Philadelphia Police Department Officer Requirements

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The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) is the fourth-largest municipal police department in the US.1 Over 6,500 sworn officers and 800 civilians work for the department, which serves an area of approximately 140 square miles with 1.5 million residents.1 The PPD’s mission is based on partnership, humanity, and leadership, which are embodied in the departmental slogan “The PHL Way.”

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Steps to Becoming a PPD Officer

  • Meet the minimum qualifications for prospective officers (see below).

  • Complete an online application during an open enrollment period.

  • Take a reading exam.

  • Pass the physical fitness and agility test.

  • Pass a drug screening.

  • Complete a personal data questionnaire and background investigation.

  • Pass the medical exam.

  • Pass the psychological evaluation.

  • Take a polygraph exam.

  • Pass the background check and drug test.

  • Complete police academy training.

  • Complete one year as a probationary officer.

  • Begin working as a fully-fledged Philadelphia police officer.

  • How to Become a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Police Officer

    Prospective recruits with the Philadelphia PD must meet the minimum requirements outlined below and apply to the department during an open recruiting period. Selected candidates complete a series of examinations, including a reading exam, physical fitness testing, drug and medical screening, a psychological evaluation, and a thorough background investigation. Applicants who pass all phases of the screening then must go through the Philadelphia Police Academy, which lasts for 30 weeks, followed by one year of on-the-job training and evaluation under probationary status. After the one-year probation period, recruits may be fully appointed as sworn officers with the Philadelphia Police Department.

    Philadelphia Police Officer Job Description

    The Philadelphia Police Department is comprised of six divisions, which house a total of 21 police districts. Philadelphia police officers make a promise to protect the lives and property of Philadelphians and uphold the laws of the city. They work to prevent and solve crimes, patrolling the city on foot, horseback, boat, car, or motorcycle to maintain Philadelphia’s reputation as one of the safest large cities in the USA.1

    Philadelphia Police Officer Training, Prerequisites, and Education Requirements

    Those who want to become a police officer with the city of Philadelphia must be at least 22 years old on the date of appointment, have a high school diploma or GED, and reside in Philadelphia within six months of promotion to the position of Police Officer I. Candidates must also possess a valid driver’s license. Preference is given to candidates with military experience.

    Those who pass the selection process will be placed on an eligibility list while awaiting a new recruit training class. The Philadelphia Police Academy greets its recruit officers every day with a sign that reads “Enter to learn, leave to serve.” The police academy program lasts 30 weeks and the curriculum includes training in physical fitness, defensive tactics, the use of firearms, criminal investigation, and state and local laws. Graduates of the Philadelphia Police Academy work on a probationary basis for one year.

    Philadelphia Police Officer Salary and Job Outlook

    According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 6,730 police officers work in the Philadelphia metro area.2 Recruit officers start at an annual salary of $49,477.1 This increases to $51,245 after graduation from the Philadelphia Police Academy.1 The base salary for a Philadelphia police officer is currently capped at $64,459, though earning promotions in rank results in additional salary increases.1 After one year of service, officers are eligible to apply for the corporal or detective promotional exams; those who pass and are selected will receive a 10% pay raise following promotion.2 All Philadelphia police officers receive health and life insurance benefits, retirement benefits, and vacation, holiday, and sick leave.

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    Contact Information

    Philadelphia Police Department
    750 Race St
    Philadelphia, PA 19106

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • How much do Philadelphia police officers make?

      The average salary of Philadelphia police officers was $67,130 per year as of 2015.2 After graduating from the Philadelphia Police Academy, an officer’s starting salary is $51,245 per year.1

    • Is a college degree required to work for the Philadelphia PD?

      While a college degree is not required, it does give an applicant a competitive edge. Preference points in the selection process are given to candidates who hold at least an associate’s degree.

    • What are the Philadelphia police recruitment standards for physical fitness?

      During the screening phase, candidates must complete a 300-meter run, a two-arm bench press, one minute of sit-ups, and a 1.5-mile run within the guidelines for their age and gender. In addition, all recruit officers take a physical fitness test during the first week of the academy. This provides recruits with benchmarks and time to improve in order to pass the academy’s more rigorous physical fitness test before graduation.

    1. Philadelphia Police Department:
    2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Philadelphia:

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