Application, Hiring and Training Process for Law Enforcement
Below you will find the general process on becoming a certified peace officer in Washington State. Keep in mind, many agencies have their own standards aside from what is outlined below. It is recommended prospective applicants reach out to agencies of interest for the most accurate and up to date information.
Agencies will differ on how they accept peace officer applications. Please refer to agency websites for instructions on submitting application materials.
Here are some links to get you started. Please keep in mind the WSCJTC does not endorse any one organization:
- Directly with the agency
- National Testing Network
- Public Safety Testing
- Wear The Badge WA
Most testing methods may require an initial physical test to be passed in order for applicants to move forward.
Minimum Hiring Qualifications
Age - Applicants must be 21 by the time they graduate from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy. Due to the duration of the academy and length of hiring process, interested applicants can begin to apply around 20-20.5 years. There is no maximum age to apply in Washington.
Citizenship - Applicants must be a citizen of the United States or a lawful permanent resident.
Driver's License - Applicants must have a Washington State driver's license or obtain one upon hire. This applies to out of state applicant's as well.
Education - A High School diploma or GED is required. Some agencies may also require a college level degree.
Language Proficiency - Applicants must be able to read, write and speak English fluently.
Additional Hiring Standards
In addition to the minimum hiring qualifications, agencies also take into consideration an applicant's criminal record, traffic record, financial history, employment history, personal and professional references, drug use and professional appearance. Any disqualifications are determined by individual agencies. This background check process may take up to a few months to complete.
More details can be found on Chapter 139-07 WAC.
Upon successful completion of the application and background test, applicants must pass a medical, psychological and polygraph examination.
Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) Attendance
Washington State does not allow for self-sponsorship to attend BLEA.
All recruits must have successfully passed all phases of the hiring process and be employed with a Washington State law enforcement agency attend BLEA. Agencies will submit recruits' application materials to our Basic Training Staff for processing.
The number of BLEA classes WSCJTC runs each year depends on funding availability. Entrance into BLEA may take months even after the hiring process is complete.
After an agency submits an application packet, recruits are invited to participate in a Physical Ability Test (PAT). Passing scores for this test can be found on the BLEA course page.
Upon successful completion of the PAT, recruits begin their academy. The total length of the academy process is about 4.5 months.
Post Academy Training
After BLEA graduation, officers return to their agency for additional Field Training. The length and facilitation method of this training will vary between agencies.
After successful field training, all Washington State certified peace officers must attend 24 hours of in-service training annually.
If you have any questions about the hiring and/or training process, we suggest first reaching out to your agency of interest. Contact information can typically be found on their city website.
For questions regarding the Basic Law Enforcement Academy, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find a list of career opportunities on our employment page. This is not an extensive list. Openings are only posted if an agency submits them to us.