Qualifications: Police Officer and Sheriff Deputy

Qualifications to be a police officer, sheriff deputy or state tooper vary from community to community, so you must research each department that you are applying to. Here are the typical minimum requirements:


Nationality, Age and Education

  • Be at least 18 years old

  • Be a US citizen, either by birth or naturalization

  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalent GED certificate


Required Examinations

The process of becoming a law enforcement officer requires quite a number of examinations, before and during the training period. Before applicants can be considered for employment, they must complete the:

  • Written Exam: Reading and writing ability test

  • Physical Abilities Test (PAT)

  • Medical  exam

  • Psychological evaluation


Background Clearance

Police departments pride themselves on hiring the best candidates possible in order to serve the public to the best of their abilities. All candidates will be investigated and interviewed in order to evaluate past behaviors that may or may not indicate good moral character. 

  • A fingerprint and criminal history check is required

  • Be free of any felony convictions, illegal drug usage, arrests and convictions, frequent or recurring traffic citations, etc

  • Passing a polygraph exam is frequently required.

  • An employment interview is usually required.


Once aspiring officers have met all of the basic requirements, candidates must complete the entry-level training course at an accredited police academy.



Note: The above requirements are from the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, as of June, 2015. Be sure to check the specific requirements for EACH agency that you are applying to.