How do I Become a SWAT Team Member?

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  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 June 2019
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An individual who wants to become a SWAT team member should start by completing the requirements to be hired as an officer in the local police or sheriff's department. Before applying for a position on the Special Weapons and Tactics team, an officer needs to have at least three years of practical experience. Some SWAT positions require a minimum of five years of working experience before considering candidates for open positions.

The SWAT team is an elite unit within a police force. Officers are called on to deal with high-risk situations. The SWAT team will step in to provide assistance to secure crime scenes, work in conjunction with anti-terrorist agencies, and attend events involving hostages or individuals who are threatening suicide. SWAT officers may also attend drug raids or situations where a suspect is barricaded inside a building or other location.

Each police force has its own set of qualifications required to apply for a position as a patrol officer. In some cases, a department sets the minimum age for recruits at 21 years. Completing a degree in criminal justice is a good way to prepare for a career in law enforcement.


An officer who wants to advance his or her career to become a SWAT team member should take advantage of any opportunities offered to upgrade his or her skills. Team members must not only be well versed in handling various kinds of weaponry, but they must also be up to date on guidelines for appropriate use of force and courtroom procedures.

Being physically fit is a requirement for all police officers. Someone who wants to become a SWAT team member will need to demonstrate a certain level of fitness as part of the application process. Taking the necessary steps to stay in peak physical condition will only help an officer reach his or her goal of becoming a member of this elite squad.

Only in movies does a person who doesn't perform well as part of a team achieve success as part of a SWAT unit. Someone with a stated goal to become a SWAT team member must be able to take directions well and think clearly in high-stress situations. The time to start demonstrating these traits is before applying for a spot on a SWAT team. They will be noted in performance reviews conducted by the police force. After the officer has applied for a position with SWAT, his or her coworkers and supervisor may be interviewed about his or her ability to work with others.


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