Some Frequently Asked Questions from Recruiting

Where can I get an application?

When the application/testing process opens, on-line applications will be available for a specific window of time. On-line applications will be available on the CHP web site, and at
As of July 2014, we will have open application periods in March, July, and November of each year.

What is the Selection Process for CHP Cadets?

The selection process is actually a testing and evaluation process that is mandated by state law and the California State Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).

It is comprised of six steps: Application acceptance, physical ability test (PAT), written exam, background investigation with voice stress analyzer, psychological evaluation, and medical evaluation. All testing and evaluation takes place in each of the eight geographical CHP Division areas throughout the state.

When we have an open application time period (March, July, and November) if an applicant fills out the electronic application properly and meets the minimum requirements, they will be invited to the physical ability test. The PAT includes running a longer distance (a mile and a half), a sprint (300 meters), doing full sit-ups (number per minute) and full push-ups (number per minute). You must meet the standards for all events to continue in the hiring process.

If an applicant passes the PAT, they will be scheduled to take the written exam. The written exam is not a test of law enforcement terms. It is an English and grammar test. A good study guide for the written exam can be found at the POST web site at:

Those applicants who receive a passing score on the written test will move onto a background investigation.

Applicants at this stage will fill out a personal history statement and provide other documentation to their background investigator. The background process can take three to five months.

Making it through backgrounds means the applicant moves on to the psychological evaluation. It is both written, answering an inventory of hundreds of yes-no questions, and verbal, interviewing with a California Department of Human Resources psychologist.

If an applicant clears the psych evaluation, they move on to the complete medical evaluation with a color vision test, drug test and full set of back X-rays. The California Department of Human Resoutrces medical team is responsible for this task.

An applicant that successfully passes every test and evaluation will then be put on a list waiting for an invitation to the CHP Academy.

How long does the process take?

In the past the entire application process took one to two years, however changes have been made to lessen that time. Expect the entire hiring process, from the date of your written test to Academy appointment, to last approximately 6-12 months. This is general timeline and individual cases may vary considerably. State budget issues may also have an impact on timelines.

Why does this process take so long?

Because of state law and mandates from the California State Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (, we must put all applicants for Cadet, CHP through an extensive testing and evaluation process.

What happens if I don't pass, or complete, any of the steps in the testing and evaluation process?

You will not be allowed to continue in the current exam cycle, and you will have to wait and re-apply when we have an open application period. You will not be allowed to re-test in another Division during the same exam cycle.

How are the first field assignements made?

During the period between weeks 19 and 21 prior to graduation, cadets receive a "Dream Sheet"; a list of those CHP Area offices that have openings (not all offices have openings) for new officers. Cadets list their choices of locations by order of personal preference. The lists are then returned to headquarters for processing. The following information shows how the cadet's first duty assignment is determined/prioritized:
  1. The needs of the Department.
  2. Hardship. The hardship must have occurred after appointment to the Academy.
  3. Home ownership. This is for cadets that own their home and live within 60 minutes of the office they are trying to get. Must provide a notarized photocopy of the first page of the Trust Deed as proof of home ownership.
  4. Social Security Number. Based on the last four digits of the social security number in descending order (9999 has priority over 0000). Most cadet assignments are determined in this manner.
For example, if the last four of your SSN# ends in 9999, you would more than likely get your first pick. There are no guarantees that you will be assigned to a location in the state nearest your residence or family members.
Realistically, the Department's vacancies are usually in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay area, San Joaquin Valley, or the desert areas. Nearly all officers begin their careers in one of those locations. Keep in mind that one of the advantages of being a CHP officer is that after one year on the job, you can transfer elsewhere in the state of California.

Is the CHP going to start accepting laterals?

No. We consider going through the CHP Academy an important tool to building great CHP officers and it is essential that all successful applicants experience life at the Academy.

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How should I prepare physically for the Academy?


Yes. As of July 2014, the written exam passing score will be used to move applicants on in the process. There will be no more written test waivers.

Can I take the tests in a location other than my home area?

