Officer - Frequently Asked Questions

CHP Officers

​CHP Cadet/Officer - 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.

Cadet/Officer - Can I take the cadet/officer 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 portion, your background will take much longer than if you tested in your home division.

Cadet/Officer - Does the CHP accept T-scores from other agencies?

T-scores from other agencies are no longer accepted.

Cadet/Officer - How are the first cadet/officer field assignments 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. Residency. This is for cadets who reside within 70 miles of the command they chose. Residency must be established before the start of Academy training. Each cadet claiming this criteria must provide a photocopy of two types of proof of residency from the following categories; current utility bill, deed of trust. rental agreement, vehicle records(i.e., registration or lease), insurance document, or California Driver License.

4. Academy Scores. A merit-based assignment system has been developed utilizing an average of scores obtained through standardized Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) testing. The scores utilized will be calculated on dates determined by HRS and will not reflect the overall score at Graduation. The scoring criteria are as follows:

(a) Average of Post Academic tests. (Weighted 60 percent.)

(b) Average of Post Physical Agility test. (Weighted 20 percent.)

(c) Average of Post Weapons score (Firearms). (Weighted 20 percent.)

There are no guarantees that you will be assigned to a location in the city nearest your residence or family members.
Most of the department's vacancies are in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area, and the San Joaquin valley, or the desert areas. Nearly all officers begin their careers in one of those locations. After one year on the job, you may transfer to another area.

Cadet/Officer - How long does the application 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 the general timeline and individual cases may vary considerably. State budget issues may also have an impact on timelines.

Cadet/Officer - I recently got a speeding ticket. Will I be disqualified from the cadet application process?

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

Cadet/Officer - 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.

Cadet/Officer - May I still apply to the academy even if I have been convicted of a misdemeanor?

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

Cadet/Officer - What are some factors that may lengthen my background investigation?

Factors that may lengthen the time needed for a  background check:
  • 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

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

You will not be allowed to continue in the current exam cycle, and you will have to re-apply into the process. You will not be allowed to re-test in another division during the same exam cycle.

Cadet/Officer - 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, medical evaluation, and psychological evaluation. All testing and evaluation takes place at each of the eight geographical CHP division areas throughout the state.

If an applicant fills out the electronic application properly and meets the minimum requirements, they will be invited to the Physical Ability Test (PAT). 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. Upon successfully completing the PAT, the applicant will be invited to the POST (PELLET-B) 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:

Applicants who successfully pass the written test will move onto a background investigation.

Applicants at this stage will complete pre-employment documents and provide other extensive documentation to their background investigator. The background process can take three to five months, once assigned to a background investigator.

Clearing backgrounds means the applicant moves on to the psychological and medical evaluation. The psychological evaluation is both written--answering an inventory of hundreds of yes-no questions--and verbal, interviewing with a State of California contracted psychologist. The medical evaluation includes a vision acuity test, color vision test, drug test, and full set of back x-rays.

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

Cadet/Officer - 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:

1. 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.

2. Cover the existing body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, or mutilation with a skin tone patch or make-up.

3. 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. 

Cadet/Officer - Where can I get a cadet application?

On-line applications will be available on the CHP web site, and at

Cadet/Officer - Why does the recruiting/hiring 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.

Cadet/Officer - Will past use of marijuana or other drugs disqualify me from the cadet application process?

​​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.


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