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How to Become a State Trooper: Career & Salary Information
Law enforcement is everywhere, and rightly so because you never know when you will need help, and the last thing anyone wants is not to have readily available support. Luckily, for that specific reason, law enforcement is available in particular areas or regions and on the road.
If you've been driving somewhere and you see an accident or are on a long road trip and an isolated and somewhat rural area, you may feel concerned about where the closest police station is. But do not fret because state troopers or highway patrol officers are there to maintain official law enforcement presence on roads and in rural areas.
To become a state trooper, you must fulfill minimum state requirements, obtain a qualification, pass the background checks, complete your academy training, and then apply for a role in your desired state.
If you have always felt drawn to the road, whether busy or less traveled, perhaps being a state trooper could be your career path. Let us take a deeper look at this career prospect.
What Is A State Trooper?
State troopers are law enforcement agents mainly focused on highway patrol and work as state police. Their role encompasses the duties of a typical police officer but has the added stress of working beside hectic highways and roadways.
They differ from other police officers in that their jurisdiction is that of roads as opposed to different areas or states.
While they have a few differences from other police officers in terms of jurisdictions, they can also apprehend and arrest criminals, issue fines for all traffic violations, and are legally allowed to carry firearms.
State troopers also respond to people who are breaking traffic laws, are first responders to car accidents, and investigate all road crimes or accidents.
What Does A State Trooper Do?
State troopers, much like other police officers, are meant to enforce the law at their most basic level. While carrying out duties as a law enforcement agent, the most noticeable difference between state troopers and police officers is that their focus is solely on roads.
While they make arrests and apprehend criminals, they are usually limited to those occurrences on and around roads. For example, if a high-speed chase occurs on a motorway, police officers will call in for reinforcements from state troopers.
State troopers will assist in chasing down and apprehending criminals. Still, it will be rarely found that police officers or investigators call in state troopers to help with a homicide or house robbery case and investigation.
By having multiple facets of law enforcement that simultaneously work together and apart, governing powers can ensure that all components of society are given the right amount of attention to prevent and fight crime.
Steps To Become A State Trooper
Step One: Get Qualified
To become a state trooper, the first step would be to obtain the correct qualifications. While it may be seen that many states don't require much more than a high school diploma or a GED, it is highly recommended that candidates hoping to pursue a role as a state trooper acquires an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
A degree may not be a requirement, but it is greatly recommended, along with selecting courses that will benefit your career path.
Step Two: Undergo Background Checks
You will be required to complete background checks and credit checks, undergo a polygraph test, and perform tests proving you meet the requirements to be a candidate as a state trooper.
You will also need to prove that you meet the physical and mental stamina and endurance required to fulfill a state trooper's sometimes taxing and tiring role.
At this point, you will also need to ensure that you meet the minimum state requirements to pursue a role as a state trooper. This would mean being at least 18 or 21 years of age, depending on the state, not having any prior offenses, and of course, having a driver's license.
Step Three: Complete Your Training
Just as police officers are required to attend a police training academy, to be a state trooper, you are also required to attend a training academy. With a unique combination of practical and theoretical programs, the training will equip each candidate with the skills they will need to be a success in a role of a state trooper.
During this training, you will become familiar with state and civil law, legal proceedings, requirements, and expectations when fulfilling your duties. You will also need to complete rigorous physical training.
Step Four: Apply For The Role
Once you have received the training and qualifications to pursue a role as a state trooper, you can then begin applying for a role as a state trooper. Suppose you hope to further your career and pursue higher roles within the field. In that case, you can further your training and education and work towards a higher degree such as an honors degree or master's degree in criminal justice.
What Degree Do You Need To Be A State Trooper?
Pursuing a degree and furthering one's academic career not only benefits the individual but also creates great benefits for the career path one chooses to follow and the institution in which the individual chooses to work.
Therefore, to benefit your career as a state trooper, acquiring an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in criminal justice will be extremely beneficial to your career. Growing within your career may also require academic growth, so pursuing an honor's and master's degree in criminal justice will be highly beneficial.
What Is The Average Salary For A State Trooper?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for police and sheriff's patrol officers was $70,750 in May 2019.
What Makes A Good State Trooper?
When you think of a police officer, you have a pretty clear image: someone who is physically fit, present and ready to assist, and brave and ready to disarm any threat that may present itself.
The reason we have this image in our minds and that reason is that for generations and generations, police officers have worked hard towards developing and maintaining certain skills and traits. These skills and traits have been developed to ensure that civil society feels safe and protected and that police officers can meet those expectations.
To be a state trooper, you are required to have problem-solving skills and mental and physical endurance. You need to work well as part of a team and communicate with several stakeholders.
You must also be level-headed, objective, and can respond to sometimes gruesome vehicle accidents or crime scenes.
This combination of innate and acquired skills will benefit your role as a state trooper.
What State Pays State Troopers The Most?
According to the BLS, California is the highest paying state in average annual wages.
How Much Does A Texas State Trooper Make A Year?
The BLS states that the annual mean wage for the state of Texas is between $64,380 and $78,360.
How Much Does A California State Trooper Make A Year?
The BLS provides insight stating that state troopers in California earn, on average, about $102,920 per year.
It is without a doubt that a state trooper will need to spend a lot of time on the road. From driving to patrol state routes to driving for emergencies, your office will be your vehicle. If you believe that you could hold the responsibility of a police officer and find yourself drawn to the driver's seat, without getting car sick, this role may be suitable for you.
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