How to Become a Police Officer in Maryland

    Maryland has over 5.9 million residents and a population growth rate of 13%, giving the state a constant need for top-quality police officers.1 With close proximity to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York, Maryland is a great place to enter the field of law enforcement. The state has high standards for its officers but also provides the programs and training needed for success. To become a police officer in Maryland, minimum state requirements must be met along with the specific requirements for the district in which you will be applying. Often, local police forces have stricter requirements than the minimum state requirements. Continue reading to learn more about what it takes to become a cop in Maryland.

    Maryland Police Officer Requirements

    Minimum hiring and training guidelines for Maryland police officers are set by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC). While many local police departments have additional requirements that must also be satisfied, statewide, candidates must at a minimum:

    • Be a US citizen
    • Be 21 years or older
    • Have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED)
    • Pass a background investigation including a credit check
    • Not have any felony convictions or have been convicted of disqualifying misdemeanors, which include drug-related charges
    “As we approach 2020, leaders in American law enforcement are looking for resilient, optimistic individuals who believe that they can be catalysts for positive change in their communities and who have the education, training, and diversity of experiences that prepare them to lead that change.” – Chief Hank Stawinski, President, Maryland Chiefs of Police Association

    Maryland Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

    The Maryland Department of State Police (MDSP), which provides highway patrol services in the state, was established in 1921. The organization focuses on three core values of integrity, fairness, and service to the community. The troopers are sworn to protect the people, fight crime, and ensure safety on the roads through strict enforcement of the law. The starting salary for Maryland state troopers is $35,000 in training and $47,859 upon graduation from the training academy.2 Those seeking to become Maryland state troopers must meet state-level requirements and:

    • Have a valid driver’s license from any state with no more than three points
    • Have 20/20 vision for both near and far, with or without correction
    • Not have any drug-related charges, including marijuana, in the prior three years
    • Be of good moral character with a good reputation
    • Have no court orders or convictions relating to domestic violence
    • Be honest in every step of the application process

    Maryland Sheriff Deputy Requirements

    Maryland has established sheriffs’ offices in each county of the state. The sheriff is an elected position and the sheriff serves for four years. The primary goals of the sheriff’s office are to enforce the law, provide security for courtrooms, operate and secure jails and detention centers, and protect the life and property of the citizens of Maryland. An estimated 24 sheriffs and 1,600 deputies serve the residents of Maryland.3 While each sheriff’s office in the state has its own individual requirements for employment, candidates must at a minimum meet the standards set by the MPCTC.

    Anne Arundel County

    The Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Office (AACSO) was one of the first sheriff’s offices in the country, established in 1650. This office has expanded its duties and now runs departments including judicial protection, child support, domestic violence, warrants, landlord-tenant issues, K-9 units, and summons. Deputy sheriffs in Anne Arundel county earn a starting salary of $45,352 per year, which with longevity can increase to up to $70,398 per year.4

    Baltimore City

    The Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) is very active in the community. Baltimore is divided into 21 districts with each district assigned a deputy officer. Divisions within the department include child support, security, K-9 unit, transportation, traffic, warrant control, accounting, domestic violence, and internal affairs. The starting salary for BCSO deputies is $41,664 per year.5 Candidates must meet state requirements to qualify as a Baltimore sheriff’s deputy.

    “Law enforcement agencies are continuously looking for diverse, motivated, community-oriented individuals who can capture and absorb the broad responsibilities of the policing environment. It’s never too early to start preparing yourself for a career in law enforcement; from what you post on social media to drug and alcohol usage to employment and education history, be conscious of how the decisions you make today can impact you in the future. Do your research on what agencies expect of you to be qualified for the job so that when the time comes to apply or test, you’re well prepared to advance in the process. Lastly, get involved in your community and look for Cadet or Auxiliary opportunities to build employment and rapport for future sworn employment.” – Howard County Police Department

    Police Departments in Maryland

    In 2014, nearly 14,000 police officers and sheriff’s patrol officers worked in Maryland according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.6 These officers are sworn to protect and serve the citizens of the state. To become a police officer in Maryland, state standards must be met; additional qualifications may be necessary, depending on the city or county agency to which you are applying.


    The Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is the eighth-largest municipal police force in the United States. Staffed by approximately 4,000 civilian and sworn personnel, the BPD includes a SWAT team, marine unit, K-9 unit, crime lab unit, aviation unit, mounted unit, special ops unit, and a cyber-crimes unit.7 Baltimore police earn a starting annual salary of $51,953, with increases possible up to a base of $88,989 per year.7

    Applicants who wish to become a police officer in Baltimore must meet state standards and:

    • Demonstrate fluent English
    • Not currently have more than three points on their driving record, nor have a history of poor driving
    • Not have DUI/DWI convictions within the past five years
    • Must have misdemeanor charges, if applicable, expunged
    • Not have illegally used any substances within the past three years

    For more on the BPD, visit our guide to police careers in Baltimore.


    The Annapolis Police Department (APD) works to ensure the safety of residents and visitors in Maryland’s capital city. The APD was founded over 150 years ago and has a focus on diversity and community outreach. Approximately 114 sworn officers work for the APD, which offers a starting annual salary of $48,425.8 Recruit candidates must meet state requirements and also must not have any illegal drug use within the 12 months preceding the application.

    Police Training Academies in Maryland

    Maryland hosts 12 police academies throughout the state. This includes a combination of regional academies and department-run academies. Each are certified by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC). Due to its proximity to Washington, DC, some Maryland academies work with federal agencies as needed.

    All candidates are required to successfully complete the academy training as an entry-level employment requirement. The training lasts six months and includes both classroom and physical training. Recruits learn about state and federal laws, patrol tactics, defense tactics, aid as a first responder, emergency vehicle operations, and use of firearms.

    Accredited Maryland police academies are located in the following areas:

    • Anne Arundel County Police Academy – Davidson, MD
    • Baltimore County Training Academy – Baltimore, MD
    • Baltimore Police Department Education & Training Division – Owings Mills, MD
    • Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy – Salisbury, MD
    • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – Cheltenham, MD
    • Harford County Sheriff’s Academy – Bel Air, MD
    • Maryland Natural Resources Police Academy – Stevensville, MD
    • Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions – Woodstock, MD
    • Maryland State Police Training Division – Pikesville, MD
    • Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy – Rockville, MD
    • Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy – Faulkner, MD
    • Western Maryland Police Academy – Hagerstown, MD

    Maryland Police Jobs Outlook

    Police employment in Maryland is expected to contract by about 1% over the next few years, with an anticipated reduction in force of 150 officers across the state.9 However, due to replacements for police who retire or leave the force, there are expected to be an average of 840 annual openings for prospective new cops.9 The median annual salary for Maryland police officers is $66,020.6

    For more information current law enforcement openings, take a look at our police jobs board.

    Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Maryland

    CityNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
    Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville1,970$73,610
    Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV13,890$71,480

    Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.6

    1. Sperling’s Best Places, Maryland: https://www.bestplaces.net/state/maryland
    2. Maryland State Police: https://mdsp.maryland.gov/Careers/Pages/StateTrooper.aspx
    3. Maryland Sheriffs’ Association: https://www.mdsheriffs.org/office-of-sheriff
    4. Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.aacounty.org/sheriff/career-opportunities
    5. Baltimore County Government: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/baltimorecounty/jobs/2342892/deputy-sheriff
    6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Maryland: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_md.htm
    7. Baltimore Police Department: https://bpdrecruit.org/
    8. Annapolis Police Department: https://www.annapolis.gov/police
    9. Projections Central: https://www.projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm