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How to become a police officer

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Want to join the Boston Police Department? You need to take the state's civil service exam and apply for the job. Here's how:


Find out if you meet the requirements

The state holds a civil service exam every two years to become an officer. Contact civil service directly regarding the exam schedule, availability, and registration.

To become a police officer, you need to first take a written test. You also need to meet these requirements:

  • You must have a valid Massachusetts Driver's license.
  • You must be at least 19 years of age and no more than 39 years of age on the date of the examination. *
  • You need to have a high school diploma or a GED certificate. You can also satisfy this requirement with three years of military service and an honorable discharge.
  • You must be a Boston resident (lived in the city) at least one year before the date of your exam.

* You can take the written exam when you turn 19, but you won’t be considered for a position until you turn 21.

veterans information

Are you a veteran recognized by Civil Service, either on active duty or released from the military? You can add your service time to your age, up to four years, and still be eligible for appointment as an officer.


Register to take the Civil Service exam

To register to take the civil service exam to become a police officer, you need to create an account online. The state’s website has more information about the Civil Service exam.

Civil Service application

The fee for the exam is $100. You can pay on the state’s website with a credit or debit card.


The exam fee may be waived for candidates receiving certain state or federal public aid, or unemployment insurance. You can find the fee waiver form on the state's website.


Take the written exam

To prepare for the exam, you can study the state’s guide for the police officer exam.

The state will email you a notice with the date of the test. It’s a good idea to show up early. You can also bring your own number 2 pencils for the exam.


Apply during an open hiring period

If you pass the exam, you’ll be able to apply to the Boston Police Department during an open police recruiting period.


Wait to hear from us

We take candidates based on the list created by the state. You can find where you landed on the list through the state’s website.

If you're selected as a potential candidate, the City of Boston's Human Resources Division will contact you by email. Human Resources will contact you through the same email address you used to register for the exam.


Follow the applicant process

As a candidate to become an officer, you’ll have to fill out an extensive application packet. You’ll also have to complete:

  • a background check
  • a drug test, and
  • a review of your application and supporting documentation with the Recruit Investigations Unit Detectives.

At this point, you may receive a conditional offer to continue with the process. You'll need to complete medical and psychological exams. You'll also have to pass the Civil Service Administration’s Physical Abilities Test (PAT). The state's website has more information on the physical test.

As of July 1, 2019, in addition to the completion of the PAT, applicants are required to pass an Recruit Academy (ROC) Entry-Level Fitness Standards fitness test. The test, set by the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC), is made up of four events based on Cooper Aerobics Institute’s norms. The test includes:

  • one-minute pushups
  • one-minute sit-ups
  • 1.5-mile walk/run, and
  • a 300-meter run.

Applicants would have to pass the fitness standard set within a range according to their age AND gender. For more information, contact MPTC.


Final offer and invitation to the academy

If you pass the PAT and Recruit Academy (ROC) Entry-Level Fitness Standards, we then refer to your rank on the civil service list fro selection. You may then receive:

  • an invitation to attend a formal orientation, and
  • a final offer letter and invitation to become a Recruit Officer in the Boston Police Academy.

Go to the Boston Police Academy

The Boston Police Academy is a paid, 29-week program. You'll take part in:

  • rigorous physical challenges
  • tactical training, and
  • classroom activities.

How can you train for the physical challenges? We suggest using the Massachusetts Police Training Committee's standard for fitness as a benchmark.

Physical Training Exercises

Civilian jobs with the police

A civilian career in law enforcement is a great opportunity to give back to your community in support of our police officers.

You can search for open positions through the City's Career Center:

Search Career Center

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