Live the Parks Life! Now recruiting for the 2020 State Park Peace Officer Cadet Academy

State Park Peace Officer Rangers and Lifeguards provide law enforcement for the largest state park system in the nation. Whether in an off-highway vehicle recreation area, forest, beach or historic landmark, a State Park Peace Officer has the duty to protect the public and natural resources––responsibilities that can take one on an adventure of a lifetime.

We invite you to “Live the Parks Life” by applying for the 2020 State Parks Peace Officer Cadet Academy. We are accepting applications until Monday, June 17, 2019.

The recruitment process takes approximately 15 to 18 months and includes a physical agility test, written exam, background review and medical and psychological assessments.


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090-P100590 Butte College BVST 41 ©2018, California State Parks. Photo by Brian Baer

Here is a timeline of the recruitment process:

Step 1: Submit Your Application, April–June 2019

Use the Applicant Checklist to ensure your application is complete. The checklist includes:

  • Steps for filling out your application.
  • List of documents to include.
  • Instructions on where to mail or deliver your application.

Submit your application by June 17, 2019. You will receive notifications regarding your eligibility status.


Step 2: Take the Physical Agility Test and Preliminary Paperwork Review, September 2019

You will receive notification in late August or early September to take your Physical Agility Test (PAT) and review your preliminary paperwork.

  • Physical Agility Test: All candidates must complete the six-part PAT. Those applying for lifeguard cadet must perform additional pre-tests. For more information about the tests, review the online Physical Agility Tests section.

Candidates who successfully pass the PAT will schedule their POST written exam, including date, time and location with Proctors.

  • Preliminary paperwork review: After successfully completing the PAT, candidates will meet with background investigators to review preliminary paperwork. This is also a great opportunity to share how you are uniquely qualified.

Step 3: Take a Written Exam (POST), October 2019

The department uses the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (PELLETB) as its written exam.


Step 4: Complete Background Investigation and Oral Interview, December 2019–March 2020

  • Background investigation: Once you pass the PAT and written exam you will receive notification regarding your background investigation. This comprehensive review requires information about your employment, legal, military, financial, educational, driving and criminal history, in addition to other important candidate information. Acquiring the documents needed to provide this background information may take time ––start collecting them as soon as possible.
  • See the online Personal History Statement to review a sample of necessary information.
  • Oral interview: As part of the background investigation, candidates will participate in an oral interview conducted by the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Division. You will be asked about your experience, interpersonal skills and community involvement, and situational questions.

Step 5: Receive Psychological and Medical Evaluation, May–August 2020

Conditional offers of employment are given to candidates who successfully pass the background investigation and oral interview.

  • Candidates will receive written notification for a psychological and medical assessment, as well as a drug-screening test.
  • The psychological assessment will be completed through a one-one-one interview with a state contracted psychologist and three written tests.
  • The medical assessment will require you to complete a medical history statement and review by a state doctor.


Step 6: Attend Cadet Academy, October–June 2020

Upon successful completion, you will receive an acceptance letter to attend the State Park Peace Officer Cadet Academy! You will receive specialized training as a state park peace officer ranger or lifeguard for 30–35 weeks.

As a cadet, you will receive a salary and benefits while gaining valuable knowledge of our California State Park System and law enforcement process. You will end training with your final ranking, which will factor into the selection process of your first work assignment.

Currently, most cadets attend training at Butte College Law Enforcement Academy. The Cadet Academy does not offer housing. We understand the cost to temporarily relocate during the Academy can be a hardship. To prepare for your temporary living arrangements, you may consider sharing housing costs with other cadets.


To learn more about how to start a career as a California State Park Peace Officer Ranger or Lifeguard and to “Live the Parks Life,” visit us online.

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