How to Become a CHP Officer

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You must meet a number of requirements to become a California Highway Patrol officer. Although the CHP is primarily responsible for highway safety and enforcing traffic laws throughout the state, officers have other duties. These may include canine narcotic enforcement, protecting dignitaries and commercial vehicle inspection. CHP officer training provided by the CHP academy includes all of these issues and more.

The Physical Requirements

  • To qualify as a CHP officer candidate and enter the CHP Academy, you must meet physical requirements. You must pass the physical ability test, which requires that you run 1.5 miles in 13 minutes, 35 seconds or less. You must also be able to run 300 meters in 70 seconds or less. A CHP applicant must complete 31 or more sit-ups in one minute and 24 or more push-ups in one minute. You must pass all four of these tests to qualify. CHP officers must also have good vision and normal color vision. Although you may wear glasses or contact lenses, your uncorrected vision must be 20/40. However, if you have been wearing contact lenses for at least a year and your corrected vision is 20/20, you do not need to meet the 20/40 uncorrected vision requirement.

Other Requirements and Qualifications

  • A candidate must have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED to enter the CHP academy. You also must be between 20 and 35 years old when you take the CHP entrance exam. If you are on active duty in the military and you took and passed the examination before your 36th birthday, the age requirement may be waived if your military service intervened before you could enter the CHP Academy. You must also be a U.S. citizen and cannot have any felony convictions.

Testing, Interviews and Evaluations

  • Once you have met all of the preliminary requirements, you must take a pass/fail written exam and the physical ability test. If you pass both of those tests, you will be scheduled for a qualifications appraisal panel interview. The QAP interview is used to evaluate your potential as a CHP officer and includes questions about your background, preparation and how you would act in a hypothetical situation. You must also submit to a psychological evaluation and a background check.

The Training Period

  • CHP training lasts approximately six months and includes more than 1,000 hours of classroom instruction. The subject matter includes law enforcement techniques and topics. In addition, your training includes weapons handling and marksmanship, physical fitness and specialized driving education. You will also be trained as an emergency medical technician. After you graduate from the CHP Academy, you spend an additional 55 days in training with at least three Field Training Officers, or FTOs. At the completion of this training, you will be assigned to your first post as a CHP officer.

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