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 required.
  • 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.
    More information about Accredited College Credits
  • Forty (40) semester college credits or 60 quarter college credits from a U.S. accredited college or university. Credits in-progress or from another police academy are not accepted. (Military Veterans with an honorable discharge can substitute four (4) years of service in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard in lieu of the minimum college credit requirement)
  • Must have at least 20/40 corrected vision
  • No felony, domestic violence or misdemeanor assault convictions; cannot currently be on probation or parole

STEP #1:  SUBMIT APPLICATION  apply here  (If you meet the qualifications listed above)



  • The Personal History Questionnaire consists of approximately 180 questions, which allow an applicant to self-report behavior(s) that have been determined to be related directly to job suitability. The PHQ is designed to identify applicants who do not meet the minimum standards to become a Police Recruit; saving the ineligible applicant considerable time and effort involved in the testing process. PHQ results are valid for one year.



  • Candidates must pass ONE of the below written examinations:
    • PELLETB:  Complete the California P.O.S.T. Reading & Writing Test (PELLETB).  Pass Point is a T-Score total of 50 or higher. (Results valid for three years.)  For more information or to register go to:   OR
    • National Testing Network (NTN):  Complete the National Testing Network Test (NTN).  Pass Point scores are 65% Video, 70% Reading, and 70% Writing. (Results valid for three years).  For more information or to register go to:
  • Complete California P.O.S.T. Physical Agility Test (WSTB).  Pass Point is a score of 320 or higher. Also included in the Physical Agility Test is a 1.5 mile run, which must be completed in 14 minutes or less. (Results valid for one year.)
  • We accept California P.O.S.T. “T-scores” and 1.5 mile completion from other agencies, if taken within the last year of when you submit your SJPD application. Applicant’s taking the PELLETB test will be responsible for submitting proof for verification of his/her results. Verification must be on an agency letterhead, listing where the test was administered, test date, type of test administered and your test results. Please note: Agencies vary in their physical agility testing and we can only accept those referred to as “WSTB.”
    (Note: Testing fees may apply.)
  • Please note we do not accept other tests in lieu of the California PELLETB, NTN or WSTB as referred to above.



  • This is a panel interview. Candidates will be asked five to eight questions, not necessarily police-related. Pass Point is 70% or higher. (Results are valid for three years). Candidates who successfully complete the PHQ, PELLETB or NTN written, WSTB Physical Agility, 1.5 Mile Run, and the Oral Board Interview, will be placed on a list of eligible candidates for the Background Investigation Process.
  • Candidates who successfully complete the PHQ, PELLETB written, WSTB Physical Agility, 1.5 Mile Run, and the Oral Board Interview, will be placed on a list of eligible candidates for the Background Investigation Process. Those selected to move on to the Background Investigation Process will be notified approximately two to three weeks after the last Oral Board Exam of the testing cycle.



  • Candidates will complete a pre-background assessment.
  • Eligible candidates will complete a Personal History Statement (PHS) packet. Background investigators will then be assigned to assist candidates through the process.  Upon successful completion and review of the background investigation, the hiring board will make their employment selections.  Those selected will receive a conditional offer of employment, contingent upon successfully passing a medical and psychological exam.

More about the Background Investigation Process



  • The Academy is a 26 week program. Police Recruits are considered a City of San Jose employee while attending the Academy.  Upon graduation, you will enter the Field Training Program (FTO) for additional training as a SJPD officer on the street. Those who successfully complete the FTO program are assigned to the Patrol Division as a solo beat officer.
  • Upon graduation from the San Jose Police Academy, recruit officers will then enter the Field Training Program.

More information about the San Jose Police Academy.



  • 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. Read more about the FTO training structure and history.
  • 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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