Question 1: What is Exemption Of Training (EOT)?
Answer: Exemption Of Training is an accelerated path to certification as a Law Enforcement or Correctional Officer in Florida, based on training and employment experience from another state or the federal government. It allows qualified applicants to skip the full Basic Recruit Training (17 week police academy) in favor of an abbreviated two week training class. EOT applicants must also pass the State Officer Certification Examination (SOCE).
Question 2: What are the qualifications that I must meet?
Answer: You may be eligible for an exemption from the full basic training requirements if you were an officer in another state or with the federal government and meet the following requirements:
- You worked at least one year, full-time as a sworn officer in the discipline you are seeking exemption;
- You received training in that discipline which is comparable to Florida’s full basic recruit curriculum and/or;
- You were previously certified in Florida.
There can be no more than an 8 year break in employment as an officer. The break in employment is measured from the separation date of the most recent qualifying employment to the time a complete application requesting an exemption from training is submitted to a Criminal Justice Selection Center, such as the Police Applicant Screening Service (PASS), or criminal justice employing agency.
Once you are approved for an equivalency of training, you will need to demonstrate proficiency in the high liability areas and pass the state certification exam in the same discipline within 1 year of receipt of the approved Equivalency of Training CJSTC Form 76.
If you do not complete the training and pass the State Officer Certification Examination within the 1 year time limit, you may apply for another exemption from training, but you must be eligible pursuant to Chapter 943.131(2), F.S. at the time of application.
Question 3: Are the Law Enforcement and Correctional certifications interchangeable in Florida?
Answer: No, each is a separate discipline for the purposes of certification. If you are currently a law enforcement officer in another state or the federal system, you may be eligible to become a law enforcement officer in Florida through the EOT process. If you are a correctional officer, you may be eligible to become a correctional officer in Florida through the EOT process. The EOT process does not change your certification from one discipline to another. After you complete the EOT process and become certified in Florida as a law enforcement or correctional officer, you may then complete crossover-training to change from one discipline to another. For more information on the crossover training process, use the links on this site to contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) or a certified training center in Florida.
Question 4: I am dual certified in corrections and law enforcment in my home state. Can I do an EOT for both disciplines at the same time?
Answer: Yes, you will have to have two separate Equivalency of Training CJSTC Form 76s completed for you, one for each discipline. Your demonstration of proficiency for the law enforcement discipline can be counted for your corrections as the law enforcement covers everything required for the corrections with the addition of vehicle operations required for law enforcement. You will also have to take both the corrections and the law enforcement versions of the State Officer Certification Examination and they can not be taken at the same time.
Question 5: I am certified in corrections in my home state, but want to become certified in law enforcment in Florida. Will I have to complete the full basic recruit training for law enforcement?
Answer: You can apply for and complete the requirements for the EOT for corrections. Once you have passed the State Officer Certification Examination, you would be eligible to complete a cross-over basic recruit class to cross-over from corrections to law enforcement.
Question 6: How does the EOT process work?
Answer: The EOT process has three parts:
(1) EOT Evaluation (Required) – This part is done by a Criminal Justice Selection Center, such as the Police Applicant Screening Service (PASS), to establish your qualifications. This is the only step of the EOT process handled by our office.
(2) Proficiency Demonstration (Required) – This part is done as part of a training course (usually two weeks in length) conducted by a certified training center, such as the St. Petersburg College. During the training course you must demonstrate proficiency in certain physical skills such as defensive tactics and firearms. The training center will also provide you with study materials and help you prepare for the required written examination that is the final step of the EOT process. Our office does not conduct this training. You will need to contact a certified training center, using the information provided on the instructions which accompany the EOT Evaluation Application or the links on our web site.
(3) State Officer Certification Examination (SOCE) (Required) – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) requires this test which is administered at the St. Petersburg College or other certified testing facilities. Our office does not administer this examination. The certified training center you choose for Proficiency Demonstration will schedule and arrange the SOCE for you.
