SACRAMENTO, Calif. May 23, 2019— California State Parks is extending its application deadline for the 2020 State Park Peace Officer (SPPO) Cadet Academy for two weeks to allow more candidates time to apply. All applicants must submit an application by Monday, June 17, 2019, to be considered for the Cadet Academy. Successful applicants will attend an approximately eight-month Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified law enforcement training academy. Career opportunities are available throughout the entire state.

Since the recruitment period opened on April 2, State Parks’ Workforce Planning and Recruitment Office has attended 30 recruitment events in 14 counties throughout the state, including law enforcement expos. These efforts have been supported across State Parks’ social media platforms.

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the SPPO Cadet Academy:

  1. What is the age minimum and age maximum to apply? Candidates must be at least 18 years of age to become a peace officer. State Park Peace Officer mandatory retirement age is 65 years, but there is no maximum application age.
  2. I have not completed two years of college yet. Can I still apply while I am still taking classes? Candidates may be enrolled in college at the time of application, but must have at least 21 units of general education credits satisfying general education curriculum standards with courses (which may include courses in natural science, social science, mathematics, language, and humanities). By the time of appointment, a candidate must have completed 60 semester units of study at a state-accredited college or university. A degree in park administration, natural sciences, social sciences, law enforcement or a related field is desirable.
  3. Where is the Cadet Academy located? Most cadets attend training at Butte College Law Enforcement Academy (Butte County). However, the department may utilize several academy sites, including Mott Training Center at Asilomar in Pacific Grove; South Bay Regional Public Safety Academy at Ford Ord in Monterey; and the Ben Clark Law Enforcement Training facility in Riverside. It is at the department’s discretion to determine an academy location for each class.
  4. Do I get paid while at the academy? Yes. Cadets earn a salary; at this time the salary range is $3,508 to $4,712. Most cadets start at the low end of the range unless they are a current state employee with a salary within the range.
  5. Can I request a ride-along? State Parks encourages potential candidates to participate in a ride-along with a ranger or lifeguard to learn how they “Live the Parks Life.” Those interested can send their requests and their contact information to the department at

For more than 150 years, rangers and lifeguards have worked closely with the state’s network of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to protect visitors to California’s parks. In addition to protecting our visitors, rangers and lifeguards also protect the natural, cultural and historic resources preserved for future generations. Whether patrolling in desert landscapes, lakes, among wildlife and wildflowers, museums or in historic landmarks, it is truly a unique experience to work for California State Parks.

Cadet training includes lessons on how to make physical arrests, conduct investigations, perform emergency medical aid and use defensive tactics and firearms. Cadets will also learn how to assist visitors, run public education and interpretive programs, and actively protect park resources. The academy instruction prepares the students mentally, morally, emotionally and physically to enter and successfully complete the Field Training Program, which is composed of 13 more weeks of on-the-job training.

The selection process for becoming a ranger or lifeguard takes approximately 15 to 18 months. The first step in the selection/examination process is submitting an application. The application is used to determine if the candidate meets the minimum qualifications for admission into the examination. It may subsequently be used to admit the candidate into the next phases of the selection process (background investigation, oral interview, medical and psychological evaluation).

California State Parks is excited for the opportunity to reach potential candidates who are reflective of California’s diverse population. For more information on the academy and minimum requirements, including frequently asked questions and a general timeline of the recruitment cycle, please visit and click on the “State Park Peace Officer Cadet Selection Process” link.

With more than 340 miles of coastline, 970 miles of lake and river frontage, 15,000 campsites and 4,500 miles of trails, State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Off-highway motor vehicle recreation, boating activities, horseback riding, on- and off-road cycling, hiking, camping and rock climbing are some of the recreational activities enjoyed in 280 state parks.