How do I Become a State Trooper?

Ken Black

The process to become a state trooper may vary slightly depending on the state in which you want to work. There is always a minimal general educational component, which typically includes earning a high school, or equivalency, diploma. After that, you must also work to pass a law enforcement academy accredited or recognized by the state in which you wish to become a state trooper. Once that is completed, your last step is simply to seek employment as a law enforcement officer.

State troopers may investigate road accidents.
State troopers may investigate road accidents.

Though it is often not required, many states strongly prefer a college degree for a candidate wishing to become a state trooper as well. Even if it is not a requirement, it is typically a way to get recognized and perhaps stand out. The degree may be nothing more than a two-year associate's degree in criminal justice, but it lets the state know you are serious about a law enforcement career. You could also obtain a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, criminal science, or some related field.

Requirements for becoming a state trooper vary from state to state but most places prefer candidates with a college degree.
Requirements for becoming a state trooper vary from state to state but most places prefer candidates with a college degree.

No matter which state you choose to become a state trooper in, you will also need to attend a law enforcement academy. This academy teaches the basic skills law enforcement officers need such as criminal law, apprehension techniques, defensive techniques, and weapons handling. These skills typically take a two or three months to develop, and upon completion you will be certified to work as a law enforcement officer in the state.

Once you graduate from the police academy you may find you are able to go right into work with the state patrol. If not, finding a job as a county deputy sheriff or a city police officer should provide valuable experience. Then, when there is an opportunity to become a state trooper, you will be able to take advantage of that and cite the relevant experience you have acquired. If you do not have a college degree, some states may require you to have experience as a local law enforcement officer.

Though there are many different aspects and jobs a state trooper may have, the more technical knowledge you have, the better your chances will be. For example, many state troopers serve as lead investigators for automobile accidents. If you are certified or have training in technical accident investigation and reconstruction, that is a skill set that could help you land a job as a state trooper.

Police departments and sheriffs' offices often offer these classes to law enforcement officers for free as a way of adding value and expertise to their staffs. If you are already working with a local agency, you should take advantage of these if offered to you. That way, when you decide to move on to become a state trooper, you have even more experience and knowledge to take with you.

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Discussion Comments


I agree with you on that, Buster29. I once got pulled over on a state highway for speeding and the state trooper looked like he had just stepped out of a movie. He didn't waste time discussing the weather with me. He explained the violation, wrote the citation and left. Although the article didn't mention it, I think some military experience would also be a good idea if you want to impress the state troopers' office.


The way I've seen it work in my state, becoming a state trooper is like becoming a Marine in the military. Other law enforcement agencies are good, but the state troopers' office works at an entirely different level. Whenever a state trooper arrives on the scene, things can get very serious very quickly.

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