The following information will explain the Austin Police Department hiring process. There are several steps in the hiring process that an applicant must pass before receiving an offer for employment. Applicants who do not meet the minimum standards will be disqualified.
This process applies to both Regular and Modified Academy applicants.
Out of town applicants will be required to come to Austin on two (2) separate occasions. The first trip is for Phase I testing and the second trip is for Phase II testing. It is possible you will have to make a third trip to complete the Mandatory Orientation but that will depend on when you decide to move to Austin.
Step 1: Online Application
Once we receive your application it will be placed in a queue. All applications are reviewed in the order they are received. Applicants should review the Additional Information to Applicants document when applying.
Individuals who are interested in applying will need to complete an online application. You can access the link to our current posting by visiting our main APD Recruiting page. You will need to submit an Experian Credit report along with your initial application.
Applicants who pass the initial intake review will be contacted and scheduled for the initial two-day testing (Phase I Testing) in Austin, Texas.
Applicants who do not pass the initial intake review will be disqualified and contacted via mail with their disqualification time period. See our Common Disqualifiers page for a list of some of the reasons applicants are disqualified.
Step 2: Phase I Testing
Phase I Testing consists of two days of testing.
Day 1 consists of the physical test, Nelson-Denny and psychological exams.
Applicants are encouraged to bring their own drinks, lunch, and snacks on Day 1. While you will have several breaks throughout the day, you will not be allowed off-site for lunch.
Applicants may dress comfortably for Day 1 testing in order to pass the physical test. It is recommended you do not wear clothes that are too baggy or overly large as they can get caught in the rowing machine. You are welcome to bring a change of clothes to change into after the physical testing.
Applicants will be required to bring the following required documents with them to the first day of testing. Failure to do so will result in disqualification:
Original/Certified Birth Certificate
Naturalization Documents, if applicable
Social Security Card
Current Driver's License
High School Diploma, Official High School Transcripts, or GED
Day 2 will be a formal Oral Board interview for applicants that pass Day 1 tests.
Applicants are encouraged to wear appropriate formal interview attire.
Physical endurance is a key component to being a successful law enforcement officer. This rowing test is designed to evaluate your body's ability to utilize oxygen. A 2000 meter row is approximately 1.25 mile in distance and is a challenging test. If you have not practiced on a rowing machine recently I highly recommend that you do so as soon as possible. Do not underestimate this physical test. Reflect on how long it takes you to strenuously run a mile and triple that feeling. Rowing will measure your endurance using both the horizontal and vertical planes as you will be pulling with your arms and pushing with your legs so it takes more energy than just running.
To pass you must complete the test within the 60th percentile or above according to your age, gender and weight at the time of the test.
Once you start the exam you will not be able to stop rowing until you have completed the 2000 meters.
The damper setting must be set to 5 for this test, no higher or lower.
You must give 100% effort the entire time.
Stopping before the test is complete will result in disqualification from the hiring process.
Not meeting the minimum standard for your gender, age, and weight will result in disqualification from the hiring process.
Rowing technique is an essential part of completing the rowing test successfully. Please refer to Concept2’s website to learn how to row, use proper rowing technique, and common errors. http://www.concept2.com/indoor-rowers/training/technique-videos. You can also research TABATA rowing programs to prepare for this test. You will increase your chances of a passing score if you spend a fair amount of time preparing for the test. Consult your physician prior to starting any strenuous physical exercise program.
If you are hired, the minimum standard for graduating the academy is to pass at the 80th percentile or above for your age, gender, and weight at the time of the test. Keep in mind that physical workouts during the academy are cross-fit style workouts. The most common reason people drop out of the academy early on is because they underestimate the physical demands and are not physically ready. It is in your best interest to use the time it takes to get hired to be at your peak physical condition when starting the academy.
The Nelson Denny test consists of 80 vocabulary questions and 38 reading comprehension questions. Your scoring sheet will be processed and you must receive a passing grade in order to continue in the hiring process. The passing score is based on a first year in college reading comprehension level.
The first day of testing also involves completing the written psychological testing phase, which consists of two different tests. The first is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and the second the Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI). Applicants will spend 3 to 4 hours completing these tests. They are designed to measure a variety of personality and psychological factors related to police work. The results of these questionnaires will be reviewed and follow-up questions will be asked during the psychological interviews at a later date.
