Iowa Police Academy Requirements

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Joining a police academy is a milestone on the path to becoming a police officer. Many requirements vary from state to state, however, certain standards, such as being a citizen of the United States, are required across the board. Iowa police academy requirements consist of, in part, the following:

Age Requirement

The applicant must be at least 18 years of age.

Residency and Citizenship Requirement

Applicants are required to be residents of Iowa with a valid Iowa driver’s license. Additionally, applicants must be citizens of the United States of America.

iowa police badge

Educational Requirement

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or General Equivalency Degree (GED) time of application.  It is not a requirement that the diploma or GED be obtained within Iowa.

Applicant will be required to take a written/oral examination, psychological test, as well as a polygraph examination.

Automatic Disqualification Factors

Applicants are advised that the Iowa State Police will automatically disqualify any applicant who does not meet the general requirements as detailed below.  In addition, the following information is provided regarding our criteria for automatic disqualification:


  • Falsification, omission, or misrepresentation of any information during the completion of the Polygraph Screening Booklet, the Polygraph Examination, the Formal Application for Employment, and any other documents/processes associated with the Cadet Selection Procedures.
  • Substance abuse/use within a prescribed time frame and/or that is beyond what is considered experimental by the Iowa State Police.
  • Criminal arrests/behavior which would not reflect well on the Iowa State Police.

The core purpose of the Iowa State Police is to seek justice, preserve peace, and improve the quality of life for all.  As such, the Department has established the core values of Honor, Service, Integrity, Respect, Trust, Courage, and Duty, and is seeking applicants who possess these traits and conduct themselves accordingly.  Certain issues within a person’s background have been identified which will result in automatic disqualification, including but not limited to:  criminal conduct (actual arrest and/or admission of behavior whether or not arrested) and substance abuse.

A preliminary determination will be made by the Iowa State Police based upon information supplied; therefore, applicants must be forthright and honest in documenting their conduct. Be advised that this preliminary determination is not binding as it is made based upon information provided by the applicant only. Should an applicant continue in the selection process, the conduct will then be discussed and documented with an Iowa State Police Officer.

Applicants are advised that all information provided to the Iowa State Police is to contain no misrepresentation, falsification, omissions, or concealment of material fact and that, upon submission of any official document (on-line or otherwise), applicants swear or affirm that all information provided is true, complete, and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.  Applicants are further advised that all information provided is subject to later investigation.

Physical Readiness

Law enforcement officers that maintain a high degree of physical conditioning are less prone to be affected by the stressful conditions of the job, sustain fewer injuries, and utilize less leave time related to illness. Indiana’s police academy physical conditioning program combines strength training and aerobic exercise to help students develop good exercise habits and to improve their fitness level throughout the academy. It is strongly recommended that recruits begin a fitness regimen before beginning academy training.

Physical Readiness Test

The tests and standards have been validated to ensure that an applicant, if selected to an academy class, will have a reasonable chance of success in attaining a higher standard of Physical Readiness during cadet training. Failure of any one test excludes the applicant from further processing.
Academy physical training requires a great deal of physical strength and stamina. Both the written test and the physical abilities test are designed to measure an applicant’s ability to perform satisfactorily at the police academy and on the State’s Minimum Standards test. The physical abilities test may include such tasks as:

Minimal Physical Fitness Performance Requirements Chart



Test  20-29  30-39  40-49  50-59  60 +
 Sit & Reach  16.5  15.5  14.3  13.3  12.5
 1 Minute Sit-up  38  35  29  24  19
 1 Minute Push-up  29  24  18  13  10
 1.5 Mile Run  12:51  13:36  14:29  15:26  16:43




 20-29  30-39  40-49  50-59  60 +
 Sit & Reach  19.3  18.3  17.3  16.8  15.5
 1 Minute Sit-up  32  25  20  14  6
 1 Minute Push-up  15  11  9  * 12  * 5
 1.5 Mile Run  15:26  15:57  16:58  17:54  18:44

* Females in excess of 49 years of age may do pushups on their knees.
Normative data for these age groups have not been established.


NOTE:  The eligibility requirements are subject to change at any time. You can find answers to frequently asked questions on the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy website.