LAPD Job Overview:

Learn Pay Scale & Starting Salary for LAPD Cops, Job Openings, Requirements, Disqualification Factors, Hiring Process

Top 3 Reasons to Pursue a Police Officer
Career at LAPD

Famed brand

LAPD is one of the most famous law enforcement agency on the planet. Over the years, LAPD has gained its notoriety through Hollywood films, reality shows, documentaries & controversial court cases.

Career Advancement

One of the benefits of working for a large agency like LAPD is the many career advancement opportunities available like SWAT, Detectives, aviation, Air Support, Crime Scene Investigator, Traffic, CSI, K-9, gang unit, mounted patrol & more

overtime Availability

LAPD has a big overtime budget that many cops take advantage of. According to the LATimes, More than 90% of sworn police in 2018 received overtime, earning an average of $27k on top of their salary.

LAPD Virtual Reality Recruiting Video

LAPD Police Requirements:

Minimum Qualifications

Note: LAPD will require that you pass a comprehensive background check before becoming a police officer for their agency (no exception).

  • Must be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be at least 21 yrs old at the time of hire
  • Must have a valid CA Driver's License
  • Must Have high school diploma or GED
  • Must Be free from convictions of disqualifying offenses
  • Must Successfully pass the background check
  • Must pass all stages of the hiring process
  • Must Pass Medical Examination by a licensed physician
  • Excessive Drug Usage in the recent past
  • Being dishonest during the background check
  • dishonorable discharge from the military
  • Falsifying documents about your arrest history
  • Abuse of alcohol or prescription medications
  • Failure to pass the drug screen
  • Not Giving Complete, Accurate & Honest information
  • Any Felony Convictions
  • #1 Application
  • #2 Personal Qualifications Essay
  • #3 Personal History Statement
  • #4 Department Interview, Polygraph & PFQ
  • #5 Medical Evaluation
  • #6 Field Investigation
  • #7 Psychological Evaluation
  • You Earned The Badge!

Join Specialized Units at LAPD

  • Mounted Patrol
  • Motorcycle Patrol
  • Bomb Squad
  • SWAT Team
  • Air Support
  • Accident Investigation
  • Drug/Narcotic Unit
  • Marine Unit
  • Detectives
  • Canine/K9 Unit
  • Traffic Enforcement
  • Patrol Unit
  • *salary does not reflect overtime, career promotion, longevity, shift premium, education or other incentives, overtime,  etc.

At Academy*

$ 1

*The starting base salary for Police Officer I upon entering the academy. The officer will earn this rate until graduation from the Police Academy.

Police I*

$ 1

*Upon completion of the academy and assignment to the field as a probationary Police Officer I, the officer shall be paid.

Police II*

$ 1

*Upon completion of probation and advancement to the rank and pay grade of Police Officer II, an officer with NO college degree, military experience or prior law enforcement experience shall be paid.

Police II*

$ 1

*Upon completion of probation and advancement to the rank and pay grade of Police Officer II, an officer WITH a college degree (AA or higher) OR at least two years of military or prior law enforcement experience shall be paid.

Rank Structure & Career Promotion Chart

Police Officer
Deputy Chief
Chief of Police

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Steps to become a Cop for lAPD

Information here maybe outdated so make sure to also visit LAPD’s official recruiting page here

The Selection Process consist of seven steps, all of which must be successfully completed before a candidate may be considered for appointment as a Police Officer. Generally, candidates must complete each step before being scheduled for the next. Successful candidates may expect to make four to five visits to various City testing sites during the process.

PLEASE NOTE: The period for which test results are valid varies according to the test. It is the candidate’s responsibility to make sure all his/her test results are kept current.
Most successful candidates complete the Police Officer testing process in five months to one year. There is also an “Out of Town” expedited testing program and schedule.


The qualifying written test consists of two parts: the multiple choice test measures reading comprehension and English usage; the essay determines written communication skills. You are usually notified if you have passed the multiple choice test on the same day, and scheduled for your interview.

