State Peace Officer Job Opportunities


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Minimum Qualifications

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Peace Officer Candidate Selection Process


The selection process for the State of Iowa requires successfully completing all ten phases shown.  Failing any step will result in elimination from the process.  Applicants are encouraged to produce the best test scores during each of the test phases so it allows the greatest opportunity for a Conditional Offer and Final Offer of Employment.

1. Minimum Qualifications Screening: New Image

Applicants are required to determine from the list of minimum hiring qualifications whether or not they believe they are suitable for hire as a peace officer with the State of Iowa.  Computerized record files (driver license and criminal history) will be searched on each applicant before testing.  All applicants meeting the minimum qualifications initial screening will be invited to complete the physical fitness assessment.


2. Physical Fitness Assessment:

The physical fitness assessment consists of sit-ups, push-ups, stretch & reach (flexibility), and a 1.5 mile run.  Time and repetitions vary depending on the age and sex of the applicant.  Applicants must score a minimum of one (1) point in each of the four (4) exercises and a total of eight (8) points to pass.  The maximum number of points is sixteen (16).  Applicants passing the physical fitness assessment will advance to the written exam. 


3. Written Exam (POST):

Each applicant must pass the Police Officer Selection Test (P.O.S.T).  The P.O.S.T. is a timed aptitude test divided into four sections. The specific sections are: arithmetic, reading comprehension, grammar/spelling/punctuation, and incident report writing.  Applicants must score at least 70% on each of the four sections of the test, and the overall average must be at least 75%.  A P.O.S.T. study guide is available for review at all Iowa State Patrol offices. In addition, preparatory materials and sample exams are available online at multiple websites.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to study and take sample exams in preparation for the P.O.S.T. exam.

After successful completion of the physical fitness assessment and the written exam, applicants will receive a score to determine eligibility for advancement to the next test phase; the oral board interview.  The total score is based upon the physical fitness assessment total points, average score from the P.O.S.T. exam, and veteran’s points if applicable.  Applicants are required to have a minimum of 8 points on the physical fitness assessment and 75 points on the P.O.S.T. exam.  Applicants are required to have a minimum of 85 total points to advance to the oral board interview. There is no re-test option for the P.O.S.T. Exam.
Veteran’s points are awarded in accordance with Iowa law.  For additional information about veteran’s points, please view FAQ #12.

Example: Applicant J. Smith
Physical Fitness Assessment = 8 points
Written Exam Average 75% = 75 points
Veteran's Points = 5 points
Total Points = 88 points

Applicant Smith advances to Oral Board Interview.


Example: Applicant J. Doe
Physical Fitness Assessment = 8 points
Written Exam Average 75% =75 points
Veteran's Points = 0 points
Total Points = 83 points

Applicant Doe does not advance to Oral Board Interview.

The Department of Public Safety’s 20-week Basic Training Academy is approved by the state of Iowa for G.I. Bill benefits under the on-the-job-training program.  This benefit is extended to National Guard members and Reservists also.  For additional information, please contact the Veterans Affairs Office at one of the following phone numbers:  1-800-838-4692 or 515-242-5331.


4. Oral Board Interview:

Each applicant advancing to the oral board interview phase will be interviewed and evaluated by three employees within the Department.  The average of the combined scores becomes the applicant’s final oral board interview score. Business attire is encouraged (i.e. business suit and tie for males and pants suit for females).


Conditional Offer of Employment
After careful review and consideration of applicant materials, test scores, and oral board interviews, selected applicants are given a "Conditional Offer of Employment."  These applicants are invited to continue in the selection process and complete the remaining test phases.


5. Polygraph Evaluation:

During the polygraph evaluation information on all applicant materials and oral board responses will be verified.  Emphasis is place on illegal drug use/abuse, detected and undetected criminal conduct, and misrepresentation of information given during the previous test phases.


6. Psychological Evaluation:

Applicants are required to complete the MMPI (Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory).  The MMPI consists of 567 true/false questions.  Applicants are scheduled to be interviewed by the Department’s psychologist and their MMPI is scored and evaluated.  The psychologist will make a hiring recommendation based on the results of the MMPI and the interview.


7. Medical Examination:

A medical examination is scheduled to determine if the applicant is physically able to perform the duties of a law enforcement officer.  A drug screening is conducted during the medical examination phase.


8. Background Investigation:

In the last phase of the process, a careful review of the applicant’s materials, test results, oral board interview, polygraph evaluation, psychological evaluation, and medical examination is conducted by the Divisions.  The Divisions will select applicants to advance to the Background Investigation phase. The selected applicants must fill out an extensive background investigation packet.  During the Background Investigation, an applicant’s references, employers, schools, co-workers, and other sources are contacted and interviewed.  Information obtained in the Background Investigation may be compared with information provided by the applicant.  Any false or misleading information provided by the applicant may disqualify the applicant.

9. Final Offers:

At the conclusion of all phases of the selection process, final offers of employment may be extended to selected applicants.  The Division Directors’ final recommendations, based on the applicant’s qualifications and merit as well as the availability of positions, are made to the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety who then makes the final decision.  Any applicant not selected for hire is notified in writing at the conclusion of the selection process.  All unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to reapply as long as they meet the minimum qualification standards.


10. Basic Training Academy:

The Basic Training Academy is conducted at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa and runs Monday through Friday. Applicants are dismissed over the weekends.