Home Office seeks to widen recruitment net beyond those already in forces for top roles in England and Wales.
People who do not work in policing could compete with senior police for chief constable jobs in England and Wales under new government plans.
The Home Office said choosing police leaders was of the “highest importance” and the College of Policing said individuals would be required to undergo “appropriate training”.
A consultation on the plans is understood to have begun.
Giselle Lockett, professional development leader at the College of Policing, said: “The appointment to become a chief constable requires a candidate to meet some of the most stringent requirements in policing.
“Currently, to become a chief constable, you must pass the police national assessment centre and complete a four-month strategic command course. The requirements reflect the seriousness and importance of the role and are set to identify officers capable of being an effective chief officer.
“The proposed legislation would allow police and crime commissioners to appoint a chief constable from outside policing who would then be required to undergo appropriate training specified by the college.
“We will now consider these proposals alongside our current work to provide advice on appointments including those from chief officer roles in the fire service.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “Choosing our police leaders is of the highest importance to the future of the service and schemes such as Direct Entry bring people from a wide range of backgrounds into forces.”
The direct entry scheme allows candidates from outside policing to join the service at certain ranks and is seen to offer the opportunity to widen the talent pool and bring in people from a diverse range of backgrounds.
A recent survey published by the College of Policing identified a lack of available chief officer candidates, a lack of diversity and a failure to share ideas, thoughts and experiences.