Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship

What is it?

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) route into policing enables you to receive practical on-the-job learning alongside academic theory and knowledge while earning a wage. You will be a police officer from your first day on the job.   

You will be awarded a degree in professional policing practice on successful completion of your apprenticeship.

The first Police Constable Degree Apprentices started with forces in September 2018 and there are currently over 600 in training.

What does the programme cover?

The PCDA typically takes three years to complete. Assessment of academic and operational competence takes place throughout the programme. The assessment is carried out in a collaborative partnership between a force and one or more learning providers such as a local university.

This is a professional degree very much founded on effective professional performance with academic achievement. The programme covers a breadth, depth and range of professional education for the police constable not present in any previous constable training programme.

The PCDA covers areas that are critical to effective policing in the 21st century, such as evidence-based policing, supporting vulnerable people, dealing with cybercrime and crime prevention. An equivalent apprenticeship framework has been developed for Wales. 

If you want to find out more about the standard and assessment plan, the Police constable apprenticeship standard and Police constable assessment plan outlines what is expected in greater detail.

The PCDA is embedded as part of the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF). The College has developed PCDA supporting resources for forces and learning providers to assist with implementation.

If you want to join the Police Service of England and Wales as a police constable, you must be successful in a number of recruitment stages. One of these is the Police SEARCH® Recruit Assessment Centre.  

How do I apply?

You need to check with an individual force to see when they open applications for their PCDA programmes. 

To apply to be on a PCDA, you need to be between 18 and 55 and you are likely to have achieved a level 3 qualification (which is A-level or equivalent).

Forces may accept training or work experience, whether undertaken in or outside England and Wales, which is considered to be equivalent to a level 3 qualification according to the UK government guide to educational levels.

You can apply to more than one force at a time, however you can only sit the assessment centre once within a 6 month period, unless otherwise notified by the force you are applying to. 

Don't forget to check the precise eligibility criteria with your chosen force before applying.

You can check with your chosen force for more information regarding current and future recruitment campaigns.

Further Information

More information is available on the Police Officer page and through our FAQs developed for those currently working in policing, and FAQs for those not currently working in policing.


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