Question 7: How do I get started?
Answer: You must submit the following to PASS for review:
(1) A complete Exemption Of Training (EOT) Evaluation Application;
(2) A complete FDLE Form CJSTC 58 “Authority For Release Of Information” waiver allowing us access to your employment and training records;
(3) Supporting documents that help prove the training and employment qualifications upon which your equivalency claim is based and;
(4) A non-refundable $300 fee ($50.00 for inactive Florida Officers re-certification) by money order made payable to the Pinellas Police Standards Council. We will use the waiver to access the records needed to verify your qualifying employment and training. While PASS always try to work with applicants and give them an opportunity to correct any problems, PASS cannot work on your evaluation until your application is complete. If the evaluation establishes that you are qualified, PASS will issue the basic recruit-training exemption form (CJSTC-76) you need to continue in the process.
Question 8: What kind of supporting documents should I send with the EOT application form?
Answer: While PASS must still verify employment and training by contacting the institutions in question, you must also supply us with documentation that supports your claim of eligibility for the EOT exemption. Examples of helpful documents:
- An officer training profile maintained by an employer, a state certification authority such as POST or CJSTC, a military profile from VMET or AKO Account, or other officer training profiles maintained by an authorized government agency.
- Your basic/recruit academy diploma and the summary outline of its basic recruit training curriculum.
- A certificate or other credential issued to you by a state or federal certification authority that shows your compliance with law enforcement or correctional officer certification requirements in the state (or federal entity) upon which your EOT claim is based.
- Annual evaluations or reviews for the time you claim as qualifying employment on your EOT Application. These can help establish that your employment was as an officer with duties (such as bearing arms, making arrests, conducting investigations, enforcing traffic regulations, investigating traffic crashes, supervising inmates, etc.) that support your EOT claim. These can be particularly helpful in establishing whether or not a military police assignment included law enforcement duties.
- Training records related to the high liability training areas listed in the instructions that accompany the EOT Evaluation Application Form. These records may be certificates of attendance or excerpts from regular training records made by your employer or a training center.
- A letter from your commanding officer or agency chief which confirms the service as law enforcement or correctional officer as claimed on your EOT Application.
Examples of documents that are not usually helpful:
- College degrees or diplomas for education or training unrelated to basic recruit training.
- Certificates or diplomas for specialized courses such as K-9, SWAT, Fingerprint classification, or other areas unrelated to basic recruit training.
Question 9: How much time does the EOT qualification evaluation take?
Answer: You should allow eight weeks for this step of the process. Some evaluations take less time, but PASS cannot predict how quickly employers or training institutions will respond to our verification requests.
Question 10: I want to attend a particular EOT/Proficiency Demonstration class or take the state examination on a certain date. How can I help speed up the evaluation process?
Answer: Yes. Submit a complete(do not leave blank contact person, email, and fax numbers) application along with supporting documents, and respond in a timely manner to any request we make for additional information. You should also consider calling the employer(s) and/or training institution(s) used as the basis for your qualifications and ask them to reply quickly to our verification requests. This is much more helpful than calling us to ask why we have not yet received answers to our verification requests. Problem areas that often slow down an evaluation:
- An illegible, incomplete or ambiguous application form, missing contact information
- Incomplete or inaccurate addresses, emails, or fax numbers
- With large agencies or institutions, failure to provide the address of the specific office that handles verifications, causing inquiries to go astray in a large internal mail/phone system.
Question 11: How can I avoid being denied?
Answer: Research. Remember, if you don’t know or can’t find the correct dates, course titles, names and addresses to support your own claim it is doubtful that PASS will be able to complete your evaluation in a timely manner and make a convincing case that you are eligible for the program.
Question 12: I don’t want my employer to know that I am trying to get certified in Florida and may be leaving. Can you verify employment without contacting my employer?