You may specify any region to take the written test and will be scheduled accordingly. Be prepared to test in the same geographical location for the physical ability test and written test. If you choose to test in an area other than the one you live in, and you are successful at the written, your background will take much longer than if you tested in your home division.

Does CHP accept T-scores from other agencies?

We no longer accept T-scores from other agencies.

Can an applicant take the POST written exam multiple times?

According to the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST), the organization that writes and grades the test, you can only take the written exam once every 30 days regardless of the agency you take it with.

The above rule can be accessed at:

What if I recently got a speeding ticket?

All violations are considered with regard to severity, recency, and frequency.

What if I have used marijuana or other drugs?

Experimental use of marijuana or other drugs may not be a disqualifying factor. The recency, frequency, and specific circumstances will be evaluated to determine your level of qualification.

What if I have been convicted of a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor conviction, unlike a felony conviction, may not be a disqualifying factor. As with traffic violations, severity, recency, frequency, and specific circumstances will be evaluated to determine your qualifications.

What is the average age of cadets?

Traditionally, a majority of each class will be made up of cadets in their mid to late 20's. Every class has its share of cadets in their early twenties and mid-late 30's.

What is the best way to study for the written test?

Are cell phones allowed at the Academy?

Cell phone use is a privilege that is not allowed at first. After one-two weeks, cell phone use will be allowed, but only during specified times.

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What information will I need for my background investigation?

  • Residential history for the last ten years, including address, landlords and roommates
  • A complete employment history, including addresses, phone numbers, supervisors and co-workers
  • All legal history and associated reports
  • All driving history and associated reports (including copies of citations and accident reports, if possible)
  • Vehicle insurance policies
  • Vehicle registration cards
  • Your birth certificate (Certified Copy issued by State)
  • Marriage & dissolution of marriage certificates
  • Knowledge of your credit history (free at
  • Selective Service registration card or printout (from
  • Social Security card (
  • High school transcript(s) (Certified)
  • College transcript(s) (Certified)
  • Military records & DD214 (
  • What are some factors that may lengthen my background investigation?

  • Having lived and worked in another part of the state or out of state.
  • Military service.
  • Numerous applications with other law enforcement agencies.
  • Extensive driving/criminal history.
  • Failure to provide your background investigator with addresses or telephone numbers for critical contacts.
  • Can I go on a ride along?

    Ride-a-longs are granted on a case-by-case basis and are at the discretion of the Area Commander. Ride-a-longs are usually only offered to those who are in the hiring process to become an officer.

    How long will it take my Background Investigator to contact me?

    Depends. You may be contacted within days of turning in your Personal History Statement (PHS) or it may take several weeks. Each Division Background Unit has a caseload, as do individual Background Investigators. The bottom line is you need to be patient. You will be contacted and your case will be worked, it just may take a little time.

    How can I apply for the Veteran's Preference Program? And when does it have to be turned in?

    Go to the California Department of Human Resources web page:
    You must mail the completed Veterans Preference Application so it is received by the California Department of Human Resources prior to your CHP written exam.

    What is your tattoo and body art policy?

    Many applicants and current officers have tattoos but they must adhere to our policy which is: All uniformed employees and cadets are prohibited from displaying any body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, mutilation, or dental ornamentation while on duty or representing the CHP in any official capacity. Any current uniformed employee or cadet with existing body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, or mutilation that is visible shall have the following options:
    • Uniformed employees and cadets shall cover existing body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, or mutilation by wearing the long-sleeve uniform shirt and/or uniform trousers/breeches.
    • Cover the existing body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, or mutilation with a skin tone patch or make-up.
    • Have the tattoo(s) or brand(s) removed at the employee's expense. Body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, and/or mutilation that is not able to be covered or concealed is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, foreign objects inserted under the skin, pierced, split or forked tongue; and/or stretched out holes in the ears.
    Uniformed employees and cadets shall not have any dental ornamentation. The use of gold, platinum, silver, or other veneer caps for the purposes of ornamentation are prohibited. Teeth, whether natural, capped, or veneered, shall not be ornamented with designs, jewels, initials, etc.

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