Washington | Requirements for Becoming a Washington Police Officer

To join the Washington police force, one must first confirm his or her eligibility by meeting the provisions outlined by the department they are applying with. These requirements can vary from city to city in Washington greatly. Check in with the office of the department you are hoping to apply to if you need a more detailed explanation.  Once you apply, you could be called upon to undergo testing, both written and physical. If the scores are acceptable, you may be called upon for an interview. If you impress the panel of interviewers and are moved along in the process, you will be subjected to an extensive background check and/or more tests. If all of this is passed and you are offered a position, you will go to a Washington police academy to be trained. Upon graduating, you will then need to complete field training prior to becoming a law officer.

Washington State Police Officer Requirements

The requirements in Washington differ greatly! All cities require applicants to have graduated high school, have a clean record, a driver’s license and be US citizens. After these requirements it depends heavily on the police department as to what else is needed. In Tacoma, for instance, these are the only requirements. In other cities a person needs to be 21. In Seattle a person needs to be 21 and have a college degree. Inquire with your preferred police department to find out their requirements.

Law Enforcement Salaries in Washington

The average salary of police officers in Washington state is around 67,000 a year. This is higher than many surrounding states, which is good news for those working in Washington; however, living in Washington also means an increased cost of living when compared to many other US sates. This is however, simply an average salary. This means that some officers in Washington make less and some make more. Often how much an officer makes depends greatly on experience as police officer. Education is also another factor, those with higher degree make more than those with simply a high school diploma. Officers who are employed in more populous cities usually make more money than those employed by rural departments. For officers who gain promotions in rank their pay can greatly increase. For example: state detectives and Washington criminal investigators make, on average, 86,000 per year.

Schools in Washington State with Law Enforcement Degrees

Seattle PD requires applicants to have a college degree. Other cities do not have this requirement. No matter where you are applying, it may be most advantageous to obtain a degree with a criminal justice major, or the like, prior to applying for a police officer job in Washington. The below Washington schools have law enforcement related programs.

  • Bellevue College

3000 Landerholm Cir SE, Bellevue, WA 98007


  • Central Washington University

400 East University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926


  • Centralia College

600 Centralia College Blvd., Centralia, WA 98531


  • DeVry University

3600 S 34th Way, Federal Way, WA 98001


  • Everett Community College

2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201


  • Gonzaga University

502 East Boone Avenue, Spokane, WA 99258


  • Grays Harbor College

1620 Edward P Smith Drive, Aberdeen, WA 98520


  • Green River Community College

12401 SE 320th Street, Auburn, WA 98092


  • Lower Columbia College

1600 Maple Street, Longview, WA 98632


  • Olympic College

1600 Chester Avenue, Bremerton, WA 98337


  • Saint Martin’s University

5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey, WA 98503


  • Seattle University

901 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122


  • Shoreline Community College

16101 Greenwood Ave N, Shoreline, WA 98133


  • Skagit Valley College

2405 E College Way, Mount Vernon, WA 98273


  • University of Washington

1410 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195


  • Walla Walla Community College

500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla, WA 99362


  • Washington State University

1125 NE Washington Street, Pullman, WA 99164


  • Wenatchee Valley College

1300 Fifth Street, Wenatchee, WA 98801


  • Yakima Valley Community College

South 16th Avenue & Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima, WA 98902