Answer: No. The PASS staff understands that some employers may not react pleasantly in such situations, but PASS needs a reliable verification of your qualifications. This requires the verification to be both explicit and from a proper authority. Please give some consideration toward the benefit of having your employer learn of your plans directly from you rather than from our inquiry.
Question 13: Will my service as a reserve or part-time officer meet the employment qualification?
Answer: No. To qualify, employment must have been on a full-time, paid basis. For law enforcement officers it must also have been in a “sworn” position authorized to bear arms and make arrests. Reserve, part-time, auxiliary or seasonal employment does not qualify, even if you worked full-time hours.
Question 14: My law enforcement and/or corrections employment was in the military. Does this qualify?
Answer: Maybe. Your duty assignment during the qualifying period must have been devoted full time to the discipline (law enforcement or corrections) for which you are making an EOT application. For instance, if you are trying to qualify based on service as a military police officer, PASS must be able to verify that you were assigned full time to law enforcement duties (answering calls for service, conducting criminal investigations, making arrests, investigating accidents, conducting traffic enforcement, etc.). Duties related to security, or working in a vessel-boarding or inspection team will not establish EOT qualification.
Question 15: I accumulated a full year of full-time employment, but it was with two different employers. Does this meet the employment qualification?
Answer: Probably – so long as you (1) were classified as a full-time employee by each of those employers and; (2) you accumulated a full year of full-time employment within an eighteen-month period and; (3) no more than two employers can be used to satisfy this EOT requirement.
Also, to be considered full-time employment, the employment periods cannot overlap – in other words, you cannot use two employments to satisfy the EOT requirement if you were simultaneously working for two different employers. The most recent of the qualifying employment periods that you are adding together to satisfy the EOT requirement must not have ended more than 8-years prior to the submission of your complete EOT application.
Question 16: Does time spent in a police or corrections academy as a paid cadet or trainee count toward the EOT employment requirement?
Answer: No. Time spent in basic recruit training (usually called a police or corrections academy) does not count. The one-year employment requirement must be satisfied by service as an officer, not as a cadet.
Question 17: Once the evaluation has established my qualifications, what comes next?
Answer: PASS will issue you an exemption from Florida’s Basic Recruit Training (police or corrections academy). This exemption will be issued on a Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC) Form 76. You will need this form to continue in the process. You will be required to acknowledge receipt of the 76 Form in writing in order for it to become valid. You will have one year from that acknowledgment to complete a Proficiency Demonstration training course AND pass the State Officer Certification Examination (SOCE).
Question 18: What happens if I do not provide a written receipt for the 76 Form?
Answer: The exemption from the basic recruit training will not be validated and your application will expire.
Question 19: What happens if I do not complete the Proficiency Demonstration and pass the SOCE examination within one year after receiving the 76 Form?
Answer: If you do not complete the training and pass the State Officer Certification Examination within the 1-year time limit, you may apply for another exemption from training, but you must be eligible pursuant to Chapter 943.131(2), F.S. at the time of application.
Question 20: Once I complete the requirements of the EOT, how long do I have to get hired in a sworn position?
Answer: You have four years from the date that you started your training course for your EOT to become employed.
Question 21: What happens if I am not able to find a sworn position or decide to remain where I am after I complete the requirements of the EOT?
Answer: If you do not get employed in a sworn position within four years of the start date of the training course for the EOT, you can apply for another EOT provided you are still eligible (see the answer for Question 2) or you would have to complete a full basic recruit academy.
Question 22: How do I “demonstrate proficiency” in the high-liability subject areas?
Answer: A Florida state-certified instructor must observe you demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities required in the following subject areas:
For Law Enforcement Officers: Firearms Performance Evaluation, First Aid For Criminal Justice Officers, Defensive Tactics Performance Evaluation, and Vehicle Operations Performance Evaluation.
For Correctional Officers (and Probation Officers): Firearms Performance Evaluation, First Aid For Criminal Justice Officers, Defensive Tactics Performance Evaluation.
