FAQs

How do I apply to become a Houston police officer?
- Confirm that you meet all of HPD’s Requirements, then click on Application Process in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Is there a deadline to apply for the police officer position?
- No, HPD’s application process remains open in order to fill classes of 70 cadets, starting approximately every 3 months. However, applicants are processed in the order of initial interview dates. Therefore, schedule an initial interview as soon as you meet the requirements and have your required documents.

If I start the application process today, when would I start the academy?
- It depends how many applicants are in the process ahead of you and the start date of the next academy class. Once you have passed all steps of the application process, you will be placed in the next available academy class.

Do I have to take a civil service test to apply?
- No, the civil service test is administered in the academy.

Is there a wait list once I have passed all steps of the application process?
- No, unlike other agencies, HPD places you in the next available academy class.

How many academy classes are held each year and how many people are in each class?
- The number of academy classes each year is set by City Council in the budget process. Due to retirements and attrition, it is anticipated that there will be at least five classes of 70 cadets per year for the next several years.

Can I apply if I live out-of-state?
- Yes, you will be required to travel to Houston to complete the application process. Visit the Application Process page and click on the Out-of-state applicants information section.

Is it worth the trip to Houston since HPD has a lot of applicants applying?
- Yes, at HPD, applicants do not compete against other applicants. If you pass all steps of the application process, you will be placed in the next available academy class, even if another applicant has more experience or a higher level of education.

Do the 48 hours of college credit need to be in criminal justice or law enforcement?
- No. 

Do online classes count toward the 48 hours of college credit?
- Yes, all credits from an accredited college or university count if they are on the official transcript.

What school accreditations are accepted?
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, or an international college or university evaluated and accepted by a United States accredited college or university.

Do I need to attend HPD’s academy if I graduated from an academy at a university or another agency?
- Yes. All police trainees attend HPD’s paid training academy.

What if I already have an active Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) peace officer license?
- You will not have to take the TCOLE test in the academy. If you have a minimum of three years of full-time law enforcement experience you may qualify for a lateral entry class. Click on Laterals in the menu bar above to see if you meet the requirements.

What if I cannot pass the Physical Agility Test?
- You will not be able to continue in the application process. If you fail your first attempt, you will be scheduled for a second attempt to take the test. If you fail the second attempt, you will be removed from the process and will be ineligible to reapply for three months.

Should I submit my application even though I may not pass the Physical Agility Test (PAT)?
- No, do not submit your application until you are able to pass the PAT. There are online tools to assist you in preparing for the PAT. Also, Run with Your Recruiter events are held to help you prepare. Visit our Events page for details.

Can I still apply to HPD if I've used drugs?
- Drug usage is not an automatic disqualifier. Not being honest about drug usage is an automatic disqualifier. Drug usage will be reviewed as part of the application process.

What is HPD’s policy on visible tattoos and/or body art?
- Tattoos and body art will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. However, there shall be no visible tattoos or body art located on the hands, on the neck or above the neck, regardless of the content.

Can I schedule my interview by phone?
- No, once you have all of the required documents, click on “Click Here to Schedule Interview” in phase one of the application process.

Must I complete and submit ALL the necessary background history information required on the Personal History Statement?
- Yes, this document must be typed and fully completed.

I cannot find all of the information for the Personal History Statement, what should I do?
- All sections of the Personal History Statement should be completed. If, after a thorough search you are truly unable to locate information, you will be asked to provide a statement during your initial interview. That statement will be reviewed as part of the application process.

I am having trouble typing in the Personal History Statement document, what should I do?
- There may be an issue with your computer or software. We recommend trying a different computer or updating your software. Please note, the Personal History Statement must be typed.

What is the reading comprehension test?
- Applicants will take a Nelson- Denny reading comprehension test. The test is multiple-choice and includes a vocabulary and comprehension section.

Do I have to have a Texas Driver’s License to apply?
- No, however, you must have a current driver’s license and must have a valid Texas driver’s license prior to the start of the academy. 

