The Academy

Cadets at graduating class ceremony

Welcome to the Academy!

You have made the decision to join one of the largest and finest correctional agencies in the world.

The training academy instills pride, discipline, respect, and teamwork in our candidates. Throughout the thirteen-week academy, you will face mental, physical, and emotional challenges. This will prepare you to be successful in your career as an officer with CDCR.

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Your all-inclusive training includes:

  • Communication and de-escalation techniques
  • Physical Fitness
  • Arrest and control
  • How to write reports
  • Firearms/chemical agents
  • And more
Cadet exercising with medicine ball

You will also learn positive communication skills so you can communicate clearly and effectively in a correctional environment.

You will learn about current departmental policies and procedures. These skills are instrumental in preparing you for future opportunities with the CDCR.

Academy Quick Facts

  • The Basic Correctional Officer Academy (BCOA) is 13 weeks long and is located in Galt, CA.
  • To attend the academy, you must complete the selection process and accept an institution assignment.
  • After accepting an assignment, you will receive an email with the information needed before the start of the academy. You must submit the required peace officer selection forms and handouts as specified in the e-mail/letter. Institution assignments are based on department needs.
  • If you live more than 30 miles from the academy (one way), you have the option of living on-site at no cost or off-site at your own expense. You may leave the grounds from the end of the scheduled duty day on Friday until the start of the scheduled duty hours on Monday. All attending cadets will be provided meals during the academy.
  • Each cadet will need $1,300 to $1,500 to buy required uniforms, equipment/accessories, athletic gear, and school supplies. Once you graduate and report to your institution, you will be eligible to receive an annual uniform allowance of up to $1,000.

Cadets receive pay, housing, and meals during the academy.

Learn more about pay and benefits

cadets taking the written exam
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Get a head start on your academy training. 

Learn important acronyms in the Department Operations Manual.

Physical Fitness Test

All cadets are required to pass the Physical Fitness Test at the Academy in 5 minutes and 5 seconds.

Cadets who exercise two to three times per week and are in good physical condition generally do well on the PFT. 

If you do not work out regularly, you may need six to twelve weeks, or more, of regular cardio and weight training before taking the PFT. Consult a medical professional before beginning any exercise program.


For help preparing for the PFT, review the Cadet Preparation Guide.

Advice from cadets

The main thing I would tell any cadet coming in on day one is be prepared, and you’re stronger than you think you are. The Academy will test you and you will test yourself. “Is this for me?” I guarantee it is! Work hard and never give up. You will do things you never thought was possible.

P.S. Study the Cadet Handbook before reporting to the Academy. You will thank me later.

Cadets at graduation

“Be Loud and Clear when speaking. Make sure you have all your CDCR documents with you when you report.”

“The Academy is your safe space. Be okay with making a mistake. Own it, learn from it, and don’t make it again.”

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Apply to be a peace officer today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, cadets can receive college credit for the BCOA 13 week academy. Each college has the authority to decide IF they will grant credits, and how many credits they will give you.

If you have a disability or impairment and you need accommodations to perform the essential functions required of a correctional officer cadet, you need to notify OPOS in writing no later than four weeks prior to your scheduled academy start date. Your written request must state the type of accommodation you need, and it must include medical documentation from your physician. If you do not notify OPOS in writing, you could be dismissed from the Academy and your appointment could be terminated.

If you meet the medical guideline requirements but you need conditions of employment (i.e., corrective lenses, insulin, etc.), you must bring these items to the academy. Injectable medications and/or syringes must be declared to the Watch Sergeant so security precautions can be taken because there are incarcerated individuals on the grounds.