Municipal Police Officer Certification

Individuals and police departments can find guidance below about officer certification.

Criteria for seeking certification

New Cadet

Successfully complete a Pennsylvania basic police training course approved by the Commission. Individuals who have not previously satisfied the basic training requirements for certification will be required to attend an approved municipal police training course at a certified police academy. More information about the basic training program is available on the Basic Police Officer Training page.

Training Waiver

Individuals with prior federal, military, or out-of-state law enforcement training AND employment may be eligible for training waivers as authorized in 53 Pa.C.S. § 2164 (15). More information about eligibility criteria and the application process is available on the Federal Law Enforcement and Military Police Officers and the Waivers for Training pages.

Returning Police Officer

Individuals who were previously a Commission-certified police officer and left that position in good standing. Requires proof of previous municipal police certification. 


Individuals who have satisfied the minimum training standards may apply to take the state certification examination by completing an application in the Training and Certification System (TACS). Failure to supply required supporting documents will result in delay/denial of your application. Select from available test dates/locations and select "MPO Certification Exam" when creating the application in TACS. 

Study guide and additional resources

The Commission staff has produced a study guide for individuals planning to take the state certification exam. In addition, the study guides provided below are additional resources that applicants will find helpful when preparing.


Municipal Police Officers are certified by the MPOETC when they meet the criteria listed below.

  • Meet Basic Training Requirements
  • Successfully Complete Certification Exam
  • Meet Certification Qualifications (for employment)
  • Employed by a Police Department

Information for Police Departments

Individuals who have successfully completed the Certification Exam within the past 24 months are eligible to be certified when they are also employed by a municipal police department. The employing police department is responsible for all certification records in TACS.  

Police Departments submit either a Basic Training Application or a Waiver of Training Application in TACS for each non-certified individual they employ. As part of the employment process, the Department must verify the person meets the qualifications established in Title 37 § 203 Subchapter B. (Police Officer Certification Requirements) and submit the appropriate documents to MPOETC in TACS. Specific employment requirements include:

  • At least 18 years old
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • US Citizen
  • NO disqualifying criminal convictions (Misdemeanor 2 or higher)
  • Minimum 9th grade reading level
  • Physical examination
  • Drug test
  • Vision test
  • Hearing exam
  • Psychological examination (MMPI-2, MMPI-2RF, and MMPI-3 are all acceptable)
  • Physical Fitness Test

MPOETC reviews and approves all applications for training as well as applications for certification (Basic/Waiver). Once officers are certified, MPOETC monitors the qualification and training status of the officers and provides notices to departments wh​en an officer is going to expire on a particular training/qualification requirement. Police Departments are responsible for ensuring all officers are current and for keeping accurate records in TACS regarding employment, qualifications, and training.

Police Departments use TACS for all personnel certification actions including hiring certified officers, separating officers, and placing officers in temporary leave status. More information about these functions is available in TACS on the HELP page.