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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 year 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 must be 21 the day you enter the Boston Police Academy. Your latest test result and score is valid for up to two years.


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 $75. You can pay on the state’s website with a credit or debit card.


Fee waivers are available for eligible candidates. Go the State's Civil Service website to find the form to apply.


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, time, and location of the test.


Apply during an open hiring period

If you pass the test you will be able to sign the list and apply for the Boston Police Department during the next open enrollment period.

We take candidates based on the list created by the Massachusetts Civil Service. You can find where you are on the list on the state's website.


Wait to hear from us

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 May 17, 2023, 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 push-ups
  • 30 second plank
  • 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 from 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:

  • Classroom Education
  • Tactical Training
  • Physical Training

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

(ROC) Recruit Officer Cruise Fitness Standards

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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