Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I choose The Academy?
The Academy provides innovative and contemporary training to more than 25,000 students each year. They benefit from the latest training methods, state-of-the-art equipment and highly acclaimed curriculum and faculty. Each highly experienced instructor must meet rigorous training standards and be certified as an instructor by one of our affiliated community colleges. The Academy provides training to students seeking a career in public safety as well as newly employed agency personnel. In addition, a wide variety of in-service (continuous professional training), fire science courses, emergency dispatch courses, corrections courses, probation courses and community education courses are available for public safety employees and the community.
Why should I take courses at The Academy rather than a private school?
Unlike private schools, The Academy is publicly funded with your tax dollars. Because of our affiliation with our member community colleges, you pay only a minimal enrollment fee for your tuition, materials and supplies. Also, private schools do not provide state (POST) certified training to students who are not employed by a law enforcement agency. Note: Residents from states other than California will be required to pay out of state tuition fees.
What kind of programs does South Bay Offer?
The Academy offers a variety of courses in the major public safety disciplines of police, fire, dispatch, corrections, probation, juvenile officer and EMT. Courses included the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Regular Basic Course, the POST Basic Academy Modular Course, The POST Requalification Course, POST Dispatch Course, POST PC 832 Courses, The Standards and Training for Corrections (STC) Core Corrections Academy, STC Core Probation and Juvenile Officer Courses, and State Fire Training Basic Fire Academy. The Academy also offers educational services in the area of customized curriculum development and training delivery for public safety agencies and the private sector.
Can I earn a degree while attending courses?
Most courses are college transferable and degree applicable. For example, students attending our Basic Police Academy course currently earn 22 units through one of our affiliated community colleges. Students should consult with their transferring institution to determine if the course will provide them with the units needed for graduation.
What certification will I receive?
Eligible courses earn state certification through the Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training (POST), State Fire Training and Standards and Training for Corrections (STC). Most courses are also articulated with Consortium community colleges where lower division credit is earned.
How much does it cost to attend courses?
Through our affiliation with six community college districts, The Academy is able to provide effective, cost-efficient training. Course costs vary depending on length, equipment, instructional support required and other factors. Information regarding the cost of a specific course can be found under the Course Catalog.
Can anyone attend training at The Academy?
The Academy offers a wide variety of classes from the Basic Police Academy to in-service, probation, fire service, dispatch and corrections courses, and the requirements for entry to each may vary. Therefore, it is advisable to contact The Academy to inquire about prerequisites and class requirements. It is important to note that the State of California specifies that a police officer must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship, and be at least 18 years of age. Because local agency requirements may also differ from those of the State and one another, it is recommended that those seeking employment contact the agency of interest.
What are the prerequisites for attending the Basic Police Academy?
Most law enforcement agencies have a minimum age requirement, a prescreening process and prefer some college credits. We suggest that you contact your local agency about their individual hiring requirements. For those who are not employed by an agency and plan to attend the academy on their own, please contact The Academy for further information. The first step in enrolling in a Basic Police Academy course is to participate in the Entrance Assessment (EA) testing process, which consists of two parts:
- A written test or multiple choice English Comprehension-Vocabulary exam, and
- A physical agility test, also known as the WSTB test.
Students attending the Basic or Core Courses must have a valid driver's license and a copy of their DMV driving record. A letter of approval from the Department of Justice, and a completed medical examination form are also required. More information and forms can be obtained at the academy office.
Are there any physical fitness requirements?
Many course do have physical fitness requirements that vary based on the performance standards of each course. Basic Police Academy students will participate in physical fitness training sessions that involve running and calisthenics and are required to meet POST physical fitness testing standards. Students attending the Core Corrections Academy must meet physical fitness requirements required by STC. It is highly recommended that students involve themselves in regular physical fitness training prior to entering an academy or course that has a physical fitness requirement. Other academy activities, including defensive tactics training and scenario training, also require a requisite level of physical fitness.
Can I work while attending the Basic Police Academy?
