Frequently Asked Questions - CHP

Frequently Asked Questions


Applicant Advice

CHP Range & Weapons Systems

CHP Range & Weapons Systems

CHP Badge Numbers

CHP Badge Numbers

CHP Special Assignments

CHP Special Assignments

Military Waivers

Physical Abilities Test (PAT) Qualifications Overview

4 Minimum Requirements to Apply

Meaning of a Badge Number

Most People Don’t Know This ...

Did You Know?
Specialty Assignments

Did You Know?

What are the minimum requirements to apply for position of Cadet, CHP?
  • Possess a High School Diploma or equivalent/GED
  • Be legally authorized to work in the United States under federal law. (Applicants may be in the process of obtaining legal authorization upon application, but will need to show proof of legal authorization to work in the US under federal law before being accepted into the Academy)
  • Age 20-35 (Applicants must be 35 on the final filing date of the examination cycle to which they are applying)
  • No felony convictions.
Do I have to have a California drivers license to apply?
Possession of a valid Class C driver license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles is required. Applicants who do not possess a license will be admitted to the examination but must secure the license prior to appointment.
Why can’t I apply if I’m over 35 years old?
The age limit to apply for the CHP is outlined in the California Vehicle Code. Per California Vehicle code section 2256, notwithstanding section 18932 of the Government Code, the minimum age limit for California Highway Patrol, shall be 21 years old and the maximum age limit for the examination shall be 35 years.
What if I can’t make the scheduled test date?
Applicants who are unable to attend the scheduled Physical Abilities Test (PAT) should notify their Division recruiter. Your name may be taken off the recruiter’s list; however, there is no way to remove you from the system. Applicants who do not attend the scheduled Physical Abilities Test (PAT), will be marked as a no show (this does not affect an applicant negatively through the remainder of the process). Your name will be removed from the exam cycle approximately 14 days after the written test. At that point, you may reapply.
Am I able to withdraw my application after I apply?
Not at this time, once an application is submitted, there is no way to withdraw a name from the exam cycle. Applicants who are unable to attend the scheduled Physical Abilities Test (PAT) or no longer wish to continue in the application process, will be marked as a no show (this does not affect an applicant negatively through the remainder of the process). Your name will be removed from the exam cycle approximately 14 days after
the written test. At that point, you may reapply.
Do I get to work in the same Division in which I applied?
Not necessarily, the Division selected is for testing purposes. The CHP is divided into 8 Divisions throughout the State. Testing is done within each of those Divisions as a convenience to the individuals applying; however, it does not reflect where you may be assigned following appointment as an officer. Although there is a possibility you may be placed in the Division you applied, it is not a guarantee. Area assignments are based on the needs of the Department and Academy standings.
CHP Cadet/Officer - Can an applicant take the POST written exam multiple times?
According to the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST)—the organization that writes and grades the test—you can only take the written exam once every 30 days regardless of the agency you take it with.The above rule can be accessed at:
What are the requirements to pass the Physical Ability Test (PAT)?
Applicants must pass all components of the PAT to continue to the next phase of testing, the Written Exam. To successfully pass the PAT, applicants must complete the following components.

  • 19 Push-Ups in a minute
  • 25 Sit-Ups in a minute
  • Complete a 1.5 mile run in 15 minutes or less
  • Complete a 300 meter run in 70 seconds or less

Failure to complete any component of the PAT will result in automatic disqualification and will end the applicants hiring process. Applicants will be able to reapply in the next exam cycle.

Cadet/Officer - Can I take the cadet/officer tests in a location other than my home area?
​​You may specify any region to take the written test and will be scheduled accordingly. Be prepared to test in the same geographical location for the physical ability test and written test. If you choose to test in an area other than the one you live in, and you are successful at the written portion, your background will take much longer than if you tested in your home division.
Cadet/Officer - How are the Cadet/Officer field assignments determined?
During the period between weeks 19 and 21 before graduation, cadets receive a “Dream Sheet”; a list of CHP Area offices that have openings (not all offices have openings) for new officers. Cadets list their choices of locations by order of personal preference. The lists are then returned to headquarters for processing. The following information shows how the cadet’s first duty assignment is determined/prioritized:

