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Law Enforcement Officer Pre-Service Program

Typically, individuals must be hired by a Montana law enforcement agency before they attend the Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course. The Pre-Service Program allows individuals to apply directly to the Montana Law Enforcement Academy to attend this course. Under the Pre-Service Program, individuals who are accepted into the Basic Course:

  • have not yet been hired by a law enforcement agency
  • are not sworn law enforcement officers
  • pay for the course themselves

Placement Rate

Since the inception of the Pre-Service Program, the Montana Law Enforcement Academy had a 95 percent placement rate for Pre-Service Program graduates with law enforcement agencies across the state.


The total cost of the Pre-Service Program is

In-State Residents – $5,100

Out-of-State Residents- $7,100

This includes: tuition, meals, lodging, equipment, supplies and acceptance deposit.

Applicants are responsible for pursuing any alternative funding sources that may be available, such as grants, scholarships, veteran’s plans or job service programs. If other funding is used, applicants must notify the Academy’s Administration Office of the financial arrangement prior to registration. Applicants who fail to provide the required prior notice are expected to make full payment at registration.

How to Apply

Because a limited number of positions in each Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course class are available for pre-service applicants, acceptance into the course is competitive. Pre-service applicants must take a written and physical exam to determine their fitness for the law enforcement profession.

  1. Download, print and complete the pre-service application. Return the application to the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. Upon receipt of your application, you will receive a confirmation letter containing the dates and locations of the upcoming physical and written tests.
  2. Take the required tests:
    1. Written test – the three-part POST test that includes a peace officer selection test, a reading skills test and a writing skills test. Applicants must obtain a passing score on each phase of this examination.
    2. Physical fitness assessment – a hybrid physical ability/job sample physical abilities assessment process designed to evaluate Law Enforcement officer candidates on the essential physical capacities required to satisfactorily perform their job duties. Review the Montana Physical Abilities Test (MPAT) Summary (PDF) and the Montana Physical Abilities Test (MPAT) Preparation Guide (PDF) to familiarize yourself with the test before arriving at the testing location.
    3. Required tests are administered by the Montana Law Enforcement Testing Consortium (MLETC). Please go to their website ( to register.
  3. The Academy then schedules applicant interviews based on an initial ranking. After the interviews, the Academy assigns a final ranking to determine if and when an applicant may attend the Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course as a pre-service student.
  4. Applicants accepted into the course must then send the $300 non-refundable acceptance deposit to the Academy within ten (10) days of acceptance. Applicants who fail to submit this deposit will lose their position in the course.
  5. Applicants must pay the remaining $4,800 (in-state residents)/$6,800(out-of-state residents) during registration on the first day of the course (unless, prior to registration, they have notified the Academy’s Administration Office that they have arranged an alternative funding source, as explained under Cost).

For reservations and registration, contact:

Beth Strandberg, Operations Manager
Phone: (406) 444-9969