Officers after graduation

There are seven steps for entry-level candidates applying to start their law enforcement career as a Seattle police officer, six steps for experienced officers applying as lateral candidates or exceptional-entry candidates.

Before applying, make sure you meet the qualifications for the position. All police officer candidates must be at least 20.5 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, be generally physically fit, hold a United States citizenship, OR have legal permanent residency in the U.S., OR be a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, and be able to get a Washington State Driver’s License. Click here for the full list of qualifications including requirements for lateral and exceptional-entry candidates.


  1. Application: All candidates must submit a job application to the City of Seattle, be sure to submit the correct application. Click here to apply for entry-level and lateral positions, note that exceptional-entry candidates should complete the entry-level application.

  2. Written Test: All candidates must complete a written exam administered virtually or in-person through the National Testing Network (NTN). The test includes the Frontline National Law Enforcement Exam and Public Safety Self-Assessment. Register here for the written test, be sure to sign up for the Seattle Police Department entry-level or lateral as appropriate. All Seattle Police Department testing fees will be covered by the Seattle Police Department. PHQ and NTN Application are NOT required.

    Candidates may also apply for preference points to be added to their final exam score for specific skills and experience.  More information about preference points is available on the job bulletin.

  3. Physical Test: Only entry-level candidates must complete the Washington Physical Agility Test (WAPAT). Experienced law enforcement officers applying as lateral or exceptional-entry candidates do not need to take the physical test. Entry-level candidates who live in Washington can schedule this test through NTN. Entry-level candidates who live outside Washington will take the physical agility test in Seattle after completing other pre-employment screening steps. 

  4. Background Investigation: Once candidates have successfully completed the testing process, SPD will send candidates a link to an online personal history information questionnaire. The Seattle Police Department background unit will then conduct a thorough background investigation. Note that this process can take some time while the assigned detective investigates.  
  5. Evaluation: All candidates must complete a medical evaluation, a psychological evaluation, and a polygraph exam. The medical evaluation can only be completed at in-person Seattle locations includes drug screening, medical history, vision & hearing test, and a stress EKG test. The psychological evaluation will be completed virtually. The polygraph exam can only be completed in person at Seattle Police Headquarters. 

  6. Employment Offer: The most competitive candidates may receive an offer of employment after completing and passing all the above steps, depending on the candidate’s scores, results, and application. 


Sue Rahr, Interim Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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The Seattle Police Department (SPD) prevents crime, enforces laws, and supports quality public safety by delivering respectful, professional, and dependable police services. SPD operates within a framework that divides the city into five geographical areas called "precincts".