  1. The needs of the department.
  2. Hardship. The hardship must have occurred after appointment to the academy.
  3. Residency. This is for cadets who reside within 70 miles of the command they chose. Residency must be established before the start of Academy training. Each cadet claiming this criteria must provide a photocopy of two types of proof of residency from the following categories; current utility bill, deed of trust. rental agreement, vehicle records(i.e., registration or lease), insurance document, or California Driver License.
  4. Academy Scores. A merit-based assignment system has been developed utilizing an average of scores obtained through standardized Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) testing. The scores utilized will be calculated on dates determined by HRS and will not reflect the overall score at Graduation. The scoring criteria are as follows:
    (a) Average of Post Academic tests. (Weighted 60 percent.)
    (b) Average of Post Physical Agility test. (Weighted 20 percent.)
    (c) Average of Post Weapons score (Firearms). (Weighted 20 percent.)

There are no guarantees that you will be assigned to a location in the city nearest your residence or family

Most of the department’s vacancies are in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area, and the San Joaquin Valley, or the desert areas. Nearly all officers begin their careers in one of those locations. After one year on the job, you may transfer to another area.

Cadet/Officer - How long does the application process take?
Expect the entire hiring process, from the date of initial application to academy appointment, to last approximately 6-9 months. This is the general timeline and individual cases may vary considerably.
Cadet/Officer - I recently got a speeding ticket. Will I be disqualified from the cadet application process?
All violations are considered with regard to severity, recency, and frequency.
Is the CHP going to start accepting laterals?
No. We consider going through the CHP academy an important tool to building great CHP officers and all successful applicants must experience life at the academy.
Cadet/Officer - May I still apply to the academy even if I have been convicted of a misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor conviction, unlike a felony conviction, may not be a disqualifying factor in the cadet application process. As with traffic violations, severity, recency, frequency, and specific circumstances will be evaluated to determine your qualifications.
Cadet/Officer - What are some factors that may lengthen my background investigation?
The time needed to complete the background investigation will vary by the applicant on a case by case basis. In most cases these factors can lengthen the process:

  • Having lived and worked in multiple parts of the state or out of state
  • Military service
  • Numerous applications with other law enforcement agencies
  • Extensive driving/criminal history
  • Failure to provide your background investigator with addresses or telephone numbers for critical contacts
Cadet/Officer - What happens if I don't pass, or complete, any of the steps in the cadet testing and evaluation process?
You will not be allowed to continue in the current exam cycle, and you will have to re-apply into the process. You will not be allowed to re-test in another division during the same exam cycle.
Cadet/Officer - What is the selection process for CHP cadets?
The selection process is a testing and evaluation process that is mandated by state law and the California State Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). It is comprised of six steps: application acceptance, physical ability test (PAT), written exam, background investigation with voice stress analyzer, medical evaluation, and psychological evaluation. All testing and evaluation take place at each of the eight geographical CHP division areas throughout the state.If an applicant fills out the electronic application properly and meets the minimum requirements, they will be invited to the Physical Ability Test (PAT). The PAT includes running a longer distance (a mile and a half), a sprint (300 meters), doing full sit-ups (number per minute), and full push-ups (number per minute). You must meet the standards for all events to continue in the hiring process. Upon completing the PAT, the applicant will be invited to the POST (PELLET-B) written exam. The written exam is not a test of law enforcement terms, it is an English and grammar test. A good study guide for the written exam can be found on the POST website Here.

Applicants who successfully pass the written exam will move onto the background investigation phase.

Applicants at this stage will complete pre-employment documents and provide other extensive documentation to their background investigation officer. The background process can take three to five months, once assigned to a background investigator.

Clearing backgrounds means the applicant moves on to psychological and medical evaluation. The psychological evaluation is both written–answering an inventory of hundreds of yes-no questions–and verbal, interviewing with a State of California contracted psychologist. The medical evaluation includes a visual acuity test, color vision test, drug test, and a full set of back x-rays.

An applicant who successfully passes every test and evaluation will then be put on a list waiting for an invitation to the CHP Academy.

