If you want to serve your community in a meaningful way and make an impact then you are a right fit for the job of a police officer. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is the third largest law enforcement agency in the US. It is always on the lookout for qualified candidates to be a part of the team. To become a police officer in LA you do not require any formal education. A high school diploma is the minimum formal education needed to enroll in the training academy. To be eligible for the job of police officer it is important to be a US citizen, minimum age of 20, and successfully pass the background check.

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To become a police officer in Los Angeles, you will be required to meet certain requirements.

Requirements to Become a Police Officer in Los Angeles

Like all police departments, the LAPD has its own set of admission requirements. All candidates must be at least 21 years of age and should be US citizens, though non-residents of LA can apply too. As far as the educational requirements go, a minimum of a high school diploma or GED or a California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) certificate is required, while college degrees might help you in getting future promotions or waiving off experience requirements.

Educational Requirements High school diploma or equivalent
Experience/Training Attend Training Academy, Moderate on-the-job training
Key Skills Assertiveness, Quick Thinker, Teamwork, Morality, Courage
Annual Mean Salary – Los Angeles (2020) $ 102,920
Job Outlook – Los Angeles (2018-2028) 4%
How to Become a Police Officer in Los Angele
How to Become a Police Officer in LA

7 Steps to Become a Police officer in Los Angeles

A typical LAPD candidate would be required to follow seven main steps to become a police officer in Los Angeles.

  1. Complete the Application and Written Test

All applicants will be required to complete an application online and print a copy of this to bring along to the written test. Following this, you will be required to sit for the Personal Qualifications Essay (PQE), which will judge your decision making ability and behavioral elements. This test will also determine your written communication skills. You must get a score of 70% or higher to clear this test and you can reappear for the test after three months of the first attempt.
You can have a look at the testing calendar to pre-register yourself for a particular test location. Some test locations offer a first come, first-serve service.

  1. Complete and Submit a Personal History Statement (PHS)

This will include an extensive background investigation – biographical information, interview, fingerprinting, past employment record, financial, educational and military records, interviews of close family members, co-workers and neighbors, etc. If the information you provide here makes you a suitable candidate, a more thorough field investigation will be carried out.

  1. Pass the Physical Fitness Test

To prepare for the physical demands of the job, you will be required to attend the Candidate Advancement Program (CAP) and clear a Physical Fitness Qualifier (PFQ). The PFQ will consist of the following:

  • 300-meter sprint
  • Maximum sit-ups in one minute
  • Maximum push-ups in one minute
  • 1.5 mile run

You must complete the PFQ at least once before you are appointed. This will help you when you enter the Academy Physical Training Program, which is very intense and demanding. If you score less than 50 on the PFQ, you will be recommended to attend the CAP more regularly and take the test again.

  1. Pass the Polygraph Test and Interview

The Polygraph test is to determine whether the information you have provided is true or not. The Department Interview will be carried out to determine your personal accomplishments, flexibility, job motivation, communication ability and interpersonal skills, among other things. Candidates who clear this step will receive a Conditional Job Offer.

  1. Pass the Medical Evaluation

This evaluation would judge you on three things:

  • Body Fat – should be at most, 30% for females and 22% for males
  • Vision – should be at least 20/30 in each eye with some exceptions for those who wear glasses, lenses or have had eye surgery
  • Hearing – Candidates should be able to hear and understand speech in noisy areas and when whispered to.
  1. Pass the Field Investigation

The Field Investigation would be a detailed check of employment, financial, educational and police records. It may take around 60-180 days to complete and its findings remain valid for 2 months.

  1. Psychological Evaluation

This step involves a licensed psychologist conducting an interview with the candidate. The objective is to know how the candidate will behave and perform in high-stress conditions. A written psychological test will also be administered.

How Long does it take to Become a Police Officer in Los Angeles?

After you have completed your educational requirements, you may begin the application process. If you clear this process and are selected for the LAPD, you will be required to complete six months of training at the LAPD Academy. Once this step is done, you will be put on probation for one year under a senior officer to help you transition from the academy life to the real world. In some cases, the probationary period may be extended.

How Much Does A Police Officer Make in Los Angeles?

According to the LAPD, the following salaries and benefits are being paid to the police officers at various levels:

Career Stage Salary Description
Entering Academy $62,118 Starting base salary for Police Officer I, when starting academy. This will be the salary until graduation from the Police Academy
Academy Graduate $65,521 This is the salary earned after academy completion and assignment to the field as a probationary Police Officer I
Police Officer II $70,240 This salary will be earned upon becoming the Police Officer II – with no college degree or military experience
Police Officer II $72,976 This salary will be earned upon becoming Police Officer II, with a college degree (AA or higher) or at least two years of military experience before appointment

Career Outlook for Becoming a Police Officer in Los Angeles

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers earned an annual mean wage of $103,730; First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers made $94,810; First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives made $158,960; Detectives and Criminal Investigators made $116,910 as of May 2017 in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA area. Officers may receive additional salary increases based on longevity or special assignments. Officers working in the City Police Department are eligible for paid leaves, health and life insurance benefits and the city’s pension plan.

Duration to Become a Police Officer in Los Angeles

In total it can take up to two to four years to become a police officer in Los Angeles. Before enrolling in the training academy, candidates are required to acquire a minimum Associate’s Degree. The Basic Recruitment Training at the academy takes five to six months. Additional three months are required for screening, paperwork, exams, and acceptance of application.

Employment Projections

O*Net Online forecasts a 4% increase in employment opportunities for Police Officers in Los Angeles between 2018 and 2028. The corresponding national average for this occupation is 7% between 2018 and 2030. $ 102,920 is the annual mean salary of police officers in Los Angeles as per BLS in 2020. Below are the top 5 highest paying states for this occupation in the US in 2020.

State Annual Mean Wage
California $ 102,920
Washington $ 92,390
New Jersey $ 91,690
Alaska $ 87,510
Illinois $ 82,800

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