How to Become a Police Officer in San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas is the seventh most populous city in the United States, and with a population of 1.4 million, it was ranked in Forbes’ list of America’s 20 fastest growing cities in 2014.1,2 Perhaps partially because it is so populous and fast-growing, San Antonio has a need for more law enforcement to protect its citizens.
Not just anyone can be a police officer in San Antonio. The process for selecting cops in San Antonio is no less competitive than any other city. Detailed below is the process for becoming a San Antonio police officer.
San Antonio Police Officer Requirements
Candidates wishing to become a cop for the SAPD must be US Citizens and at least 20.5 years old at the time of their exam. They also must be less than 45 years old when they begin at the SAPD academy. Educational requirements for San Antonio cops include a high school degree or GED, with a “C” average or higher. GED candidates must have also completed a minimum of 12 college hours at an accredited college or university, maintaining an average of “C” or higher.
Candidates who have military service must have been discharged honorably. Traffic citations must be limited to fewer than two (with a plea of anything other than “not guilty) within the past 12 months.
Anyone who would like to work in law enforcement for the city of San Antonio must first submit an application online. Once the application process has been completed, and the candidate meets the minimum requirements, a testing date time will be determined for a written and physical test. The written test is entirely online, and consists of 250 multiple-choice questions, measuring candidates’ cognitive ability as well as behavioral-orientation. A study guide is available on the SAPD’s website. The physical test measures candidates’ ability to perform certain activities in and out of a law enforcement vehicle. According to their website, the physical portion of the exam proves to be the most difficult for most candidates for the SAPD. Practice and adequate preparation are recommended by the Department.
For more information about how to become a cop in a typical big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. If you are ready to apply now, you can find specific application information at the San Antonio Police Department’s Application Process page.
[education background of current chief if available] (this will be put in a separate yellow box).
The San Antonio Police Department’s Chief of Police is William McManus. Chief McManus was appointed to the position of Police Chief in 2006, with prior appointments in the same position in the cities of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Dayton, Ohio. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University and a master’s in Management from Johns Hopkins University. McManus is also a graduate of the FBI National Executive Institute and the Senior Management Institute and National Academy, as well as the Senior Management Institute for Police at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
San Antonio Police Department Information
The SAPD employs approximately 2,000 law enforcement officers and over 500 civilian personnel.1 San Antonio’s PD is organized into 19 squad districts.
San Antonio Police Training Academy
The San Antonio Police Training Academy lasts about 33 weeks, during which candidates are employed by the SAPD, receiving a salary and benefits. Candidates do not pay to attend the academy, nor is it residential, so prospective cops may live at home during this time. Participants may not attend college or work elsewhere during their time at the academy. After successful completion of the academy, cadets will become probationary police officers and begin 14 weeks of training with another officer.
San Antonio Police Salary and Jobs Outlook
The annual salary for a police officer in San Antonio varies according to a person’s experience and education. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, cops in San Antonio earned an average salary of $44,610 in May 2013.2 As a cadet, officers can expect to earn around $29,112, and after their first year as an officer, that salary may jump to $46,538.3 By three years, the average salary increases to $60,060 and after 30 years of service, the average law enforcement officer earns about $77,593.3 Cops in San Antonio also receive excellent benefits in addition to their salaries, including incentive pay, health, dental, paid time off, a clothing allowance, and more.
The job outlook for police officers in San Antonio is promising. People who wish to pursue a career in law enforcement in San Antonio can expect around a 17% growth in job opportunities, with approximately 2,760 police officer jobs to be available each year through 2022.4
For more information on current SAPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our job board page.
How to learn more about the department and crime in San Antonio
Citizens of San Antonio who would like to learn more about crime in the city are invited to participate in a Citizen Police Academy (CPA) program. Participants of the class will take 11 weeks of classes, which will educate them about the important work done by the SAPD. A ride-along is included in the CPA program. Interested citizens can find out more here.
San Antonio Police Department
315 S Santa Rosa Ave
San Antonio, TX 78207
- Texas Fraternal Order of Police: http://texasfop.org/
- Texas Fraternal Order of Police Foundation: http://texasfopfoundation.org/
1. The City of San Antonio: https://www.sanantonio.gov/
2. Forbes Magazine: https://www.forbes.com/sites/erincarlyle/2014/02/14/americas-20-fastest-growing-cities/
3. San Antonio Police Department Careers: http://www.sapdcareers.com/
4. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm