Become a Police Officer: Step-by-Step Guide

Become a police officer in GeorgiaIn Georgia, the peace officer certification process is regulated by the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST). Therefore, some of the processes and paperwork you must complete will be through POST, while others will be completed directly through the GPSTC regional academy where you will receive your training.

Students attending basic training who are not employed by a law enforcement agency are referred to as “pre-service candidates.”  Below are the steps that pre-service candidates must take before being accepted into a police academy to become certified as a Peace Officer in the state of Georgia.

STEP 1: Minimum Qualifications

First, you must determine if you are eligible to become a Peace Officer in Georgia. According to Georgia Law you must meet or be willing to meet all of the criteria below to become employed or certified as a peace officer:

  1. Be at least 18 years old;
  2. Be a citizen of the United States;
  3. Have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent;
  4. Not have been convicted by any state or by the federal government of any crime the punishment for which could have been imprisonment in the federal or state prison or institution nor have been convicted of enough misdemeanors to establish a pattern of disregard for the law;
  5. Contact the GPSTC Regional Academy you wish to attend;
  6. Undergo a background investigation;
  7. Successfully complete Asset or Compass Test. This exam must be completed prior to enrolling in any Basic Law Enforcement Course. Candidates who do not pass the entrance exam will be ineligible to retake the exam for a period of 30 days after an unsuccessful attempt.
  8. Complete a GA POST Application;
  9. Be fingerprinted for the GBI and FBI to determine the existence of a criminal record;
  10. Undergo a physical examination by a licensed physician to determine any physical, emotional or mental conditions that may adversely affect the ability to exercise the powers or duties of a peace officer; and
  11. Be interviewed by the manager of the GPSTC Regional Academy where the student will attend training.

STEP 2: Contact the Regional Academy that you Plan to Attend

Once you’ve determined that you meet items 1 through 4 of the above qualifying criteria, it is best to seek the advice and follow the direction of the staff of the academy you plan to attend basic training. Click here for a list of the academies and a map of their locations.

STEP 3: Entrance Exam

In order to take the entrance exam, you must have an Entrance Examination Access Form which can be downloaded from the following link: http://www.gapost.org/pdf_file/EEFORM.PDF.

The ASSET or COMPASS test is the official entrance exam required by POST. The tests are conducted at several Technical Colleges across the state. You should determine the most convenient Technical College site and contact your preferred site to determine dates and times the test is offered as well as the cost. The test is offered at different times, and cost varies (usually from about $15-$25) depending on the site. The test takes approximately two hours to complete, and results will be available immediately. Keep the results to be attached to your POST application.

STEP 4: Background Investigation

All Peace Officer candidates must undergo a thorough background investigation which includes a drug test. When directed by the academy staff, Pre-Service Candidates should contact Professional Screening and Information (PSI). The current cost for the PSI background investigation for Pre-Service Candidates is $245.00 and is payable online. Contact your academy of choice to obtain the organization code and Chain of Custody form, when applicable, for the drug test. Once completed, the PSI background investigation results will be forwarded to the chosen academy.

STEP 5: POST Application, Physical Examination and Fingerprints

Once a background investigation has been completed, download a POST Pre-Service Application for Certification. It is essential that you complete this application correctly or your admittance to the Basic Training Course will be delayed. There are several attachments to the application as well as a requirement for a physical examination and a requirement that you are fingerprinted. You should go to Georgia Applicants Processing Service (GAPS) to be fingerprinted (click this link). Physical examinations generally cost about $30 and the fee to be fingerprinted is roughly $53. If you have any questions, contact your chosen academy for assistance.

STEP 6: Interview with the Academy Manager

After completing the above steps, your chosen academy will contact you to schedule an appointment for an interview with the Academy Manager. This should be considered a formal interview, so please dress accordingly. The Academy Manager will determine the candidate’s demeanor and suitability to become a certified Peace Officer in the State of Georgia.

STEP 7: Submission of POST Application

If approved by the Academy Manager, your application will be submitted to POST for approval. Upon approval by POST, you will be notified of your acceptance to the course. The POST fee for processing the application is $200.00 and should be in the form of a cashier’s check or money order only.

STEP 8: Register and pay Tuition & Fees

Once the above steps have been completed, you may register to attend GPSTC’s Basic Law Enforcement Training course. Click here for a list of dates the Basic Law Enforcement Training course is offered. 

The current tuition rate for pre-service Basic Mandate Law Enforcement candidates is listed in the tuition fee schedule below. Students can mail a money order to the Training Center or pay with a credit card over the phone by contacting the Registrar’s Office at (478) 993-4458. Alternatively, tuition may be paid by money order or credit card on the first day of class at the Registrar’s Office.

Each academy has a list of equipment that will need to be purchased which is in addition to the tuition. These fees range from $132 to $270 depending on location. A copy of the equipment needed may be obtained by visiting the individual academy web pages.

There are several options for financial aid that students may explore to assist with the costs of attending basic training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center.

Basic Mandate Program Tuition Program Length Additional Fees/Notes
Basic Law Enforcement $3,093 408 hrs Approximately $700
Basic Firefighter $5,175 345 hrs Students must provide NFPA compliant gear
Basic Jail Officer $1,200 80 hrs Tuition is ONLY due for applicants who have been employed with an agency more than six months
Basic Communications Officer $600 40 hrs Tuition is ONLY due for applicants who have been employed with an agency more than six months
Basic Coroner $600 40 hrs Tuition is due for all students and should be paid to the Georgia Public Safety Training Center

Questions?

Contact: The Basic Training Division at GPSTC’s main campus in Forsyth, GA or the Regional Academy you’d like to attend.