The essay is scored at a later date. The tests are pass/fail and you must pass both tests to go forward in the process. If you fail either or both tests, you may retake them after six months.
A passing score on the written test is valid indefinitely.


The interview is a behavior-based review of your personal history, providing evaluation of your problem-solving abilities, respect for diversity, community service orientation, role adaptability, communications ability and motivation.

Passing the interview requires a score of 70 percent or higher. The score you receive will determine your rank on a hiring list. You may take the interview only once every six months. The interview score is valid for a minimum of one year; however, always verify the expiration date of your test.


The medical examination and written psychological tests are scheduled for candidates who pass the interview with a referable score (the score based on the number of candidates in the process at the current hiring activity of the Police Department).

Both tests are administered on the same day and require approximately five to six hours to complete. The medical exam, conducted by a City physician, is thorough and it is essential that candidates be in excellent health with no conditions which would restrict their ability to safety do police work.

Medical exam results are valid for up to two years, at the discretion of the City’s medical staff. The written psychological test consists of several personality and life history questionnaires.
The results are evaluated by staff psychologists in preparation for the oral psychological evaluation.


The Physical Abilities Test (PAT) consists of events designed to measure your strength, agility, endurance, and balance. The PAT is a pass/fail qualifying test. Click here for a description of the current test. One will also be provided when you are scheduled for the test. Testing is normally given twice monthly and you may take this test as often as is necessary to pass. The PAT results are valid for one year.


The Background Investigation includes fingerprinting, photos and a background interview, all of which take place on the same day. The investigative phase of the background process includes a thorough check of police records, personal, military and employment histories, as well as reference checks.

You are evaluated on your respect for the law; honesty; mature judgment; respect for others; employment and military record, financial record, driving record, and use of drugs and intoxicants. You must submit comprehensive biographical information for this investigation. Investigation results are valid for one year.


The Psychological Interview is conducted it if appears that you will be successful in the background investigation. You are interviewed and evaluated by a City psychologist on factors related to successful performance in the difficult and stressful job of Police Officer. The information evaluated includes the previous written psychological tests as well as the background findings.


Certification and Appointment are the final steps in the selection process. To be considered you must have successfully completed steps one through six in the process.
Certification of a candidate’s name to the Police Department does not guarantee appointment to the Police Academy.

More names are provided to the Police Department than there are vacancies so that the Department can select those best qualified for appointment.
Appointments to the Police Academy are made by the Police Department from the civil service eligible list in accordance with the score on the eligible list and provisions of
the Consent Decree.


Additionally, a pre-employment substance screening for drugs and alcohol may be required prior to appointment because this class has been designated as Safety Sensitive, in accordance with City Policy.

If you want to work for the Los Angeles police department be aware it is not going to be easy. Being an LAPD cop is one of the most popular jobs  in Los Angeles, if not the country. If you live in the city of Los Angeles, you’re in one of two categories, you either love the police or you love to hate the police. The great majority of citizens love LAPD mainly because of all press they get on television.

The popularity is why LAPD is one of the toughest places to become a police officer. The numbers in terms of monthly applicants is enormous. Don’t give up or feel intimidated just because of the amount of people who apply. That number will start decreasing the minute a candidate submits their application. Recruiters go through the application with a fine tooth-comb. If there are any errors, misspellings, or any sections left incomplete, you’ll be crossed off the list immediately.

Here are some of the things you’ll go through including requirements and qualifications needed to become an LAPD police officer:

  • Medical evaluation
  • Criminal background check
  • Driving history check
  • Credit history
  • Educational background
  • Oral Board Interview
  • Residential status
  • Physical assessment test
  • Police written exam
  • Psych Test
  • No felonies
  • Must be a citizen of the United States

As I mentioned earlier, the hiring process to become a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department is not going to be easy, but with a lot of hard work and preparation, you should do fine.

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