Pennsylvania Police Academy Requirements

Author: | Posted in State Requirements No comments

Age Requirement – Applicants must be at least 20 years of age on or before the date the application is completed.  Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and cannot have reached their 40th birthday prior to or on the date of appointment as a State Police Cadet.

Residency and Citizenship Requirement – Applicants must be a resident of Pennsylvania and possess a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license upon appointment as a State Police Cadet.  Applicants must be a United States citizen at the time of initial application.

Educational Requirement – Applicants must possess a high school diploma or General Equivalency Degree (GED) plus an Associate’s Degree or 60 semester credit hours from an accredited institution of higher learning at the time of application.  One waiver per candidate, as follows, is allowed:

  • 30 semester credit hours waived for the applicant with two full years as a full-time police officer.
  • 30 semester credit hours waived for the applicant with two full years of any law enforcement experience that encompasses the powers of arrest under State and/or Federal Law, e.g., Liquor Enforcement Officer, Corrections Officer, Probation and Parole Officer, Fish and/or Game Commission Officer.  Determination of relevant law enforcement experience to be made by the Pennsylvania State Police on a case-by-case basis.
  • 30 semester credit hours waived for the applicant with at least two years of full active military duty with an Honorable Discharge or who has completed Officer Candidate School and has no term of obligation.
  • 15 semester credit hours waived for the applicant who has successfully completed Basic Police Academy (Act 120) training at a MPOETC certified school in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or equivalent POST certified basic law enforcement training in another state.

Automatic Disqualification Factors

Applicants are advised that the Pennsylvania State Police will automatically disqualify any applicant who does not meet the general requirements as detailed above.  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 Pennsylvania State Police.
  • Criminal arrests/behavior which would not reflect well on the Pennsylvania State Police.

The core purpose of the Pennsylvania 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.

The automatic disqualification factors are confidential and will not be released to applicants.  Applicants who wish to ascertain if they may be subject to an automatic disqualification based upon their life conduct / behavior may inquire, in writing, to the following e-mail address:

A preliminary determination will be made by the Pennsylvania 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 a Pennsylvania State Police Officer.

Applicants are advised that all information provided to the Pennsylvania 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 Test

The Physical Readiness Test Battery consists of five exercises, immediately preceded by a warm-up session with intermittent rest periods to ensure the safety of the applicants.

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.

The Physical Readiness Tests are depicted on the chart below along with an explanation of the testing procedures.


 Applicant Standards

Graduation Standards

Vertical Jump

14 Inches, 3 Attempts

18 Inches, 3 Attempts

1 RM Bench Press

Not Applicable

170 lbs or .85*Body Weight (lowest #)

Illinois Agility Run

23.5 Seconds, 2 Attempts

19.5 Seconds, 2 Attempts

300-Meter Run

77 Seconds

65 Seconds


13 Repetitions (no time limit)

30 Repetitions (no time limit)

1.5-Mile Run

17 Minutes and 48 Seconds

14 Minutes and 50 Seconds

 Applicants must be able to complete all tests as contained in the Applicant Standards column above to continue in the process.  Failure of any one exercise will disqualify the applicant and remove them from the eligibility list.
  • Vertical Jump – This is a test of lower body explosive power. It is an important factor for pursuit tasks that require vaulting or jumping. The applicant stands under the test apparatus. Applicant reaches as high as possible, pushing tabs to mark their standing reach. A vertical jump is made by the applicant taking one step back with either foot; the applicant steps forward, and jumps, reaching as high as possible, to hit the tabs; OR the applicant may jump from both feet without taking a step. The score is the difference between your standing and jumping reach, on the tabs, and will be recorded to the nearest half inch.
  • 1 RM Bench Press – Standards to be provided by Physical Readiness during training. (NOTE: Not performed as an applicant; requirement for graduation only.)
  • Illinois Agility Run – The agility run is a measure of coordinated movement and speed. It is an important area for performing tasks requiring quick movements around obstacles.

The applicant starts in the prone position with the tips of their fingers behind the starting line. The body may cross the starting line. Upon the “go” start command, the applicant will stand up and sprint to the other line, (30 feet away), place one foot over the line, and sprint back to the starting line. The applicant will make a left turn around the first cone, then zig-zag in a figure eight fashion around the four cones and back to the start line. Then, turn around the first cone, and sprint to the other line, and back one more time.

If the applicant knocks over a cone, misses a turn, or fails to touch the line when turning, the instructor will stop the applicant and return the applicant to the end of the line for a re-start. The score is the time it takes the applicant to complete the run, and will be recorded to the tenth of a second. The clock will stop when any part of the applicant’s body crosses the finish line. Applicants will have two trials for this event.

  • 300-Meter Run – This is a measure of anaerobic capacity. This is an important factor, exerting short bursts of effort while engaged in pursuit tasks.

The standard is based on the total elapsed time required to complete a 300-meter course. On a standard 400 meter track, 300 meters is about ¾ around the track or 984 feet.

  • Push-Ups – This is a measure of the muscular endurance of the upper body extensor. It is important for the use of force involving pushing motion.

The applicant starts in the “up” position, hands are shoulder width apart; feet are three inches apart or less. The applicant lowers self until the chest touches a fist or a three-inch block. The subject returns to the “up” position locking out the elbows. The back must be kept straight at all times. The applicant may rest in the “up” position only.

  • 1.5-Mile Run – This is a measure of cardiovascular endurance or aerobic power. It is the foundation for almost all physical tasks including pursuits, administering CPR, climbing stairs and providing aid to the injured.

The test will be conducted on a 400-meter running track. The score will be the total elapsed time it takes to complete six laps.

* The 300-meter run and 1.5-mile run will be administered under all weather conditions which may include running in cold, heat or humidity, wet and/or high wind conditions.

NOTE:  The eligibility requirements are subject to change at any time.