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Police officer recruits – national

Combat crime with one of the most advanced police forces in the world

Join us as a national police officer

Our recruits learn to outsmart serious crime. They're trustworthy, respectful, accountable and fair. We're looking for people who:

  • want to make a difference
  • have high levels of personal integrity
  • want a challenging and highly rewarding career
  • are fit, healthy and resilient
  • are looking for a diverse, inclusive, supportive workplace.

As a police officer in national policing with the AFP, you can work in one of our 2 main national policing areas:

  • Investigative police officers investigate and prevent crimes against Australia. These crimes often extend across state, territory and national borders.
  • Airport police officers provide protective security at Australian airports. They also support a range of AFP operations.

National policing work is different to being an ACT Policing officer.

ACT Policing is the community policing arm of the AFP. Its officers respond to incidents in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) community and deal with crimes, including robbery, drug offences and homicide. Find out more about ACT Policing.

What you'll do

As a police officer in national policing, you'll investigate and prevent crime to keep Australia, and Australian interests overseas, safe.

Your day-to-day work will be challenging and rewarding, including:

  • working on complex investigations, often with international partners
  • using information and evidence to determine the appropriate law-enforcement response
  • interviewing witnesses and suspects
  • collecting, preparing and presenting evidence to the courts
  • working across teams, alongside people in the many different roles in the AFP
  • collaborating with other police forces, at home and abroad.

And you'll do it all within one of the most innovative police forces in the world. You'll be based in our Canberra headquarters or one of our offices around Australia. You may also have a chance to work in one of the 33 countries where we operate.

To learn more about life in the AFP, and get to know our people, read our people's stories.

Application process

You can join us either as a new recruit or as an officer with recent operational experience in another Australian police force.

State and territory police officers

 If you have recent operational policing experience in another Australian police force, you may be eligible to join us through our Lateral Program. The recruitment process is different to that for new recruits.

Check your eligibility and find out how to apply for our Lateral Program.

New recruits

Below outlines the 7 gateways you need to pass to become a police officer with us. Our recruitment team will help you navigate these gateways and ensure you know exactly what you need to do at each stage. Make sure you are eligible before you apply.

There may be costs associated with some of these gateways, for example, paying for travel or paying a fee to access your traffic history. You are responsible for these costs.

You must successfully pass each gateway to be placed in our talent pool. If successful, you'll complete the 24-week Federal Police Development Program at the AFP College.

Gateway 1 - Check your eligibility


To be eligible to become a police officer with us, you must:

  • be aged 18 years or over
  • be an Australian citizen
  • hold a valid full or provisional driver's licence (including automatic-only)
  • be able to obtain a Negative Vetting 1 Security Clearance
  • meet our character standards
  • hold at least one of the following qualifications:
    • Year 10 Certificate and 2 years of work experience
    • Year 10 Certificate and a nationally recognised vocational education qualification at Certificate III level or higher
    • Year 12 Certificate
    • vocational education (TAFE) qualification or university qualification at Diploma level or higher.

You must also provide evidence that you:

  • have had 2 primary doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine at the time of application (immunisation history statement or COVID-19 digital certificate is required)
  • hold current first aid and CPR certifications
  • can swim 100 m freestyle.

Your first step is to register your interest by applying through our Jobs portal.

If you pass this gateway, you'll receive an email invitation to take the entrance exam.

Gateway 2 - Entrance exam

Take the entrance exam

The entrance exam will test your cognitive ability and emotional intelligence.

We usually hold entrance exams 4 times a year, in a supervised environment, in different places around Australia. The available times and dates for your exam will be included with your invitation.

As part of the exam, you'll complete 5 tests. You must meet the minimum score in each test to pass this gateway.

  • The literacy skills test has 30 written and multiple-choice questions, and a 35-minute time limit.
  • The numeracy skills test has 30 written and multiple-choice questions, and a 35-minute time limit.
  • The abstract reasoning test has 30 multiple-choice questions, and a 30-minute time limit.
  • The writing ability test has one extended writing question, and a 35-minute time limit.
  • The emotional intelligence test has 141 multiple-choice questions, and is untimed.

If you don't pass a test (other than the emotional intelligence test) you'll be given one opportunity to take the test again. If you don't pass the emotional intelligence test, you'll have to wait 12 months before you can take it again.

The tests are administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). To help you prepare for your exam, ACER has prepared:

A range of information about the exam

Free and paid testing resources.