Cadet/Officer - What is your tattoo and body art policy?
Many applicants and current officers have tattoos, but they must adhere to our policy which is: all uniformed employees and cadets are prohibited from displaying any body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, mutilation, or dental ornamentation while on duty or representing the CHP in any official capacity. Any current uniformed employee or cadet with existing body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, or mutilation that is visible shall have the following options:

  1. Uniformed employees and cadets shall cover existing body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, or mutilation by wearing the long-sleeve uniform shirt and/or uniform trousers/breeches.
  2. Cover the existing body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, or mutilation with a skin tone patch or make-up.
  3. Have the tattoo(s) or brand(s) removed at the employee’s expense. Body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, and/or mutilation that is not able to be covered or concealed is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, foreign objects inserted under the skin, pierced, split or forked tongue; and/or stretched out holes in the ears.

Uniformed employees and cadets shall not have any dental ornamentation. The use of gold, platinum, silver, or other veneer caps for the purposes of ornamentation are prohibited. Teeth, whether natural, capped, or veneered, shall not be ornamented with designs, jewels, initials, etc.

Cadet/Officer - Where can I get a cadet application?
The CHP uses an online application system where prospective applicants can apply at
Cadet/Officer - Why does the recruiting/hiring process take so long?
Because of state law and mandates from the California State Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (, we must put all applicants for cadet, CHP through an extensive testing and evaluation process.

Military Applicants (Active Duty and Veterans)

How do I sign up for Veterans Preference?
Applicants who have served in the United States Armed Forces as defined in Government Code Section 18540, and who qualify as a veteran, are entitled to veterans’ preference. Veterans’ Preference is an assistance program for military benefits who seek employment with the state. Preference can be applied to a veteran’s eligibility for qualifying open and open, non-promotional examinations. If your application for Veterans’ Preference is approved by the California Department of Human Resources, and you achieve a passing score in an entrance examination (for example, the POST PELLETB written exam for the CHP), you shall be ranked in the top rank of the resulting eligibility list. A Veteran who passes the Written Examination will be placed in Rank 1 regardless of passing score. To find out more information and obtain the Application for the Veteran’s Preference click here.
What is the Military Waiver?
All applicants must be 35 years old or younger on the final filing date of the application/exam code for which they are applying. However, active service members may waive employment for up to (8) years pending separation from the military. To take advantage of the waiver, you must complete the first two steps (physical ability test and written exam) and obtain a qualifying score on the written exam to be placed on a certification list. At that point you MUST notify the Cadet Hiring Unit you would like to waive the remainder of the hiring process until you are close to completing your active service. It is recommended you re-contact Cadet Hiring approximately one year prior to separation, or the eight (8) year deadline, to restart the application process. Military applicants must complete the final steps (background check, psychological evaluation and medical evaluation) and receive an Academy invitation prior to expiring from the certification list.
Can I do my reservist time during the Academy?
The CHP Academy is a 24 week live in training facility. Although you may have most weekends off, you will be very busy with studying. There are a few weekends you will be required to attend training.Due to POST requirements cadets are not allowed to miss the mandatory trainings conducted at the CHP Academy. Reserve applicants will have to work with their Reserve or National Guard Unit to determine whether they can be released from military training should it conflict with Academy training requirements.
Can I do my reservist time while employed by the CHP?
Yes, CHP policy allows you to take the necessary time to fulfill your military obligations.
Can I do my reservist time while employed by the CHP?
Yes, CHP policy allows you to take the necessary time to fulfill your military obligations.

eSOPH (electonic Statement of Personal History) Background Investigation

I can’t find my high school diploma. Are both a diploma and transcripts required to be uploaded?
Yes, both documents are needed in order to do a thorough background check. However, if you are unable to obtain your diploma please speak to your background investigator, and let them know ahead of time you do not have the diploma.
I will not receive my official transcripts by the deadline to submit my eSOPH profile. Can these be uploaded at a later date once I receive them?
Yes, your background investigator can temporarily unlock your profile in order to give you the chance to upload the required documents.
Some of my references do not have an email address. What should I put for their email?
Fill out all sections to the best of your knowledge.
My coworker is also my housemate. eSOPH gives me a warning when I put them in both sections. What should I do?
The warning is only an advisory, please list the coworkers and housemates in the appropriate section.
Do I have to contact all of my neighbors, even if I don’t know them? What about neighbors I know are not law enforcement friendly?
Generally, all neighbors will be contacted in order to complete a thorough background check. If you believe your neighbors are not law enforcement friendly please feel free to contact your background investigator.