Qualifications for Cadets

The NMSP Recruit School is a rigorous and disciplined residential academy, located in Santa Fe. Not everyone who begins the Recruit School completes the 5-6 month academy, so it is important that each applicant is mentally and physically prepared for the challenge. The Recruit School graduates will become state certified NMSP officers, who uphold a proud tradition of law enforcement within the State of New Mexico.

Recruits will receive 1160 hours of instruction in more than 80 subjects, including law, interaction with the mentally ill, criminal investigations, accident investigations, firearms, defensive tactics, driving, and many more. Recruits are paid an hourly wage of $16.00 and on average, are required to work more than an eight hour day. Room and board is provided.

Selection Process
The selection process to become a New Mexico State Police Officer is extremely competitive, and we only hire a small fraction of those who begin the application process. We are looking for an elite group of mature, responsible, and professional individuals who choose to make a difference in our society by dedicating themselves to serving and protecting others.

For the 93rd Academy, Chief’s selection will occur in phases throughout the coming months. “Chief’s selection” means that an applicant is offered a recruit position at the next academy. Being selected for the NMSP recruit school is a competitive process, and we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. In order to qualify for the next Chief’s selection, which will occur in January 2018, applicants need to apply by December 3, 2017. The written tests and polygraph exam must then be completed by December 22, 2017.

Failing the physical fitness test in the initial stages of the application process will not prevent you from moving through all other stages, including Chief’s selection. If you are selected by the Chief and have not passed the physical fitness assessment yet, your selection will be conditional based on: 1) passing the physical fitness assessment before the academy begins; and 2) whether an open seat in the academy is available at the time you pass the physical fitness assessment.

There are a limited number of recruit positions available, and for this reason we encourage early participation in the entire application process. The NMSP is committed to helping you achieve your goal of joining our ranks, and we will provide you with a wide array of tools to help you prepare once you’ve been selected by the Chief. For the 93rd recruit school, we have only 64 recruit positions available.

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. This is a competitive application process, and being chosen during the first, second or third phase of Chief’s selection qualifies the applicant for the NMSP Academy Preparation Program. This program consists of exclusive access to NMSP personnel and materials that will more fully prepare the applicant for the recruit school.

Applicants are responsible for travel arrangements and expenses. Plan for up to 3 days per trip to Santa Fe, depending on the phase of the application process. Professional business attire is required for every phase of the process, other than the PT assessments or PT test.

Employment Qualifications

  • Must be 21 years of age at the time of graduation. There is no upper age limit.
  • Possess a High School Diploma or GED.
  • College Requirements:
    • Attend our Academy and receive up to 30 hours from an accredited college. Officers then have two years after the date of graduation to attend college part-time to meet the total requirement of 60 college hours required by law.
    • Or possess 60 college hours in any subject. (Must have an official sealed transcript.)
    • Or have at least two years of service in the United States Military with a valid DD-214 that is not dishonorable.
    • Or have at least 3 years of law enforcement experience as a certified law enforcement officer
  • Must be a United States citizen.
  • Must be in excellent physical health with no conditions which would restrict ability to effectively perform the duties of a State Police Officer.
  • 20/30 corrected vision or 20/100 uncorrected vision, normal depth perception, and satisfactory color vision.
  • Must have no felony convictions, history of criminal activity, improper conduct, or poor driving record which may affect suitability for law enforcement work.
  • Obtain a valid New Mexico driver’s license prior to being commissioned as a New Mexico State Police Officer.
  • Must be willing to accept assignment anywhere in the state of New Mexico.

The Application Process

Create An Account: To begin the process, create an account, the first step to the on-line application. A recruiter will contact you by either phone or email. Interested applicants may also call the NMSP Training & Recruiting Bureau at 505-827-9200. We will answer any questions you have about the Academy and provide information about the next Academy’s start date.

On-line Application: Click on the application tab and create an account to complete the application. Be detailed and honest; failure to disclose information is often a reason for disqualification. A recruiter will then contact you by phone or email to schedule the next phase of the application process when it is available.

Physical Fitness Assesments: The first assessment occurs prior to the written test. This assessment is not pass/fail; but it may be a factor that is weighed during Chief’s Selection. See below for the 4 components of the PT assessment.

Written Test: The written test covers reading comprehension, grammar, and mathematics. An optional POST study guide/practice test may be purchased on-line.

Polygraph Examination: Once you pass the written test, the recruiter will contact you to schedule the polygraph examination.

Background Investigation: The background investigation will be completed for those who successfully pass the polygraph examination.

PT Test: PT Test: Applicants must pass the physical fitness assessment before the academy begins. It is possible to be selected by the Chief before passing the assessment, but the appointment is conditional based on passing the assessment at a future date and the availability of a recruit position at the time the test is passed.


Aerobic Power 1.5 Mile Run Above 6000 ft–15:54 (minutes:seconds)

Below 6000 ft–15:14 (minutes:seconds)
Anaerobic Power 300 Meter Run 71 seconds
Muscular Endurance 1 minute maximum number of
27 repetitions
Upper Body Strength 1 minute maximum number of
15 repetitions
Aerobic Power 1.5 Mile Run 14:15 (minutes:seconds)
Anaerobic Power 300 Meter Run 64 seconds
Muscular Endurance 1 minute maximum number of
37 repetitions
Upper Body Strength 1 minute maximum number of
25 repetitions

Oral Panel: Applicant interview in front of a panel of NMSP Officers, who will ask questions about you, your background, and your reasons for wanting to join the NMSP.

Psychological Evaluation and Medical Screening: Upon successful completion of these last two phases, the applications are sent to Chief’s Selection.

Chief’s Selection: The NMSP chief evaluates all applicants who successfully pass the selection process, and selects the top candidates.