While there are no rules prohibiting outside employment, attending the Basic Police Academy is a highly challenging, full-time commitment. In addition to attending a full day of classes, students must find time after hours to study for tests, complete regular homework assignments, and maintain their uniform and equipment. Some night sessions are also scheduled. Although students in the past have successfully completed the basic academy while employed, doing so is generally discouraged and diminishes the student's chances for success.
Where are The Academy courses held?
Basic Police Academy courses are held at the Coyote Valley Campus of Gavilan College, the College of San Mateo and Monterey Peninsula College Public Safety Training Center in Seaside. Other courses are held throughout the region from South San Francisco to Salinas. To see the location of a particular course, click on Courses.
Who are the instructors?
The Academy staff is comprised of current and retired public safety professionals who are dedicated to the training and success of each student. The Academy chooses only a select few to be part of the instructional staff and each member is an expert in the subject matter being presented. Instructors must successfully complete a rigorous application process, adhere to the high standards set forth by The Academy, and be approved by one of our affiliated colleges. In addition, instructors must be POST-certified to teach according to the standards set for under the POST Academy Instructor Certification Program.
How do I get my college transcripts?
Contact the Transcripting College that is listed on your certificate.
What equipment will I need?
You will receive a needs list upon making a reservation for an academy. Any course specific equipment will be posted on the course flyer.
What are the course requirements?
Varies per course. Please click on courses for specific requirements.
What is the time commitment of The Academy?
Depending on the academy, the commitment level will vary. We offer several different formats from an intensive 22 week academy to a modular format consisting of nights and weekends or just weekends. Please see the course flyer for the dates, times and locations.
What do POST, STC and the Office of the State Fire Marshal do?
The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) sets minimum selection and training standards for California law enforcement. The POST program is voluntary and incentive-based. Participating agencies agree to abide by the standards established by POST. The more than 600 agencies in the POST program are eligible to receive the Commission's services and benefits, such as job-related assessment tools, research into improved officer selection standards, management counseling services, the development of new training courses, reimbursement for training, and quality leadership training programs. POST also awards professional certificates to recognize peace officer achievement and proficiency.
Specific activities of The Standards and Training for Corrections Division (STC) of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation include:
- Developing and updating standards which lead to the selection of qualified people for employment and the maintenance of staff proficiency;
- Administering a seven-step selection criteria system that complies with federal and state guidelines;
- Administering a statewide training course certification process that includes a coordinated training delivery system;
- Monitoring participating departments for compliance with standards and assisting agencies in their efforts to remain in compliance; and
- Providing technical assistance and support to local corrections departments and training providers.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal (SFM) Supports the mission of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) by focusing on fire prevention. SFM provides support through a wide variety of fire safety responsibilities including:
- regulating buildings in which people live, congregate, or are confined;
- by controlling substances and products which may, in and of themselves, or by their misuse, cause injuries, death and destruction by fire;
- by providing statewide direction for fire prevention within wildland areas;
- by regulating hazardous liquid pipelines;
- by reviewing regulations and building standards; and
- by providing training and education in fire protection methods and responsibilities.
These achievements are accomplished through several major program elements including Engineering, Education and Enforcement.
If I attend courses, will I get a job?
While successful completion of training at The Academy does not guarantee future employment, it will likely lead to a very advantageous position when applying for a public safety position. Many local agencies that delayed hiring personnel over the past few years because of budget difficulties are now actively recruiting non-affiliated graduates of our public safety courses. Training Managers from agencies throughout the Bay Area routinely visit classes to make recruiting presentations, and many students who start the police academy as non-affiliates are hired mid-course.
Should I attend courses if I am not sure I want to work in public safety?
Attending a course at The Academy is an excellent way to help you determine if a public safety career is right for you. In addition to developing an understanding of what the job entails, it will provide you with an opportunity to talk with and gather insight from instructors and others who have years of experience on the job. The Academy offers shorter duration Basic Academy Modular (BAM) courses that meet three evenings and one weekend day per week.