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.

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 seven steps: Application acceptance, written exam, physical ability test, Qualifications Appraisal Panel interview, background investigation with voice stress analyzer, psychological evaluation, and medical evaluation. All testing and evaluation takes place at each of the eight geographical CHP Division areas throughout the state.

When we have an open application time period, if an applicant fills out the electronic application properly and meets the minimum requirements they will be invited to the written exam. The written exam will take place on a Saturday. It is an English test. A good study guide for the written exam can be found at the POST web site at:

Passing the written exam earns an applicant a spot at the physical ability test (PAT) on another Saturday usually about two weeks after the written exam. The PAT will include 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).

Passing the PAT earns an applicant a Qualifications Appraisal Panel (QAP) appointment. It is an interview with a CHP sworn officer with the rank of sergeant or above and a California State Personnel Board trained interviewer. The applicant's responses are given a score. Each Division will conduct seminars that familiarize applicants with the QAP interview. Take advantage of any and all Division seminars you can attend.

Earning a qualifying score (usually a qualifying score is much higher than a passing 70%) on the QAP puts the applicant into a background investigation. The Applicant Investigator is a CHP trained officer who will follow up on information an applicant has supplied on a 23-page form called a Personal History Statement. Toward the end of the investigation the applicant will have to sit for a voice stress analyzer evaluation. The investigator has many cases to look into. This part of the process takes the most time.

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 State Personnel Board psychologist.

If an applicant clears the psych evaluation, they move onto the complete medical evaluation with a full set of back x-rays. The State Personnel Board 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 8-12 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 should I prepare for the QAP interview?

Having an idea about what the Department does is a good start… Learn everything you can - history, duties, benefits, and job requirements. If possible, go on a ride-along and attend workshops and seminars. Read the Applicant Study Guide and be prepared to sell yourself. What makes you more qualified than the other people applying each year. Check with the recruiter from your Division for seminar dedicated to learning about the Department and our hiring process.

Where will I be assigned?

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?

Not at this time.

How should I prepare physically for the Academy?

When is the next test?

All tests will be announced on in the Recruitment Section under CHP Exam Bulletins.

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 written test, physical ability test, written phychological test weekend, and the QAP interview.

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What if I already took the written test with the CHP and passed?

All applicants applying after January 1, 2013, are required to participate in the Cadet, CHP, written test. Once applicants have obtained a passing score after January 1, 2013, they may compete in any subsequent cadet examinations without retaking the written test. However, a new applications submission, Physical Ability Test, and Qualifications Appraisal Panel interview are required.

What is the Passing T-Score on the written exam for the CHP?

The CHP policy is to not disclose this score. The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), the organization responsible for writing and grading the test, indicates that a score of 40 is below average, 50 is average, and 60 is above average. The CHP and most law enforcement agencies have a pass point that falls within this range.

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?

Yes, however, before an applicant can retest, the applicant must wait for a period of one month (30 calendar days) before taking the exam again. This applies even if the exam is taken through a different department/agency than the original exam.

The above 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 Veterans points? 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 Points Application so it is received by the California Department of Human Resources prior to your Qualifications Appraisal Interview.

    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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