a supervisory position could expect to earn closer to $75,000 a year.

Some similar jobs to that of SWAT team member you might be interested in include:

  • Police officer
  • Private investigator
  • Correctional officer
  • Paramedic
  • Parole officer
  • Security officer

Working as a SWAT team member is not without its challenges, it is however an exciting career path to follow where no two days are alike.

If you are wanting a career in law enforcement that is a little outside of the ordinary, then you might like to become a SWAT team member.

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