South Carolina Police Academy Requirements

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Joining a police academy is a milestone on the path to becoming a police officer. The South Carolina police academy requirements are intended to set a high standard for potential officers. Below are all the requirements and disqualifying factors. Be aware that there is a lot of competition for police jobs so going above the minimum requirements is advised. South Carolina police academy requirements consist of, in part, the following:

Age Requirement

South Carolina police academy age requirements state that applicants must be a minimum 21 years of age. Applicants may complete an application and proceed in the hiring process at 20.5 years of age if they will be 21 by the starting date of the next academy class.

Residency and Citizenship Requirement

Applicants must be a resident of South Carolina and possess a valid South Carolina driver’s license upon appointment as a State Police Cadet.  You must be a South Carolina Resident and have been for a minimum of one year from the day you apply. *South Carolina residents who are serving in the military or are full time college students out of state are exempt from this requirement.

Applicants must be a United States citizen at the time of initial application.

Educational Requirement

South Carolina Police Academy requirements for education state that the applicants must possess a high school diploma or General Equivalency Degree (GED) time of application. Correspondence or mail-order high school diplomas are not accepted.

All military veterans must have an HONORABLE DISCHARGE documented by a DD-214.

Automatic Disqualification Factors

Applicants are advised that the South Carolina 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 South Carolina State Police.
  • Criminal      arrests/behavior which would not reflect well on the South Carolina State      Police.

The core purpose of the South Carolina 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.

south carolina cop badgeA preliminary determination will be made by the South Carolina 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 South Carolina State Police Officer.

Applicants are advised that all information provided to the South Carolina 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 Abilities Test

  • The course measures a total of 870 feet (290 yards/265.2 meters)
  • The course consists of a series of nine interspersed individual tasks, arranged in a continuous format that may be viewed as being essential (physical) job-tasks for law enforcement training:


  1. running;
  2. jumping (low hurdle);
  3. climbing stairs;
  4. low crawling;
  5. jumping (broad-type);
  6. climbing a fence (chain-link/four feet);
  7. climbing through a window;
  8. moving/dragging a weight (150 pounds);
  9. changing direction on the run.


  • The trainee starts the course at a point, indicated in green on the course map.
  • The candidate runs one and ¾ laps around the perimeter of the course and enters the interior of the course at the point indicated in blue on the course map.
  • The first obstacle encountered in the interior consists of two low hurdles, one and a half feet high and four feet long, placed 13 feet apart.
  • After clearing the hurdles, stairs (five steps up to a 32-inch wide landing, 45 inches above the floor, and five steps down) must be negotiated twice (note that each step has a 7.5 inch rise and tread that is 11 inches wide).
  • Once the stair event is completed another low hurdle must be cleared; the trainee must then successfully negotiate a low crawl under an obstacle set at 2 ½ feet above the floor.
  • Make a turn and clear a ditch simulation that is six feet in width.
  • After another turn, a chain-link fence (four feet in height) must be climbed.
  • Two additional turns made, and a four-foot high window (opening is 3′ wide x 4.5′ high) must be successfully entered.
  • The candidate must then drag a 150-pound dead weight a distance of 20 feet.
  • After the weight drag, the candidate exits the course, completes one final lap around the perimeter and finishes at the point indicated in red on the course map.

Spotters (suggested minimum of three) and timekeepers (suggested minimum of two) are strategically located throughout the course.

An instructor demonstrates the course via a walk-through for the entire class prior to beginning. The purpose of this is directional rather than instructional; however, spotters and timekeepers guide individuals as the candidates run the course. The spotters serve to prevent injury as trainees negotiate the course and are located at all obstacle events located in the course.

Two timekeepers are recommended, as it is possible to have two participants attempting the course simultaneously.

The course was designed for set-up in a gymnasium and occupies two-thirds of a regulation basketball court when fully deployed. It is recommended that the course be set-up indoors as to allow for the control of environmental factors.

SC Physical Fitness Course Map


The eligibility requirements are subject to change at any time.

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