Peace Officer Basic Training
The POST-certified Regular Basic Course (basic academy) is the training standard for police officers, deputy sheriffs, school district police officers, district attorney investigators, as well as a few other classifications of peace officers. The basic academy is both physically and mentally challenging. It includes a minimum of 664 hours of POST-developed training and testing in 42 separate areas of instruction called Learning Domains. Most POST-certified basic training academies exceed the 664 hour minimum by 200 or more hours with some academies presenting over 1000 hours of training and testing.
Academy students are subject to various written, skill, exercise, and scenario-based tests. Students must also participate in a rigorous physical conditioning program which culminates in a Work Sample Test Battery (physical ability test) at the end of the academy. Students must pass all tests in order to graduate from the basic academy.
Intensive, Extended, and Modular Format Academies
The Regular Basic Course – Standard Format is presented two ways: intensive and extended. The intensive format is a full-time academy conducted daily Monday through Friday with some evenings and weekends. The intensive format academy runs for a period of anywhere from 16 to 25 weeks. The extended format academy is a “part-time” academy conducted evenings and weekends, although it may involve some weekday instruction. Due to the limited daily hours of the extended format academy, it may take up to a year to complete the training.
The Regular Basic Course - Modular Format academy is generally presented in the extended format, and is designed for and coincides with the three different levels of reserve peace officers.
Affiliated and Non-Affiliated Students
Affiliated students are those students who have successfully completed the hiring/selection process with a department, have been hired as a recruit or trainee, and the department “sponsors” (i.e., pays for) their academy training. These recruits/cadets usually receive a trainee salary while attending the academy. Non-affiliated students are those who are “self-sponsored” (i.e., they pay their own way through the academy). These students generally have a full or part-time non-law enforcement job and may or may not have begun the application process with a law enforcement agency.
Whether you are an affiliated or non-affiliated student, the academy is designed to provide a demanding, rigorous, and interactive learning environment for all students. The goal of every POST-certified academy is to ensure that those who graduate will be well-prepared for and successful in the Field Training Program and their career as a California peace officer.