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This is a guest blog post from the Massachusetts Human Resources Division.

The Human Resources Division (HRD) of the Executive Office of Administration and Finance (ANF) is currently accepting applications for the 2017 police officer civil service exam. If you want to become a municipal or MBTA Transit police officer or a Massachusetts State Trooper, now is your chance to apply.

Job Descriptions

Municipal and MBTA Transit Police Officers

Police officers in Massachusetts work to uphold the law and keep our communities safe by protecting life, property, and the civil rights of individuals. To accomplish this mission, municipal and MBTA Transit officers perform a range of tasks, including:

  • Interacting with citizens to provide service and assistance
  • Reporting to crime and emergency scenes in response to reported violations, accidents, domestic disputes, and abuses
  • Making arrests and performing searches and seizures
  • Conducting investigations
  • Preparing and completing records, reports, and other paperwork for use in prosecution

Massachusetts State Police Trooper

A State Trooper can expect to perform many essential tasks, including:

  • Preserving the public peace and providing protection and assistance to citizens by enforcing criminal and motor vehicle laws, rules, and regulations
  • Investigating suspected motor vehicle violations, public disturbances, and other misdemeanors and felonies by stopping motor vehicles or persons
  • Conducting aerial pursuits and searches for wanted or missing persons, and performing underwater search and rescue missions
  • Using canines to detect narcotics and or explosive devices

Eligibility Qualifications

Municipal and MBTA Transit Police Officers

To qualify for a civil service position, you have to meet the requirements defined in Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L.) Chapter 31, Section 58. You must have a high school degree or equivalent certificate and be at least 21 years old on or before the date of the civil service exam. Certain exceptions apply for current military personnel.

Massachusetts State Police

If you’re interested in taking the exam so you can become a State Trooper, you must meet the following minimum entrance requirements:

  • You must have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate.
  • You must be at least 21 years old and younger than 35 years old on March 1, 2017.
  • You can’t have been convicted of a felony or any offense punishable under G.L. Chapter 94C (drug violations) or of a misdemeanor and confined to any jail or correctional facility as punishment.

Additional qualifications also apply to State Troopers.

Civil Service Exam

This civil service exam, given every other year, determines the pool of applicants eligible for police officer jobs in police departments covered by civil service. The Massachusetts State Police department is participating for the 2017 exam.

The written civil service exam has 3 parts, each measuring qualities that are important to succeed as an entry-level police officer:

  • Written Ability Test (WAT) — Evaluates cognitive abilities essential to performing a police officer’s responsibilities, including verbal expression, verbal comprehension, problem sensitivity, deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, and information ordering
  • Work Styles Questionnaire (WSQ) — Assesses certain motivational, value-related, and attitudinal characteristics that can help police officers succeed
  • Life Experience Survey (LES) — Consists of a series of multiple-choice questions related to candidates’ past history and experience that are relevant to the duties of a civil servant

You can use the Police Officer Written Exam Orientation and Preparation Guide to find out more about the exam process, learn test-taking techniques, and practice with sample questions.

The civil service exam will be held on March 25, 2017, at various sites across Massachusetts. Candidates are encouraged to apply early. The fees for the exam are:

All applications received after Feb. 21, 2017 will be charged an additional $50 late fee. The final date to register is March 1, 2017. No applications received after that date will be accepted, so apply soon. Check the exam schedule for more details.

Information for Current Military Personnel

If you’re serving on active duty and have military orders that make you unavailable on the date of the test, you can take a makeup exam. You must file an application and processing fee and request a makeup exam in writing, with a copy of your military orders attached. Active duty service members who turn 21 years old between the date of the original exam and the makeup exam are also eligible to take the test.

Initial Hire Process after Passing the Civil Service Exam and Placement on the Eligible List

Based on their application and written exam results, accepted candidates will be placed on the eligible list for police officer jobs in Massachusetts. The list is used to place officers throughout the state as positions open. The certification order of lists explains how candidates are ranked for municipal and MBTA police officer positions. There is a separate ranking process for State Troopers.

If you receive a conditional offer of employment from a municipality or the MBTA, you must take and pass a medical exam and the Physical Abilities Test (PAT) prior to your appointment. You can use the PAT Training Guide to prepare for your test and improve your physical health.

You can learn more about the State Trooper hiring process and the State Police Academy at the Massachusetts State Police website.

Additional Information

For more information on how to become a police officer in Massachusetts and other civil service exams, read the civil service FAQs or contact the civil service unit at

Are you taking the 2017 civil service exam? What are you studying? Share your comments or tweet @MassGov or @MACivilService.

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