Oral Board Interview
All prospective candidates who have passed all Day 1 testing will be scheduled for an Oral Board interview. Clothing attire should be formal interview clothing.
The Oral Board will be in front of a panel of Austin Police officers ranging from the rank of officer to lieutenant. During the Oral Board, the applicant will be asked questions designed to demonstrate certain knowledge, skills and abilities considered basic for the effective performance as a police officer.
You will be told orally or in writing within 7 business days or earlier if you passed or failed Phase I Testing.
Step 3: Background Investigation Phase
All applicants that pass Phase I Testing will be required to submit an electronic Background History Statement within two (2) weeks of receiving notification of passing. In order to prepare for the amount of information required for the Background Investigation Phase, it is highly recommended that applicants compile the following information after completing the initial application:
Complete the past 10 years of chronological work history, including phone numbers and email addresses for a supervisor and coworker at each place of employment.
Complete the past 10 years of chronological residence history.
Complete the past 10 years of relationship history including contact phone numbers and email addresses of all current and past relationships.
Complete life history of vehicle crashes, citations, and warnings.
Complete contact information for all immediate family members including parents, step-parents, adoptive parents, inlaws, siblings, half-siblings, step-siblings, adoptive siblings and all children.
Complete contact information for five (5) personal references that the applicant has known for at least two (2) years. These references cannot be family members, current/prior relationship, or current/prior supervisors/coworkers that are already listed in your work history section.
Once the applicant has submitted all of the required information they will proceed to the Background Investigation Stage. Applicants who fail to respond with this required information within two (2) weeks will be disqualified. Should it become necessary, the applicant will be expected to assist in getting his/her references to contact the investigator in a timely manner or to provide any information deemed necessary by the investigator.
Step 4: Phase II Testing
Applicants that successfully pass the Background Investigation Phase will be required to come back to Austin for a second 2-day testing period known as Phase II testing. Scheduling for Phase II is coordinated by the Recruiting Unit with the applicant and all the respective doctors/proctors. Phase II testing consists of:
Medical / Physical Assessment
The candidate will receive instructions on how to prepare for the polygraph examination. A pre-polygraph questionnaire will be completed during initial testing. The polygraph examiner will develop your examination from the information you give on the pre-polygraph questionnaire and from the report of your background investigator. The polygraph examination will be done after completion of your background investigation.
The polygraph is approximately a 2 hour process. The polygraph and psychological interview usually occur on the same day.
The psychological interview is conducted by a Department psychologist and consists of a one-on-one interview with the applicant along with a review of the previously taken psychological exams (MMPI & IPI). The psychologist make the decision on whether or not the candidate meets the mental and emotional fitness to function successfully as a police cadet and upon graduation, as an Austin Police Officer.
Medical / Physical Assessment
Applicants who successfully complete all previous stages will be required to take a general fitness assessment and a medical examination conducted by Austin Police Wellness Staff. Wellness staff will assess each candidate’s physical and medical condition to ensure that he/she can function safely as a police cadet. If the applicant’s medical history or the physical findings by the department physician indicate the need for further clarification the applicant will be required to submit their medical records to the Austin Police Staff Physician.
At the completion of the physical assessment, the prospective candidate will be given directions to proceed directly to a medical facility to undergo a collection of bodily fluids and hair samples. The samples will be analyzed in an effort to detect the use of illegal drugs. Drug testing will be done at St. Davids Hospital in Austin.
Step 5: Conditional Offer for Employment & Eligibility List
Applicants who successfully complete the Phase I Testing, Background Investigation and Phase II Testing steps will be offered a conditional offer for employment. This offer is conditional upon successful completion of the remaining portions of the application process and upon funding authorization by the City of Austin.
For Modified Cadets who are not from Texas, the offer is also conditional on completing the TCOLE out of state process. See the Modified Academy requirements page for additional information.
Ranking on eligibility list will be from the date a completed application packet was turned into the Recruiting Unit. A completed application packet includes all required documents. This date will be used to determine your ranking on the eligibility list after you have passed all other steps in the hiring process.
Step 6: Mandatory Orientation
Approximately 3-5 weeks prior to the start of an Academy, all applicants must attend a mandatory orientation. You will meet Cadet Training staff at orientation and given your expectations for the first day of the Academy. Applicants who do not attend orientation may be disqualified.