1. Home
  2. Apprentices
  3. Advice
  4. Day To Day
  5. What is the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship?

What is the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain practical skills and knowledge while earning a wage. However, you may wonder, “What is the police constable degree apprenticeship?

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) is a unique and innovative pathway for individuals aspiring to become police officers. This program blends practical on-the-job training with academic learning, enabling aspiring constables to develop the skills and knowledge required for a fulfilling and challenging career in law enforcement.

What is the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship

Understanding the PCDA

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship is a relatively recent development in policing. It was introduced to provide a more accessible and flexible route into policing, allowing individuals to earn while they learn.

Entry Requirements

To be eligible for the PCDA, candidates need to meet specific entry requirements:

  1. Age: Applicants must be at least 18 when they start the apprenticeship.
  2. Nationality: In most cases, you must be a British citizen, an EU/EEA national, or a Commonwealth citizen with indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
  3. Qualifications: While there’s no strict requirement for academic qualifications, you should be able to demonstrate your ability to study at degree level. This might include having A-levels, other qualifications, or relevant work experience.
  4. Criminal Record Check: As you’ll be working in law enforcement, you must pass thorough background checks. Certain criminal convictions may disqualify you from the program.
  5. Fitness: You should be physically fit to undertake the role’s demands, and you’ll need to pass a fitness test.

Structure of the PCDA

The PCDA typically spans three years and combines practical training on the job with academic studies. Here’s how it generally breaks down:

Year 1: During this year, apprentices will work closely with their police force, gaining hands-on experience in various aspects of policing, such as patrolling, investigations, and community engagement. Simultaneously, they will undertake academic studies focused on policing.

Year 2: The second year is often a continuation of practical work while delving deeper into academic subjects related to policing. This is when apprentices start to specialise in particular areas of policing based on their interests and the needs of the police force.

Year 3: In the final year, apprentices consolidate their learning and prepare for their policing career. They might have opportunities for advanced training and specialisation. This year also often includes assessment and examination to ensure apprentices meet the required standards.

Academic Component

A partner university usually delivers the academic aspect of the PCDA. You’ll work towards achieving a Level 6 degree in Professional Policing, recognised by the College of Policing. The academic content covers various aspects of policing, including law, ethics, community policing, and more.

Work-Based Learning

The heart of the PCDA is the practical experience gained on the job. As an apprentice, you’ll be an integral part of your police force, working alongside experienced officers. This hands-on experience is invaluable for developing the skills and knowledge needed to effectively serve and protect the community.

Earning While Learning

One of the significant advantages of the PCDA is that apprentices are paid a salary throughout their training. The salary varies depending on the police force and location but ranges from around £18,000 to £30,000 per annum.

Benefits of the PCDA

  1. Diverse Career Opportunities: Policing offers various career paths, from detectives to traffic officers to specialised units like the dog or firearms unit.
  2. Community Impact: Policing is a rewarding career where you can make a tangible difference in your local community.
  3. Job Security: Policing is an essential public service, so there’s a consistent demand for police officers.
  4. Professional Development: Policing offers continuous opportunities for learning and development throughout your career.
  5. Competitive Salary: Police constables earn competitive salaries, and there are opportunities for advancement.


The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity for individuals to pursue a career in law enforcement. It provides a blend of academic learning and practical experience, ensuring that new constables are well-prepared to effectively serve and protect their communities. If you’re passionate about positively impacting and upholding the law, the PCDA could be your perfect pathway.

Updated on September 2, 2023

Was this helpful?

Related content