The selection process for the State of Iowa requires successfully completing ALL of the 10 phases shown below, including attending and graduating from the DPS Academy. 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.


Basic Academy Timeline


  • January 19th- March 3rd: Applications Accepted
  • March 21st, 22nd, 27th, 28th: Physical Fitness and POST Testing
  • April 3rd, 4th, 5th: Oral Board Interviews
  • April 8th- April 26th: Polygraph Evaluations
  • April 29th- May 15th: Psychological and Medical Evaluations
  • May 24th: Backgrounds Begin
  • July 29th: 51st DPS Academy Begins
  • December 20th: 51st DPS Academy Graduation

Step 1

Minimum Qualifications Screening

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.

Step 2

Physical Fitness Assessment

The physical fitness assessment consists of sit-ups, push-ups, 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 three (3) exercises and a total of six (6) points to pass.  The maximum number of points is twelve (12).  Applicants passing the physical fitness assessment will advance to the written exam. 

Applicants failing any portion of the physical fitness assessment will be allowed one (1) re-test to be conducted on a different day.  Applicants re-testing will be required to complete all portions of the physical fitness assessment.

Physical Fitness Plan


This is a measure of the muscular endurance of the abdominal muscles.  It is an important area of performing police tasks that may involve the use of force and is an important area for maintaining good posture and minimizing lower back problems.  The score is in number of bent leg sit ups performed in one (1) minute.  Hands must remain on or about the head.  While in the up position, elbows should touch the knees or upper portion of the thigh.  When in the down position, the back must come down so that shoulder blades touch the floor.  Legs may be held for assistance.




This test requires applicants to push their own weight off the floor.  This measures the amount of force the upper body can generate and is an important area of performing police tasks requiring upper body strength.  The score is calculated by the number of push-ups performed in one minute.  The chest must come down and touch a fist placed under the applicant’s chest, and then the arms must go to full extension to complete the push up.  Women will not be allowed to complete this test with their knees on the ground unless they are in excess of forty-nine (49) years of age.




This is a timed run to measure the heart and vascular system’s capability to transport oxygen.  It is an important area of performing police tasks involving stamina and endurance and to minimize the risk of cardiovascular problems.  The score is in minutes and seconds.

Step 3

Written Exam (POST)

Each applicant must pass the National Police Officer Selection Test (POST).  The POST 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 POST study guide is available for review at all Iowa State Patrol district 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 POST exam.

POST Study Guide Resources

Additional Information

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 POST exam, and veteran’s points if applicable.  Applicants are required to have a minimum of 6 points on the physical fitness assessment and 75 points on the POST exam. There is no re-test option for the POST Exam.

Veteran’s points are awarded in accordance with Iowa law. The Department of Public Safety’s 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:  800.838.4692 or 515.242.5331.

Step 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. Professional business attire is encouraged (i.e. business suit, tie and dress shoes).

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.

Step 5

Polygraph Evaluation

During the polygraph evaluation, information gathered from all applicant materials and oral board responses will be verified. Emphasis is placed on illegal drug use/abuse, detected and undetected criminal conduct, and misrepresentation of information given during the previous test phases. Applicants are not eliminated during the polygraph evaluations phased based upon any response or omissions unless the applicant willingly acknowledges a violation of the Department’s Minimum Qualifications.  All applicants meeting the minimum qualifications following the polygraph evaluation are scheduled for the next test phases.

Step 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/evaluation.

Step 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 as described in the peace officer job descriptions and minimum qualifications.  A drug screening is conducted during the medical examination phase. Medical conditions not specified will be evaluated by the Department’s physician whose decision will be final.

Additional details regarding the vision and hearing requirements for peace officer applicants.

Step 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. 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.

Step 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.

Step 10

Basic Training Academy

The Basic Training Academy is conducted at the Camp Dodge military facility located in Johnston, Iowa and runs Monday through Friday.

Subjects studied during the Academy include such topics as laws of arrest, search and seizure, defensive tactics, arrest techniques, precision driving, firearms, emergency management services, criminal law, physical fitness and motor vehicle law.

At the Academy, training materials, meals, and lodging are furnished at no cost to the recruits during the week. The Academy runs from 8:00 a.m. Monday morning until approximately 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon. Recruits are required to stay on complex Monday through Friday but may go home on the weekends.  Recruits receive a salary during Academy training.  

Sworn Officer Positions

Our next DPS Basic Academy (sworn officer) application process will open on January 19, 2024. Applications for the DPS academy process will be available at that time.

Applications are now closed.

To apply for a sworn officer position, please complete the link below.

Peace Officer Candidate (Non-Sworn)

If you are interested in working with Iowa DPS as a Peace Officer Candidate at Post 16, please visit the link below.

Civilian Positions

If you are interested in working with Iowa DPS in a civilian role, please visit the link below.