How to Become a State Trooper

A state trooper is often referred to as the State Police or as a Highway Patrol Officer.

A State Trooper is typically responsible for enforcing traffic laws on state highways.

In addition, these officers often help law enforcement agencies that are located in more rural areas.

State Trooper Requirements

Each state has varying requirements for their state troopers however the majority of states require an aspiring State Trooper to attend and graduate from the state police academy.

For example, according to, New York State has a police academy where officers are properly trained prior to becoming active for duty.

There may also be written examinations and certain physical requirements that must be met in order to become a state police officer. state trooper careers

Most states will require that an individual have at least an associate’s degree before entering the police academy.

The degree does not necessarily have to be in a specific field, but some states prefer that their officers have a background in criminal justice.

There are some states that will substitute experience as a certified police officer or in the military for the education requirements.

All the aforementioned requirements can vary from state to state.

For example, according to (New Jersey State Police), a candidate must have:

(1) a bachelor’s degree; OR

(2) possess a minimum of 90 credits and will complete their degree by a specified date prior to the written examination OR

(3) must have an associate’s degree or 60 college credits, PLUS at least 24 months of satisfactory employment or military experience; OR

(4) 30 college credits, PLUS at least 24 months of active duty military service with an honorable discharge.

Steps to Become a State Trooper

The first thing a person considering a career in law enforcement and becoming a state trooper should do is earn a college degree.

There are some states that only require an individual to have a high school diploma or GED in order to become an officer (e.g. State of Maine –, but most states prefer that a person have some type of formal education beyond high school.

A degree in criminal justice or a related field, though not mandatory, may give you an advantage over other candidates.

In addition to general education courses, criminal justice students will also learn about the theories, principles, and techniques that are used by the police force through courses in policies and laws, criminal behavior, police supervision, criminal procedures, and criminal investigations.

If you are a veteran or have experience working as a certified police officer, there are certain states that allow this experience to substitute for the education requirements.

Military service may include serving in the armed forces or in the reserves or National Guard.

When choosing a college it is recommended to pursue a school that offers a concentration area such as forensics, security, corrections, or law enforcement.

Training Academy

state trooper jobsThe next step in becoming a state trooper is to complete the training academy.

A person will need to apply to become a state trooper and if accepted they will then attend the academy.

State trooper academies combine physical training with classroom work.

During the academy students will learn about state laws, civil rights, constitutional laws, self-defense, traffic control, emergency response, and firearms.

In addition, students will be required to pass physical fitness examinations that will involve push-ups, running, and sit-ups.

They will also have a general vision examination and overall health examination.

It is recommended that a person who is interested in becoming a state trooper start their physical training before attending the training academy.

Start a daily workout routine before you enter the training academy as this can make it easier to meet the physical fitness measurements that are required for working as a state trooper.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2013, the average salary for a State Trooper was $63,100 with 61,190 troopers located across the United States.

Project growth for this field is roughly 3% to 7% over the next 10 years (source: ONET Online).

Salary Information by State

State Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
District of Columbia5,280$81,160$39.02$102,500$62,440
New Hampshire2,900$62,480$30.04$80,120$47,480
New Jersey20,510$90,520$43.52$128,360$51,110
New Mexico4,610$56,690$27.26$71,910$40,550
New York50,600$81,750$39.30$127,020$49,210
North Carolina20,480$51,310$24.67$70,240$37,230
North Dakota1,710$65,730$31.60$79,960$48,550
Rhode Island1,760$68,290$32.83$83,200$49,080
South Carolina11,640$49,490$23.79$65,250$36,250
South Dakota1,830$54,130$26.02$76,390$39,270
West Virginia3,190$48,310$23.23$59,520$37,070
Puerto Rico12,930$40,230$19.34$49,570$23,430

Annual Average Salary: Top 10 States

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $104,010.

These are the top 10 earning states in the field:

  • California - $104,010
  • Washington - $92,250
  • New Jersey - $90,520
  • Hawaii - $89,640
  • Alaska - $85,710
  • Illinois - $82,470
  • New York - $81,750
  • District of Columbia - $81,160
  • Colorado - $80,990
  • Oregon - $78,150
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers, OCC Code 33-3051, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Michael Morales

About Michael Morales

Michael Morales is the Webmaster and Editor in Chief for With a strong background in Web Publishing and Internet Marketing, he currently works as an independent consultant. A former paramedic and ems educator, he enjoys punishing himself doing triathlons and endurance sports. Michael currently lives in sunny Northern California, home of the highest tax rates in the world.

3 Responses to How to Become a State Trooper

  1. Avatar
    Bernard Curtis #

    Becoming a state trooper is a noble and rewarding career path that involves protecting and serving your community and ensuring public safety.

  2. Avatar
    Danielle Wade #

    The training process for state troopers is comprehensive and intense, covering areas such as law enforcement techniques, emergency response, and community engagement, preparing them for the challenges of the job.

  3. Avatar
    Brandon Cosner #

    Physical fitness and a clean background are essential. Candidates must meet specific physical fitness standards and undergo thorough background checks to ensure they are fit for the role.

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