Gateway 3 - Fitness assessment

Complete your fitness assessment

If you pass your entrance exam, you'll be invited to complete the Entry Physical Competency Assessment (EPCA). The invitation will be sent to your email address.

Fitness testing is held around Australia at various times and places. The available dates, times and locations will be sent with your invitation.

If you pass all gateways, you'll also complete a Physical Competency Assessment (PCA) at the AFP College.

The PCA is different to the EPCA. If you pass the EPCA we suggest you start preparing for the PCA by following the AFP Pre-course Fitness Program.

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Preparing for the Entry Physical Competency Assessment

To pass the EPCA, you must complete 3 different exercises to a set standard.

Phased sit-ups

To complete this exercise successfully, you must perform one valid sit-up at 4 different stages, in order. At each stage the sit-up increases in difficulty. You can attempt each stage up to 2 times.

For sit-ups to be valid, you must:

  • start the sit-up with your back flat on the floor
  • keep your knees at a 90-degree angle throughout the movement
  • keep both feet in contact with the ground at all times
  • keep both of your arms in contact with your body at all times
  • maintain control, without using the momentum of your body.
Stage 1
  • Start with your arms outstretched, with your hands on your thighs.
  • Sit up to the point that your fingertips reach the top of your knees.
Stage 2
  • Start with your arms outstretched, with your hands on your thighs.
  • Sit up to the point that your elbows reach the top of your knees, with arms outstretched.
Stage 3
  • Start with your arms folded on your abdomen, with your hands gripping each opposite elbow.
  • Sit up to the point that your chest touches your thighs, and your arms pass over your knees.
Stage 4
  • Start with your arms crossed over your chest, with your hands resting on your shoulders.
  • Sit up to the point that your chest touches your thighs, and your arms pass over your knees.

Watch our video on sit-up standards.


Applicants who identify as:

  • male must perform 15 valid push-ups
  • female must perform 8 valid push-ups
  • gender X must perform a number of valid push-ups as determined on a case-by-case basis and following discussion with the applicant.

For push-ups to be valid, you must:

  • complete all required push-ups in 60 seconds
  • maintain correct form, and adjust your form if asked
  • limit rest (at the top of the push-up) to no more than 3 seconds
  • begin with your body raised in a plank position, with your hands in line with your shoulders, your arms straight, and your toes on the floor
  • lower your body to within 5 cm of the floor, with your arms at a 90-degree angle
  • maintain a straight line through your body (from shoulders to heels) throughout the push-up
  • return to the start position, with your elbows straight.

Watch our video on push-up standards.

Beep test

You must reach Level 6.5 on the beep test:

  • you'll get one attempt at the beep test
  • you can receive up to 2 warnings during the test
  • if you receive a third warning, your test will be over.

You'll receive a warning if you:

  • start running or cross the marker before the relevant 'beep'
  • don't reach the mark (with your leading foot) before or on the relevant 'beep'
  • run a loop at the end of the turn (instead of turning around directly)
  • step in front of another applicant.

Watch our video on beep test standards.

Gateway 4 - Detailed application

Submit your detailed application

To pass this gateway, you'll have to supply us with more detailed information about you, your character, and your background. You'll also need to provide evidence that you can swim 100 m freestyle non-stop and unaided.

You might also be asked to attend a video interview, to help us learn more about why you'd like to join us.

Employment Suitability Questionnaire and traffic history

The Employment Suitability Questionnaire helps us understand your character.

Along with your traffic history, we use it to assess whether you meet our character standards.

You'll be asked a series of questions, including whether you have:

  • any criminal history or prior convictions (at any age)
  • any associations with people or groups who are well-known to law enforcement
  • spent any significant periods of time overseas
  • travelled regularly to places of interest to the AFP.

You'll also have to provide us with a traffic history from any place you have held a valid driver's licence. This includes any licence you've held overseas. Your traffic history must cover your entire driving history. You must have obtained a copy of your traffic history no more than 3 months before the date you submit it to us.

If you don't pass this gateway you won't receive feedback. The decision is final, and there are no internal reviews.

If you do pass this gateway, you'll be invited to attend the Assessment Centre.

Gateway 5 - Assessment Centre

Attend the Assessment Centre

The Assessment Centre is an assessment environment that may be held in person, online or a mix of both. You'll be advised in advance which format yours will be.

You’ll take part in team-based activities, scenarios, and an interview. You’ll be assessed by AFP staff including police officers and protective service officers.

