San Antonio Police Department Officer Requirements

The San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) embraces intelligence-led and community policing strategies in its efforts to keep the Alamo City a safe place to live, work, and visit. The department also seeks to deploy long-term solutions to local problems by following problem-oriented policing tactics. The SAPD serves approximately 1.4 million residents.1

Steps to Becoming a SAPD Officer

  1. Meet the minimum qualifications for prospective officers (see below).
  2. Complete an application.
  3. Pass the physical ability test (PAT).
  4. Take the computer-based San Antonio Entry-Level Law Enforcement Exam (SAELLEE).
  5. Complete an in-person oral interview.
  6. Pass the background investigation, polygraph exam, and drug test.
  7. Pass the psychological exam.
  8. Pass the medical and physical exams.
  9. Pass the background check and drug test.
  10. Complete police academy training.
  11. Work as a probationary officer for one year.
  12. Begin working as a fully-qualified SAPD officer.

How to Become a San Antonio, Texas Police Officer

All applicants for San Antonio police officer positions who meet the minimum requirements, which are further detailed below, must complete a thorough selection process to be appointed to a cadet class. The SAPD hiring process includes written and physical skills tests, an oral interview, a background investigation, and medical and psychological exams. Candidates must also pass the San Antonio Entry-Level Law Enforcement Exam (SAELLEE), a computer-based, multiple-choice test that measures cognitive ability and behavior orientation. Those who pass all steps in the hiring process will be appointed to a cadet class at the San Antonio Police Academy.

San Antonio Police Officer Job Description

San Antonio police officers are trained to foster relationships with area citizens, to deter and if necessary investigate crime, and work to improve the quality of life in the San Antonio area. San Antonio police officers must treat all people with equal respect and dignity. Officers may be assigned to duties involving patrol, traffic detail, crime prevention, or street crime, or may perform specialty duties working as part of the bomb squad or with a K-9 unit.

San Antonio Police Officer Training, Prerequisites, and Education Requirements

Prospective San Antonio police officers must be between 21 and 45 years old, hold US citizenship, have a GED or high school diploma with at least a “C” average, and have a good driving record.

Accepted recruits are enrolled in the San Antonio Police Training Academy as cadets. The training program involves 1,100 hours of academic study and rigorous physical training. Cadets who graduate from the academy serve as probationary officers for a period of one year, after which time police officers may complete additional training to qualify for specialty units or to advance within the department.

San Antonio Police Officer Salary and Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for San Antonio area police officers was $56,960 as of 2015.2 About 4,830 officers worked in the San Antonio metro during the same time period.2 San Antonio police cadets earn an annual salary of $40,700 while enrolled in the academy.1 After one year of service, an officer's base salary rises to $46,538 per year.1 Additional incentives are offered based on night shift work, foreign language fluency, and advanced Texas Commission on Law Enforcement certifications. Officers also enjoy a generous benefits package and continuous opportunities for advancement.

Contact Information

Twitter: @SATXPolice

San Antonio Police Department
315 S Santa Rosa Ave
San Antonio, TX 78207
(210) 207-7273

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Do you need a college degree to become a San Antonio police officer?

Answer: Although college credit is not a requirement for entry-level officer positions, San Antonio police officer applicants who have an associate's or a bachelor's degree receive preferential hiring status, tend to be better prepared for the training process, and have better opportunities for advancement. The SAPD also offers education incentives for officers with college degrees; an officer with an associate's degree will earn a bonus of $2,580 per year, while higher-level degrees yield higher pay.1

Question: Is the San Antonio Police Department hiring?

Answer: The San Antonio Police Department recruits and tests eligible applicants on an ongoing basis. The department recommends that interested candidates contact a recruiter to begin the process.

Question: What opportunities are there for San Antonio police besides patrol?

Answer: Specialized units within the SAPD include Major Crimes, the K-9 Detail, the Bomb Squad, and the Gang Unit. The SAPD is also involved with the San Antonio Regional Intelligence Center, a multi-agency intelligence cooperative.

1. San Antonio Police Department:
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, San Antonio-New Braunfels:

SELECT A PROGRAM is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.