Academy Entrance Requirements

Academy Entrance Requirements
The Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety provides recruit programs in various formats, designed to prepare students to meet requirements of the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC). Upon successful completion of an academy, students apply to take the State Officers Certification Exam (SOCE). Successful completion of the state exam allows the graduates to be eligible for employment as a Police Officer, Deputy Sheriff, Corrections Officer, or Correctional Probation Officer in the State of Florida. Standards for each program of study are set by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC), staff from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Florida Department of Education (FDOE) and state law. The Polk State College Institute of Public Safety exceeds those minimums in all areas of training.

Basic Abilities Test

Before you can start the application selection process you must take and pass a Basic Abilities Test (BAT) for the discipline that you are applying for.   For more information about the  BAT. and to schedule a test,  please click to REGISTER FOR BAT.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  As of July 1, 2022, section 943.17(1)(g) states that any candidate wishing to enter a Law Enforcement academy that either (1) is a veteran as classified in section 1.01(14), F.S., or (2) holds an associate degree or higher from an accredited college or university is not required to take the Law Enforcement Basic Abilities Test.  Please note that veteran is defined as being honorably discharged from military service.  No other discharge classifications qualify.  Please note this does not apply to candidates wishing to enter a corrections academy.

The following is a list of the minimum qualifications;

  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • Be a high school graduate or equivalent
  • Submit to FDLE and FBI criminal history checks
  • Submit a copy of driving history
  • Successfully complete the application and selection process
  • Be of good moral character
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Not have received a dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces

You must not have been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor involving perjury or false statement. Any person who, after July 1, 1981, pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, or is found guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor involving perjury or false statement shall not be eligible for employment or appointment as an officer, notwithstanding the suspension of sentence or withholding of adjudication. Notwithstanding this subsection, any person who has pled nolo contendere to a misdemeanor involving a false statement, prior to December 1, 1985, and has had such record sealed or expunged shall not be deemed ineligible for employment or appointment as an officer.

* If you have a sealed or expunged record you have not disclosed to the training school, you may complete the training; however, you may not be eligible for employment or appointment as a criminal justice officer.

* In addition, Federal Law prohibits a person from performing law enforcement officer duties if convicted in any court of the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Gainful Employment
For more information about graduation rates in certificate programs, the median debt of students who completed certificates in the program, and other important information, please click on one of the below links.
Law Enforcement Officer Cross-over to Correctional BRT
Law Enforcement Certificate