NC Police Officer Requirements


If you are a cop in North Carolina, one of your main priorities would be trying to stop burglaries. While the state is actually somewhat average in other types of crimes, when it comes burglaries North Carolina has the second highest rate in the country with 1,108.5 burglaries per 100,000 people.

You can be a police officer by fulfilling the police academy requirements in North Carolina. Typically, this means that you have to be a US citizen, 21 years old, no felony on your record, and have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

The application process is also very similar throughout the state. You’ll need to submit all your documentation, take a written exam and an interview, have your background checked, undergo a polygraph test, pass a medical exam and psych evaluation, undergo drug screening, and pass a strenuous physical ability test. You’ll then enter a police academy, where you’ll receive at least the required 604 hours of training.

The order of these tests may differ depending on the police department you join. Some may have additional requirements, and they may have different physical fitness test standards as well. However, many police departments in the state follow the North Carolina Police Officer Physical Ability Test (POPAT), which involves running, climbing stairs, going through obstacle courses, sit-ups, pushups, and dragging a dummy.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

Every quarter, the CMPD posts job openings for police officers. In addition to the typical basic requirements, you also need a valid North Carolina driver’s license, reside in either North or South Carolina, and have no visible tattoos or brandings that you can’t cover up  with a long-sleeve uniform. You also need to be able to read on a 10th grade level, and if you were in the military you must have an honorable discharge.

You will also need to pass the dreaded Job Related Physical Ability Test (JRPAT). You’ll be told a street address at the beginning of the test, and then perform a series of exercises. These exercises include running back and forth 50 feet ten times for a total of 200 yards, and a number of step-ups, pushups, and sit-ups. You’ll then be asked to repeat he street address you were given, and if you cannot recall it you’ll have to repeat the 200-yard run. Your total time for the test must not go over 6 minutes and 18 seconds.

Once you complete and pass the selection process, you can enter the police academy, where you will spend 22 weeks trying to absorb more than 900 hours of training.

Raleigh Police Department

The main extra requirement of the Raleigh PD is that you can’t have any visible body art when you are wearing the department-issued uniform. To apply, you first need to check the upcoming Academy info regarding hiring dates.

The Physical Fitness Test is based on the Cooper’s Institute Guidelines. Once your height and weight have been measured you will then be tested on the following:

  • Bench press
  • Sit-ups (one-minute)
  • Push-ups (one-minute)
  • Vertical jump
  • 1.5-mile run
  • 300-meter run

There are standards for each exercise, depending on your age bracket and gender. You need to score a “fair” or above on the whole test, and if you fail in one part you can compensate by doing much better on another part.

Greensboro Police Department

The typical basic requirements are set forth, along with the condition that you can’t have any felony or serious misdemeanor on your record. You can download the application, but you will have to print and mail it to:

City of Greensboro

Human Resources Department

P.O. Box 3136

300 West Washington Street

Greensboro, NC  27402-3136

Perhaps the most difficult part of the application process is its version of the POPAT, in which you will have to drag a 150-pound dummy through most of the course. When you are able to fulfill all the requirements, you may then get the invitation to attend the Academy for the required 27 weeks, which will be followed by 14 extra weeks of field training.

Durham Police Department

You need to be 21 within 30 days of graduating from the police academy. Your vision and hearing should also be acceptable. You can’t have any felonies or domestic violence conviction, no DUI or serious misdemeanor in the last five years, and no driving suspension in the last 3 years.

Your physical fitness test will count the number of pushups per minute, sit-ups per minute, and the maximum weight you can bench press. You need to run 300 meters in one minute and 22.9 seconds, and run a mile and a half within 17 minutes.

Winston-Salem Police Department

You can be eligible at 20 years old, but no applicant can have a DUI in the last five years. You’ll have to take a written exam to demonstrate you can read at the 10th grade level. Then you have to pass the department’s version of the POPAT at the Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety Training and Support Center. You need to pass both these tests first before you can continue your application process. If you fail the POPAT, you can retake it at the next available date. Fail a second time, and you have to wait for a whole year to pass before you can try again.


Becoming a cop in North Carolina is a great way to serve the community, and competition for the available slots is fierce. You’ll need every advantage you can get, and your best advantage is if you study the Prepare for the Police Academy review manual before you even apply. The entire manual gives extremely helpful tips on how to properly do everything you need to do to become a cop in North Carolina. The author is himself a cop, and he has a psychology degree and certification as a personal trainer. This is the best way to learn how to prepare for the police academy.

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