State Trooper Jobs – Highway Patrol Jobs & Careers

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 Salary 2017 – Highway Patrol Officer Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Troopers and Highway Patrol Officers earn an annual of $69,190 in State government 1.

Many state agencies offer State Trooper/Highway Patrol Officer salary, benefit, and hiring information right on their website.

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.

Career Opportunities

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.


Footnotes & Sources

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages – Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers


Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

20 comments… add one
  • Chris Kelly

    Hi, my names Chris im interested in becoming a state trooper i work at TDCJ and go to college i was wandering how to become a state trooper.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      To become a state trooper you should inquire with your state’s highway patrol / state police agency. You can do so by going to their website. Best way to find the agencies website is by “Googling” it “_____ State Police” or “_____ Highway Patrol” – sub the _____ with the state name.

      Once there you should be able to find everything you need to know:
      1. application and application requirements
      2. state trooper requirements
      3. salary and benefit info
      4. info on the training and academy
      and more…

      Good luck

  • Griselda Avilez

    so do u have to go to college in order to be a state trooper?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      That depends on which state you apply in. Some states may take high school grads, but will definitely require that you complete your education within a given time frame. Many states require a minimum of 60 college credit hours at application time.

      • Griselda Avilez

        Well i live in florida
        So like how do i start to be a state trooper?
        Do i have to attend a Police Academy?

        • Radek M. Gadek

          Yes, every state has an academy that recruits have to attend and successfully pass in order to become a state trooper.

  • Mitchell Dias

    Do all state trooper academy’s tell you that you have to stay on the grounds during training. Or do some allow you to go home after your day is done?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Some are different from others in regards to staying on the grounds. I think most require that the trooper trainee stay on the grounds, with the exception of weekends. To be sure, check with the state highway patrol agency in question by calling or going to their website. Don’t know what the website is? Just Google it. Good luck : )

  • daniel padilla

    my name is daniel i am very interested in this field. can i become a state trooper having a misdemeanor? and or if i have the opportunity to do something in this field what would it be?

  • Gi Gi

    To become a trooper in most states you must have 60 credit hours of college or have served in military. most states only accept a small number of applicants into each academy offered once a year. You must pass several written and oral test, psych eval, financial back ground check, and pass a polygraph test. In ky for instance you have 26 weeks of training, you stay on site monday thru friday. many say training for kentucky state trooper is worse than military boot camp. note… no visible tattoos in ky.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Thanks for the great input

  • Fredrick Bishop

    I’m getting ready to retire from the military, in about 2 plus years. I will be 40 yrs old at that time. Is there an age limit to become a trooper?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Military experience, especially military law enforcement experience, can serve as an age-requirement waiver. It’s agency dependent and I highly recommend you visit the website / contact directly the agencies you’re interested to work with. Good luck!

  • Stephen pereira

    Hi,
    I’m Stephen and I currently am in my junior year in highschool in Massachusetts. I would really like to be a state trooper but I don’t really want to do military time and I would like to know exactly what I should do in college and which colleges would be good for me. But I actually want to know what would I need to go through after highschool or college in order for me to have a good chance of becoming a trooper. Please help.

  • john schwartz

    I been in the marines for 5 years when I reach my 8 year mark I’m planing on being a Rhode island state trooper do I need college for this or is my military background good enough?

  • Elson Alves

    Hello, I’m interested in becoming a state trooper but I’m not sure where to start and which colleges in Massachusetts to go to? Any help?

  • Ryan Roberts

    With your experience, If individuals work 5 years or so in state law enforcement and make a move to a federal agency, how does this usually affect retirement benefits and pension? Is it like starting all over at the federal level?

  • Jasser Almaraz

    Hello I am 21 years old and i live in New Mexico and the only thing keeping me from becoming a state trooper is being a permanent resident. I am able to work in the US legally but i don’t have the money to become a US citizen. Is there a way to accept a resident and later becoming a US citizen? Thank you.

  • Stanley Jiminez

    The Delaware State police is currently accepting applications for the position of State Trooper for the September 2016 Class. Anyone interested, please go to our website http://www.becomeaTrooper.com and download the application. Please contact us it there are any questions. Recruiting Unit.

  • Alex

    Can I become a state trooper and still go to college. Like if I became a state trooper can I still go to college to get my bachelor degree

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