If you're attending the Assessment Centre online, you can join on your computer, or a computer you have access to, from a quiet and private location such as your home. The computer you use should be equipped with a video camera, microphone and internet connection.

A member of the recruitment team will contact you if you pass this gateway. It's the last major assessment before you're offered employment with us.

Gateway 6 - Security assessment

Undergo a security assessment

The AFP Personnel Security Vetting Team will look at your past, going back at least 10 years.

They'll review:

  • your employment, residential, financial and personal history
  • any history of disregarding the law
  • any significant periods you've spent living in foreign countries
  • regular travel abroad to regions of interest.

The team will also conduct a security assessment on your partner, if you have one.

As part of this process you will be asked to provide fingerprint and palm print biometric data. This will be compared to existing biometric records within the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System, which is managed by the Australian Crime and Intelligence Commission.

Gateway 7 - Health assessment

Undergo a health assessment

This gateway has 3 parts:

  1. Meeting physical standards
  2. Evaluating medical conditions
  3. Meeting psychological standards.

Meeting physical standards

You will have an appointment with our contracted health service providers. A medical professional will confirm that you meet these standards:

  • monocular visual acuity of 6/9 or better in each eye (glasses or contact lenses can be worn)
  • binocular visual acuity of 6/9 or better (glasses or contact lenses can be worn)
  • unaided (no glasses or contact lenses) binocular visual acuity of 6/36 or better
  • near vision N8, aided or unaided
  • hearing level averaging 25dB or less between 0.5kHz and 3kHz in both the left and right ear without a hearing aid
  • hearing level of 40dB or less at 4.0kHz in either ear without a hearing aid.

Evaluating medical conditions

Our contracted health service providers will assess any medical condition that you have. They will confirm whether you can complete the job safely and effectively. They may need you to provide reports from specialists, which you will need to supply at your own expense.

You are unlikely to meet the medical standards if you have:

  • an unreconstructed shoulder following dislocation (an MRI or MRA scan is likely to be required)
  • unreconstructed anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
  • epilepsy, unless you meet the requirements for an unrestricted commercial driver's licence
  • bleeding disorders, clotting disorders and/or current treatment with anticoagulants.

Conditions we evaluate

These are some of the medical conditions that we consider on a case-by-case basis. The final decision about any medical condition will be made by the AFP Chief Medical Officer.

  • Colour deficiency
  • History of retinal detachment, glaucoma, radical keratotomy, full thickness corneal transplant or acute keratotomy
Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Shoulder subluxation (an MRI may be required)
  • Clinically evident osteoarthritis of the knee (X-ray changes and effusion)
  • Shin splints or compartment syndrome
  • Clinical signs of a lumbar nerve root (straight leg raise limitation less than 40 degrees)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Chondromalacia, patella dislocation or tracking disorder, cruciate ligament repair or meniscectomy
  • Prior joint surgery or joint replacement surgery
  • Back pain and/or injury
  • Lumbar spine fusion
  • Poor muscular development, abnormal gait and limitation of movement of a joint
  • Asthma (supporting reports will be required)
  • Chronic obstructive airways disease, chronic bronchitis or bronchiectasis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Recurrent pneumothorax
  • Migraines and cluster headaches
  • Organic disease of the nervous system
  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Systolic blood pressure over 140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure over 90 mmHg
  • Organic disease of the heart or arteries
  • A history of deep vein thrombosis
  • Liver disease
  • Hernia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis

Meeting psychological standards

You will need to demonstrate your psychological and emotional resilience through psychological testing and a face-to-face interview with a registered psychologist. As long as your personal circumstances do not change, the results of this assessment are valid for 12 months.

You will be assessed on your strengths in these areas:

  • teamwork
  • emotional self-control
  • conflict resolution
  • decision-making under stress
  • ability to understand other people's behaviour.

You will also be asked about any current or past psychological or psychiatric conditions. The absence of current or past conditions does not guarantee that you will pass this gateway.

If you're neurodivergent or are a person with learning disability you may need to go through additional assessments.

Existing conditions

If you have a prior diagnosis or history of a psychological or psychiatric condition, you'll be asked to provide relevant information. This includes if you have been treated for these conditions with therapy or medication.

You will not pass this gateway if you:

  • have a condition such as bipolar disorder, major depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders or other diagnosis that has led to psychiatric hospitalisation or has required treatment
  • are currently taking any form of prescription psychotropic medication (prescription medication that can affect your mind, emotions or behaviour) such as sertraline (commonly sold as Zoloft), citalopram (Cipramian, Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), duloxetine (Cymbalta), mirtazapine, venlafaxine (Effexor), and diazepam (Valium).

