State Trooper: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a state trouper. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

State troopers are responsible for enforcing laws on local and state roads. In addition to monitoring roadways, state troopers help motorists involved in accidents or having car trouble. To become a state trooper, individuals must complete a police academy program, which involves physical and mental training over the course of 12-14 weeks.

Required Education Educational options for law enforcement vary, ranging from a high school diploma to a degree in law enforcement
Other Requirements Must pass a police academy
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 6% for police and sheriff's patrol officers
Median Salary (2013)* $56,130 for police and sheriff's patrol officers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

State Trooper Job Description

State troopers are law enforcement professionals who ensure that drivers are following state vehicular laws and regulations. These officers may direct traffic, issue citations, arrest criminals, assist injured motorists involved in accidents and help local law enforcement agencies. This job requires the professional to have a full understanding of constitutional and state law as it pertains to criminality.

State Trooper Job Duties

State trooper job duties include enforcing laws with the goal of promoting safety, responding to civil disorders, preventing disturbances and riots, relaying evidence to detectives and preparing testimony for court appearances. These law enforcement professionals may also document evidence, conduct interviews, and take appropriate photographs of crime scenes for ongoing criminal investigations. At the scene of accidents, state troopers may be required to administer first aid, call for emergency equipment and operate the equipment once it arrives.

State troopers must also issue traffic citations and tickets, and use their judgment when issuing an alcohol Breathalyzer test for potential drunk drivers. Because state troopers are often dealing with individuals who are traveling at high speeds, it's important for them to anticipate any type of situation. While state troopers may encounter a family speeding in a minivan, they could experience a far more dangerous situation.

Education and Training Requirements

Requirements for state troopers vary by state and may include a minimum age, specific training and physical capabilities. The police academy is a 12-14 week training program in which police recruits go through the physical and mental challenges that will prepare them for a career in law enforcement. Those enrolled in the academy are taught skills in civil rights, traffic control, first aid, self-defense and the use of firearms.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of police and sheriff's patrol officers, including state troopers, was predicted to increase 6% between 2012 and 2022. Furthermore, the BLS stated that competition for state and federal jobs may be stiffer than for jobs with local police departments. In May 2013, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for police and sheriff's patrol officers was $56,130.

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