How to Become a Philadelphia Police Officer

The process to become a police officer in Philadelphia starts by downloading the application form then email it to police.recruitment [at] But before you do that, make sure you meet the stringent requirements set by the Philadephia Police Department:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Must be a Philadelphia resident. Non-residents are required to establish residency within Philadelphia no less than 6 months after being appointed as a police officer.
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license from any state three (3) years prior to being appointed as a police officer.

Academic And / Or Employment Experience

  1. Must have a minimum of 60 college credits with a 2.0 G.P.A. from an accredited college or university or…
  2. A high school diploma or G.E.D. plus 2-years of full time active military duty with an honorable discharge or…
  3. One (1) year experience as a full time certified law enforcement officer within a three year period prior to June 30, 2012 or…
  4. A high school diploma or G.E.D. plus successfully completing the Philadelphia Police Explorers Cadet Program that includes a minimum of two (2) years service with the Philadelphia Police Explorers Cadet Program (672 hours training from the Philadelphia Police Department and 298 hours of community service or external training).
Applicants must take note that the recruitment unit of the Philadelphia police department holds practice exam sessions and fitness sessions.

Speed up the process of becoming a police officer in Philadelphia by following these steps:

Step 1

After submitting their application, all prospective cops will take the written examination which has 100 questions and will take around two and a half hours to complete. This test will analyze the individual’s competence in doing their duties as police officers.

A pre-exam study guide will be given to candidates on the day of the exam and will be given a 45 minute study period to review.

Step 2

Take the Nelson Denny Reading Test

Step 3

Take the Physical Fitness and Agility Test that will consist of the following events:

  • 300 meter run
  • Bench press
  • Sit ups
  • 1.5 mile run
Take note that all participants of this examination will have to undergo a medical examination to make sure they are medically fit to go through this event.

Step 4

Go through a drug screening test.

Step 5

Go through a written interview session otherwise known as the Personal Data Questionnaire Interview were a every aspect of a candidate’s personal history will be recorded. This form will be given to applicants during the first orientation session and because of the volume of questions involved, applicants will take this questionnaire home to complete it. After completion they are to submit this to the Internal Investigations Unit located at the 22nd and Hunting Park Avenue.

Step 6

A background investigation will be initiated by the recruit background investigations unit to check your employment history. Your friends, family, former or current associates, neighbors and any individual that you have come in contact with in the past to check if you have the character, trustworthiness, honesty, morality and integrity to join the Philadelphia Police Department.

Step 7

Comprehensive physical examination will be undertaken to check if you pass the stringent medical requirements to be a cop in Philadelphia. These examinations include the following:

  • Medical history check
  • EKG
  • Eye examination
  • Breath test
  • Color blindness test
  • Height and weight check (weight must be proportion to your height)

Step 8

Undergo a psychological evaluation. This will be a two step process:

  1. MMPI-2 (A true or false personality inventory administered by a computer)
  2. Go through a psychological evaluation with a licensed Psychologist from the state of Pennsylvania

Step 9

Each applicant is required to go through a polygraph test to verify the truthfulness of the info they’ve entered in their police data questionnaire. It will be at least two hours long, administered by certified polygraphists and interrogation experts.

Step 10

All qualified applicants who’ve made it this far will be place in an eligibility list. When there is an opening, candidates will be drawn from this list and will attend the academy. Training in the academy will last roughly 30 weeks.

Step 11

Successful trainees will then be promoted to become a police officer. All new cops will be assigned to patrol district and will be in an 18-month probationary period were they will be under scrutiny.

Preference Points

The Philadelphia Police Academy will have a preference to individuals…

  • with an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree
  • with experience in the military
  • who’ve completed the Philadelphia Police Explorers Cadet Program
  • who is multi-lingual
  • who are children of Philadelphia firefighters or police officers who died in the line of duty
  • who are residents of Philadelphia one year prior to the day of the civil service exam

For more information on becoming a police officer in Philadelphia, visit the Philadelphia police department website or call (215) 685-3026, 3027 or 3028.

Click here to check out the various police officer jobs in Philadelphia.

You might be interested in…