Becoming a Police Officer in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Winston-Salem Police Department’s 561 sworn officers are responsible for patrolling the city’s 133 square miles and protecting the more than 230,000 residents that call this city home. The Winston-Salem Police Department is made up of three Divisions:

  • The Office of the Chief of Police
  • The Field Services Bureau
  • The Investigative and Support Services Bureau

Individuals who want to learn how to become a cop by meeting police officer requirements in Winston-Salem should use this guide as an instructional manual for attaining Winston-Salem police jobs:

  1. Meet Minimum Qualifications for Employment
  2. Take a Reading Comprehension Test and Physical Abilities Test
  3. Apply for Employment
  4. Complete Oral Interview and Suitability Screener
  5. Undergo Background Investigation
  6. Receive a Conditional Offer of Employment and Complete Post-Conditional Offer of Employment Testing
  7. Receive Final Offer of Employment and Begin Academy Training


Step 1. Meet Minimum Qualifications for Employment

Individuals interested in becoming a police officer in Winston-Salem should first determine if they meet minimum qualifications for employment, which include:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must be at least 20 years old.
  • You must possess a high school diploma or GED.
  • You must have no DWI convictions in the last 5 years.
  • You must either possess, or be able to possess, a North Carolina driver’s license.
  • You must have no felony or serious misdemeanor convictions.

Step 2. Take a Reading Comprehension Test and Physical Abilities Test

You must take a reading comprehension test (All North Carolina police officers must be able to read at a 10th grade level.) and physical abilities test (modified Police Officer Physical Abilities Test) before you can receive an application for employment.

The Winston-Salem Police Department’s Recruiting Staff holds these pre-employment testes throughout the year at the Public Safety Training and Support Center. You can view available test dates and sign up online here.

You must bring a valid photo ID and a signed waiver/release form with you on the day of the test.

The modified physical abilities test is a baseline test that assesses your ability to perform your job. It is a pass/fail test. If you fail, you are permitted to retake the test on the next available testing date. If you fail the test twice, you must wait for a period of one year before retesting.

Step 3. Apply for Employment

Once you have passed the written test and the physical abilities test, you will receive a formal application package for employment, along with a submission date. You must return the completed application and all required documents to the Winston-Salem Department Recruiting Unit before this submission date to continue on with the employment process.

Step 4. Complete Oral Interview and Suitability Screener

The Recruiting Department will contact all eligible candidates upon review of the application packages to schedule an oral interview and a suitability screener (written exam). The oral interviews are conducted by a three-member panel of Department officers.

Step 5. Undergo Background Investigation

Only those candidates recommended by the Oral Interview Panel will continue with the employment process, which includes undergoing a background investigation.

Step 6. Receive a Conditional Offer of Employment and Complete Post-Conditional Offer of Employment Testing

Upon extending a conditional offer of employment, the Recruiting Department will schedule post-conditional offer of employment testing, which includes a drug screen; a medical exam; a polygraph examination; and a psychological interview.

Step 7. Receive Final Offer of Employment and Begin Academy Training

The Chief of Police, upon review of the candidates’ application packages and testing results, will extend a final offer of employment to a select few candidates, who will then attend the Recruit School. The Recruit School includes about 28 weeks of training.

Back to Top