If you decide to stop taking psychotropic medications, you must do this in consultation with a registered medical practitioner. The medical practitioner must also supervise your withdrawal. They will have to give us written evidence that you have successfully withdrawn from medication and have been symptom-free for at least 12 months.

Successful withdrawal from psychotropic medication doesn't guarantee that you will clear this gateway.

Federal Police Development Program (FPDP)

If you pass all the gateways to become a police officer, you'll go through the FPDP at the AFP College. The program lasts 24 weeks. There's a mix of theory and practical learning.

You'll be trained in a wide range of areas, including:

  • law
  • investigation techniques
  • police powers
  • the intelligence process
  • preparing briefs of evidence
  • interviewing and statement-taking techniques
  • operational safety, including firearms handling, driver training and defensive tactics.

We'll give you specialist policing knowledge and build your skills. You'll learn how to:

  • interpret legislation, identify offences, find evidence and conduct investigations
  • apply AFP policy and procedures in line with our values
  • respond to incidents and resolve situations
  • process offenders ethically and begin the judicial process
  • interpret criminal legislation, AFP governance and guidelines, and make sound judgements.

Life at the College

During initial training, you'll live on site at the AFP College in Canberra for 24 weeks. From Monday to Friday, you'll train in a squad with up to 30 recruits. You'll do physical training 3 times a week. You'll also complete some assignments out of hours.

When you check in on your first day, we'll give you your room key and security pass. You'll join other recruits and staff for lunch in the lounge. We'll tell you about the program and let you know our expectations. You'll have security briefings, learn about the College and have a chance to ask questions. On the first night, there's a barbecue so you can get to know everyone.

We'll brief you on our processes and procedures in the first week. You'll have your uniform fitting and get straight into team-building and overnight exercises.

After you finish your training, you'll be deployed to National Operations. You'll have to complete 6 months of probation and complete a workbook in your first year. When this is done, you'll receive a Diploma of Policing.


In the heart of Canberra, near Lake Burley Griffin and close to Kingston’s shopping and café precinct, the AFP College offers:

  • exercise classes and a fully equipped gym open 24/7
  • access to exercise physiologists, physiotherapists, welfare support and dietitians
  • free single-room accommodation with ensuite, bed and desk
  • free main meals
  • mobile phone and laptop computer
  • coffee shop, bar and dining hall
  • shared laundry
  • technology-enabled training rooms and a resources centre to help with study
  • common areas for socialising
  • free off-street parking
  • an ATM
  • access to exercise physiologists, physiotherapists, welfare support and dietitians.

Benefits and conditions

Officers are deployed across Australia and around the world. We have regional commands in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. There are also opportunities to work in overseas offices and as part of our global operations.

As you gain skills and experience, your career with the AFP will evolve. New recruits start at the rank of constable, and progress through ranks including sergeant and inspector. You'll also have the opportunity to pursue specialist interests, such as becoming a detective.

As a police officer, you'll have access to a wide range of benefits and conditions. These include:

  • clear salary progression under the AFP Enterprise Agreements
  • a 22% composite allowance on top of your salary (dependent on work area placement)
  • 6 weeks of paid annual leave per year (plus additional Christmas stand-down), with options to purchase more leave, take leave at half pay, or cash out leave
  • 4 mandatory rest days per year
  • 18 days of paid personal leave per year
  • 16 weeks of paid maternity leave after 12 months of service for each pregnancy, and an extra 36 weeks of maternity leave without pay
  • 15.4 per cent superannuation, including during all periods of maternity leave
  • 40-hour working week with the option of flexible working arrangements.

Other benefits include paid domestic and family violence leave, paid long-service leave, and provisions for adoption leave and compassionate leave.

Learn more about our benefits and conditions.

A line of police officers being greeted by a senior officer

We’re always looking for people who can keep the AFP a step ahead. With a variety of rewarding careers available, I encourage people from all backgrounds to apply. If you want to stop terrorists who seek to act out their twisted ideology, stop foreign interference or strip the invisibility cloak from the predators who hunt our children online, please heed the call to action.”

Reece P Kershaw APM
AFP Commissioner

Get in touch

AFP Recruitment

You can contact us by phone from Monday to Friday 8 am to 4 pm Canberra time.