Do I get paid while I am in the academy?
- Yes, cadets are paid bi-weekly while in the academy. Click on Benefits in the menu bar above to see salary information.

Can I attend college or work a part-time job while I am in the academy?
- No, as a cadet in the academy and as a probationary police officer, you are not permitted to attend college or have employment outside of the academy, even on your days off. For Military personnel, please see Military Welcome section.

Do I have to live inside the Houston area as an officer?
- No, the City of Houston and the surrounding areas offer affordable, wonderful communities that fit all types of lifestyles; including urban, suburban and rural. However, commute times must not affect attendance and punctuality.

Does HPD have education incentive pay?
- Yes, see the Benefits page for degrees covered and bi-weekly payment amounts.

Does HPD offer tuition reimbursement and what degrees does it cover?
- Yes, HPD offers tuition reimbursement for officers who successfully complete college credit hours at an accredited college or university, for both undergraduate and graduate study. 

Is the position of police officer a civil service position at HPD?
- Yes.

Why should I choose HPD vs. another agency?
- HPD is the fifth largest agency in the nation and offers more opportunities for advancement and work diversity than smaller agencies. Our benefits are competitive and, in most cases exceed that of other agencies. When comparing other agencies, consider the length and ease of the application process, as well as the wait time for employment. HPD offers one of the shortest application process times of any large agency and employment begins with the next available academy class.

What is it like living in the Houston area?
- Living in Houston has its advantages. A tropical year-round climate which increases the quality of life for its residents, a low cost of living, a diverse population and thriving communities make Houston an ideal place to call home. Visit our Houston page.


May I apply if I am active duty military?
- Yes, we recommend that you apply no earlier than nine months from the date you are scheduled to get out of the military. You may schedule an interview and bring a letter from your commanding officer stating the date you are likely to get out and that you will be honorably discharged. You will need to supply your DD-214 or NGB-22 forms for all past and current active duty status once they are available, but no later than the academy start date.

Can I be in the Reserves and attend the academy?
- Yes, you can be in the Reserves while in the academy but some stipulations may apply. Visit the Military Welcome page for detailed information.

Can I use my GI Bill benefits while in the academy?
- Yes, the Houston Police Department Training Academy is certified for full-time Veteran’s Administration Education Benefits. See Military Welcome page.

Do I get extra points for being in the military?
- Since applicants do not compete against other applicants in the application process, military points do not affect the status of the applicant and therefore are not awarded. However, you will get military points for the Civil Service Exam in the Academy and any promotional exams that you take.


Does HPD have a lateral academy for police officers licensed in Texas?
- Yes, police officers in Texas with a minimum of three years of experience can attend a lateral entry academy if their peace officer license has been valid in the last 12 months, and they meet all other requirements. Visit our Laterals page for detailed information.

Can I attend a lateral academy if I am an out-of-state officer?
- Yes, out-of-state police officers may attend a lateral academy class but they will need to obtain a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) license prior to the start of the academy class and meet all other requirements. Go to http://www.tcole.texas.gov/content/out-state-peace-officers for details.

What if I have less than three years of full-time law enforcement experience?
- You may attend a regular academy class, if you meet the minimum requirements. However, you will not have to take the TCOLE test if your license is still valid.

What are the benefits of joining HPD as a lateral officer?
- As a lateral officer, you may be eligible for our lateral academy class and you may qualify for pay equivalent to that of the base pay of a Houston police officer with up to five years of service upon graduation from the academy. See Laterals page for detailed information.

Do I have to attend a lateral academy class to qualify for pay equivalent to that of a Houston police officer with up to five years of service?
- No, you may qualify for the base pay of a Houston police officer with up to five years of service upon graduation from a regular or lateral academy class. See Laterals page for more information.




CONTACT & CONNECT

Houston Police Department
Recruiting Division
1200 Travis, Suite 1300
Houston, TX 77002

(713) 308-1300
www.hpdcareer.com
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