State Trooper jobs and highway patrol jobs are in high demand and will continue to be in the future. It leaves one with a question: when do I start my career?
State Troopers, also known as Highway Patrol Officers, perform a variety of jobs on the State level. State troopers or highway patrol officers are often referred to as State police officers, who arrest criminals Statewide and patrol highways to enforce motor vehicle laws and regulations. State police officers regularly issue traffic citations to drivers. They may direct traffic, give first aid, and call for emergency equipment at the scene of accidents. State troopers also write reports used to establish the cause of the accident.
State law enforcement agencies operate in every State except Hawaii. Note that some states may not have a formal State Police department, but rather a State motor vehicle and traffic safety department, thus leaving the State policing matters to Statewide organizations like the the Department of Justice (ie. Wisconsin Department of Justice) – not to be confused with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on a Federal level.
State Trooper / Highway Patrol Officer Requirements
Most troopers or highway patrol officers must be U.S. citizens (born or naturalized). To start a State Police career, a person must pass a written test, a physical exam, and have at least a college degree – see Education and Training below for more info.
Education and Training
Most State law enforcement agencies will only accept police officer candidates that have a 4-year degree or a combination of significant job experience and education.
Trooper training is for the most part provided through state academies. Academy sessions usually last at least several months. Highway patrol and State trooper hopefuls that need to attend an academy may be required to stay on academy grounds at all times throughout training, with exception of weekends.
Training includes classroom instruction in constitutional law and civil rights, State laws and local ordinances, and accident investigation. Recruits also receive training and supervised experience in patrol, traffic control, the use of firearms, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response.
It is highly recommended that law enforcement officers continually upgrade their education. As time on the force goes by, opportunities for advancement are often granted to those that invested in their self-development through agency sponsored training, certificate programs, and completion of Bachelor level or even advanced degrees. Officer salaries are often gauged on the amount of training and formal education an individual possesses.
Take advantage of the fact that many agencies pay all or part of the tuition for officers to work toward degrees in criminal justice, police science, administration of justice, public administration, criminology, and others.
State Trooper Salary – Highway Patrol Officer Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual earnings were $52,540 in State government for the year 2006.
The salary information will be updated here with a new release of salary statistics by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so don’t worry about years of difference – it’s just a formality. Salaries for the current year are not that far off, but for the most accurate information call or visit the agency in question. Many police departments offer salary, benefit, and hiring info right on their website.
State troopers and highway patrol officers have many criminal justice career opportunities that can be obtained through tenure, training, and education. Some of the possible jobs include: Detective / Investigator, Inspector, Crime Scene Investigator, K9 Officer, and SWAT Officer. This is only available if the State trooper or Highway Patrol division are part of the State Police branch, which it is in most states. Otherwise, highway patrolmen and patrolwomen should look for advancement within the State investigative branch, or other local, county, State, and Federal agencies.
Take a look at other great Criminal Justice Careers.