This is normally done at a certified training institution and will require you to attend a class that provides safe and trustworthy circumstances for the demonstration.
Such classes usually take one week for the Proficiency Demonstration and a second week for the SOCE review material. Tuition prices reflect the use of school-provided equipment such as firearms and vehicles, the use of firearms ranges and driving facilities, and substantial labor costs to ensure a safe ratio of specialized instructors to students.
Upon completion of the course, the institution will provide you with documentation that you have demonstrated the required proficiency on a CJSTC Form 76-A (Proficiency Demonstration). Remember, you must first have your CJSTC Form 76 (Exemption) in hand to enter and receive credit for the Proficiency Demonstration training course.
To learn more about the training course and proficiency demonstration, we recommend that you use the link on our web site to the following training center or contact them at:
St. Petersburg College
St. Petersburg College Allstate Center
3200-34th Street South
St. Petersburg FL 33711
Question 23: Why do you recommend applicants to study and review prior to taking the written certification examination (SOCE)?
Answer: While the review is optional, we believe most people will find it difficult to do well on the examination without having an opportunity to review the material. Remember, the examination is the same one given to cadets who have just graduated from a full Curriculum Maintenance System (CMS) police academy, using scenario-based training techniques over approximately seventeen weeks of full-time instruction. While your former training and experience will be helpful in most topics, some of the nomenclature and concepts may be presented in ways that are new to you. This can affect your performance on the written SOCE. Failure rates for the SOCE are quite high for those who fail to study the material. Failure rates for those who do study are quite low. Inanimate things like written exams are difficult to bluff, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The Southeastern Public Safety Institute (SEPSI) mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ offers the review course and can provide you with details or answer your questions concerning the training and examination.
Question 24: How do I arrange to take the State Officer Certification Examination (SOCE)?
Answer: The St Petersburg College administers the SOCE in this area. The training center you use for the Proficiency Demonstration will also help you schedule a SOCE. You can also check the FDLE web site, or contact the St Petersburg College mentioned above. Remember, you must first have your CJSTC Form 76 (Exemption) and CJSTC Form 76-A (Proficiency Demonstration) in hand to prove your eligibility to take the SOCE.
Question 25: I have other questions about this process. Where should I go for answers?
Answer: For questions on the:
EOT Evaluation of your qualifications, the best first step is to read the Exemption Of Training (EOT) Application and the instructions that accompany it. (You may download it from this site.) It contains much more information than it is practical to give orally, so please read it before you call us. If you have questions after you read it, call or visit us during normal business hours. We do have e-mail, but have found that it is usually an inefficient means of answering EOT questions. (We often need to ask you a few questions first, to make sure we know what information you are seeking, so we can avoid confusing you further.) In any case, we’ll be happy to help you. Answering your questions is actually a large part of what we do. All we ask is that you read the material first, so we can help you more efficiently.
Proficiency Demonstration and SOCE Examination Review. Contact the St. Petersburg College mentioned above. Our office is located in one of their campuses, but we are not part of the college and we do not conduct the training. You will get the best and most current information by asking them about their courses, schedules and fees, so please call them directly on such matters. Their web site also has other information you might find helpful. There is a link on our site that will take you to the SEPSI site. You may also direct your training questions to any other certified Florida training center. FDLE keeps a current list of training centers on their web site.
State Officer Certification Examination (SOCE): Contact the St. Petersburg College or visit the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) web site using the link on our site.
Question 26: What else do you think I need to know?
Answer: Remember that the EOT process only establishes your training and employment qualifications to be law enforcement or correctional officer in Florida. There are other requirements related to criminal history, the character of military discharge, moral character, etc. that must be established by a thorough background investigation before a person can be appointed as an officer. You may learn more about these standards by reading about the PASS Process elsewhere on this site. We hope that you will consider applying for the PASS process and seek employment with the agencies we serve in Pinellas County.