Program Requirements

We cannot accept applicants who have been convicted of a felony, a misdemeanor involving perjury or false statement, domestic violence related offenses, or moral character violations as defined by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC). 

Under Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) rules and Florida Statutes, in order to qualify for certification as a law enforcement/corrections officer, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or a GED certificate
  • No convictions of any felony or a misdemeanor involving perjury or false statement
  • Never received a dishonorable discharge from any of the Armed Forces
  • Have good moral character
  • Complete an application to Northwest Florida State College
  • Pass Florida Basic Abilities Test (FBAT)
  • Must attend academy orientation
  • Pass the Medical Exam required to be accepted into Academy
  • Agree to be fingerprinted by the training center school
  • Successful completion of background investigation


These are the minimum qualifications set by the State of Florida for taking the State Certification Exam and receiving certification. A candidate who has a number of felony arrests without a conviction and/or an extensive record of traffic violations showing a disregard for the law, may be eligible to take the State Exam, but will have little or no chance of being employed by any law enforcement or corrections agency. In addition, Federal Law prohibits any individual who has been convicted of a domestic violence charge (felony or misdemeanor) from carrying a firearm. This law prohibits an individual with such a conviction from becoming a law enforcement/ corrections officer. Criminal Justice agencies in Florida are free to set their own additional requirements on candidates for employment such as physical requirements, drug use, and criminal history. Applicants must meet the standards of that particular agency they apply for. Passing the Basic Recruit Training Program does not guarantee employment with a Criminal Justice agency.

Under Florida Statutes Chapter 943, the certification process begins with a candidate successfully completing a Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC) Basic Recruit Training Program. The candidate receives a Certificate of Completion upon graduation and applies to sit for the State Officer Certification Exam (SOCE). Upon successful completion of the SOCE, the candidate must become employed with a law enforcement or corrections agency. The candidate can then apply to CJSTC for certification. The candidate has four years from the beginning of the Basic Recruit Training Program to fulfill these requirements and become certified.