A state trooper is a police officer who works at the state level. State troopers enforce laws on state and federal highways and sometimes assist local police jurisdictions. Also known as highway patrol officers, these professionals must meet certain requirements before being hired.
Careers and Salary:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups state troopers under the broader job category of "Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers." More than 63,000 state-level officers were listed by the BLS as of 2011, earning an average salary of $60,650 per year. Employment for all police and sheriff's officer jobs is expected to grow 7 percent from 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS. That's about half the projected growth rate for all occupations. State jobs are more competitive than local law enforcement jobs because of the high pay and better chances for advancement.
Most state jurisdictions require that state troopers have a high school diploma or GED and be a resident of the state. Because these officers spend time driving law enforcement vehicles, a valid driver’s license is also required. Some state jurisdictions require college coursework in criminal justice or a related discipline. State trooper candidates go through rigorous physical and psychological testing to ensure they are mentally and physically fit for the job. After passing all of the requirements, new recruits must attend and successfully complete police academy training administered by the state law enforcement agency.
State troopers spend a large majority their time patrolling highways and interstates to ensure traffic safety. They seek out offenders, issue traffic tickets and respond to traffic accidents and driver emergencies. They often direct traffic at the scene of an accident or crime, apprehend offenders or assist those in a medical emergency on the highway. In smaller jurisdictions that state police agencies assist, they respond to a number of emergencies and complaints.
Along with patrolling assigned areas, state troopers prepare detailed documents about their arrests, issued citations and other daily activities. Their reports might be used in court to prosecute offenders, which sometimes requires state troopers to also testify in court. State troopers must document their day-to-day patrol duties in meticulous detail.