Frequently asked questions

Find answers to your questions about becoming a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police officer here. If you still have questions, contact our Recruitment and Hiring Division at officerrecruitment@dfw.wa.gov. 

Are you currently hiring?

No. We have several candidates in the hiring process at this time. We anticipate filling all vacancies with this pool of applicants. Check back periodically for updates to our hiring status.

Am I an entry-level or lateral applicant?

An entry-level applicant is someone who has not previously worked as a general authority police officer. 

A lateral applicant is a candidate who is currently a certified general authority peace officer in good standing, and has worked as a full-time law enforcement officer for at least three years (from date of commissioning). Work as a correctional officer, military police, or state park ranger does not qualify. 

If you are unsure whether you qualify as a lateral applicant, please contact our Recruitment and Hiring Division at officerrecruitment@dfw.wa.gov.

What are the minimum requirements to become a WDFW Police officer?

You can find the minimum eligibility requirements for both entry-level and lateral applicants at our minimum qualifications and disqualifiers page.

Please note: We do not offer waivers for educational requirements.

How do I know whether something I did in my past might disqualify me?

Certain past behaviors and circumstances may disqualify you from applying. For a full list of automatic and potential disqualifiers, our minimum qualifications and disqualifiers page.

If you have any automatic disqualifying factors, do not apply to become a Fish and Wildlife officer.

Potential disqualifiers are considered in the context of all other information learned during the hiring process. Although you're welcome to contact us to discuss potential disqualifiers, we cannot tell you with absolute certainty whether certain past behaviors may disqualify you until all relevant information is available to us.

Is there an age limit for candidates?

We have a minimum age requirement (21), but we do not have a maximum age limit.

How do I apply to become a WDFW Police officer?

Although all candidates must apply through Public Safety Testing, the hiring processes for entry-level and lateral applicants are slightly different.

I'm not a Washington resident. Can I still apply?

Yes! We hire many out-of-state officers. However, the majority of our testing takes place in Washington, so an out-of-state applicant must be able to travel here at least three to five times (depending on whether you are a lateral or entry level applicant) to complete the hiring process.

Can I apply if I have a tattoo(s)?

Yes, with some limitations. Candidates with any tattoos that are deemed offensive may be disqualified.

When should I apply?

You may apply at any time after you meet the minimum requirements for the position. You may not apply in anticipation of meeting the requirements sometime in the future.

However, there may be instances where an applicant is scheduled to receive their college diploma within a month or two of a scheduled oral panel. Please contact us at officerrecruitment@dfw.wa.gov with specific questions.

Applicants who are currently in the military and meet our minimum requirements should begin the application process at least six months before their separation date, depending on the applicant's availability to travel for scheduled interviews and exams.

How long does the hiring process take?

This depends on the timing of scheduled oral panels, the availability of the applicant and various contracted examiners, and the academy schedule. Generally, the hiring process takes three to five months to complete.

What happens if I fail a portion of the testing process?

If you fail the initial exams through Public Safety Testing, your name will not be forwarded to us for consideration. You will have to work directly with Public Safety Testing to determine when you'll be eligible to retest.

If you fail any other portion of the hiring process but are not disqualified, you may be eligible to participate in another oral panel after six months, depending if your Public Safety Testing score is still valid (scores expire after one year).

If you are permanently disqualified at any point during our hiring process, you may not reapply at any time.

I have a top secret clearance through the military. Do I still need a background investigation?

Yes. We are required by law (RCW 43.101.095) to complete a background investigation, polygraph, and psychological assessment on every candidate, regardless of prior clearance granted by another entity.

Do I get to pick my duty station?

No. Candidates must be willing to accept a position anywhere in the state. If you are not willing and able to move, you should not apply.

We do consider any special skills or experience that a recruit may possess (i.e., a recruit with a Master Vessel Operator certification may be assigned to a marine station) when assigning duty stations.

We do not provide a list of available duty stations to prospective candidates. The list of available duty stations changes frequently. The stations that are vacant today may not be vacant by the time an applicant completes the process.

When will I know where I'll be stationed?

An entry-level recruit will be assigned a duty station before he or she enters the Basic Law Enforcement Academy to allow ample time to establish residence (if a move is required) before initial training is complete.

A lateral recruit will be assigned a duty station at the completion of all phases of testing.

Will I have to go through a Basic Law Enforcement Academy?

It depends.

All entry-level WDFW Police officers are required to complete the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) at the Criminal Justice Training Center, along with all other law enforcement officers in the State of Washington.

Lateral WDFW Police officers who are certified peace officers in another state will have to complete the BLEA Equivalency Academy.

Lateral WDFW Police officers who are certified peace officers in the State of Washington will not have to complete BLEA or the BLEA Equivalency.

How long does the Basic Law Enforcement Academy take?

The Basic Law Enforcement Academy requires 720 hours (18 weeks) of training. We pay for lodging and meals throughout the course of the training.

What is the BLEA Equivalency Academy?

The BLEA Equivalency Academy requires 80 hours of training, including written exams, practical exercises, and orientation, over a two-week period at the Criminal Justice Training Center in Burien.

Will I be paid while attending the Basic Law Enforcement Academy or Equivalency Academy?

Yes. Recruits are hired prior to entering the Academy, and are therefore paid employees while completing initial training. We also pay for your lodging and meals while at the Academy.

Do you offer ridealongs with WDFW officers?

Ridealongs are offered to individuals over 18 who are interested in pursuing a career as a WDFW Police officer. Opportunities for ridealongs are limited. To request a ridealong, you'll need to contact the WDFW Police dispatch center at 360-902-2936 and choose option 2 or 3 to speak with a communications officer. All requestors will have to pass a simple background check before riding with one of our officers.

For candidates wanting to ridealong in preparation for an oral panel, request the ridealong as soon as you complete initial testing. Do not wait until the last minute.

Still have questions? Contact us at officerrecruitment@dfw.wa.gov.