Police Recruit / Entry Level Applicants

A Police Recruit is an entry level position and is someone who does not have police/peace officer experience or training within the State of California. This classification applies to police officers from other states and federal law enforcement officers who do not possess a California P.O.S.T. Academy Certificate. The San Jose Police Department does not accept the California P.O.S.T. Waiver.

You must meet the following qualifications. If you meet them, move on to step #2.

  • No prior experience or training is necessary
  • At least 20-1/2 years old at the time of application / Maximum age is 70 years old (mandatory retirement age)
  • Must be a citizen of the United States or have applied for citizenship
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license authorizing operation of a motor vehicle in the U.S.
  • U.S. high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED); waived if you have a college degree from an accredited college within the U.S.
  • Forty (40) semester college credits or 60 quarter college credits from an accredited college or university. Credits in-progress or from another police academy are not accepted. (Military Veterans with honorable discharge can substitute four (4) years of service in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard in lieu of the minimum college credit requirement)
  • Must have at least 20/40 uncorrected vision

STEP #2:  SUBMIT APPLICATION If you meet the qualifications,   apply here



The PHQ is a pre-screen questionnaire about you. Upon receiving and acceptance of test results, we will email you the website address to take the on-line PHQ. We receive your results of your PHQ generally seven business days after you complete it. After passing the PHQ we will schedule you for your Oral Board Exam. Those screened-out from the PHQ will be notified as to how they may contact a Background Investigator to discuss the results.


We will review your application. Once accepted, we will email you the webpage link to schedule the California P.O.S.T. PELLETB (written exam), WSTB (physical agility exam) and 1.5 mile run (testing fees may apply). To move forward to STEP #5, you must:

  • Successfully complete the California P.O.S.T. Reading and Writing Test (PELLETB), with a “T-score” of 50 or higher.
  • Successfully complete the California P.O.S.T. physical agility test also known as the Work Sample Test Battery (WSTB) with a score of 320 or higher. For more information about the WSTB course, please click here.
  • Successfully complete the 1.5 mile run in 14 minutes or less
  • We accept California P.O.S.T. “T-scores” and 1.5 mile completion from other agencies, if it has been taken within the last year of when you submitted your SJPD application. It will be the applicant's responsibility to submit proof for verification of his/her results. Verification must be on an agency letterhead where the test was administered and list the test date, type of test administer and your results. Please note that agencies vary in their physical agility testing and we can only accept those that are referred to as “WSTB.”
  • Once you receive your test results you will submit them (usually by email) to us to verify you've met the minimum requirements to move on to the next step.
  • We do not accept other tests in lieu of the California PELLETB or WSTB as referred to above.



The Oral Board Exam is a panel interview which an applicant will be asked five to eight questions, not necessarily police related. Applicants who successfully complete the Oral Board Exam will be placed on an eligibility list for the Background Investigation Process. Those selected to the Background Investigation Process will be notified approximately two to three weeks after the last Oral Board Exam of the testing cycle.

For those moving forward will then begin the Background Investigation Process.


STEP #6: Background Investigation Process

For those moving forward will then begin the Background Investigation Process. You will be given instruction to complete your Personal History Statement (PHS), otherwise known as your background packet. Once you complete your PHS and have submitted it, you will then be assigned a Background Investigator. The San Jose Police Department does not accept a PHS from other agencies. Click here to learn more about the Background Investigation Process.

Once your background inquiry is complete, it will then be reviewed by the hiring board for employment selection. Those selected will be given a conditional offer of employment contingent upon successfully passing the city medical exam. Successful completion of the city medical exam, applicants will be given notice of their start day for the San Jose Police Academy.



Police Recruits are considered a City of San Jose employee and will attend The San Jose Police Academy, earning $32.19 an hour. The academy is a 24 week program with approximately 1120 hours of training. The training is conducted during the weekdays from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm with some training conducted after hours and on weekends. The academy is not a “live-in” academy and Police Recruit Officers will be required to find their own living arrangements and daily transportation. Click here for more information about the San Jose Police Academy.

Upon graduating from the San Jose Police Academy, recruit officers will then enter the Field Training Program.



The Field Training Officer (FTO) program is the “street” training for officers just graduating from the academy. This is a period where newly graduated Police Recruit Officers will take what they learned in the academy and apply it to the street. For Lateral Police Officers this is a period of preparation, training transition and integration into the San Jose Police Department. New officers in the FTO program will be assigned to experienced, San Jose Field Training Officers for a 17 week training period. Daily evaluations are given to document progress through this training period. Click here to read more about the FTO training structure.

Those who successfully complete the Field Training Program are assigned to the Patrol Division as a solo beat officer. All officers, in their first three years of service as a San Jose Police Officer, must be assigned to the Patrol Division. After the three year period, an officer is eligible to test for a specialized assignment or take the promotional exam for the rank of sergeant.


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